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Police investigating fourth man in 20-year-old Leanne Holland murder case

POLICE carrying out a cold case investigation into the Leanne Holland homicide are believed to have identified at least one other potential suspect in the 20-year-old murder mystery.
Sources said the suspect was not one of three identified by private investigator Graeme Crowley and The Sunday Mail as having links to the murdered 12-year-old Goodna schoolgirl.
Detectives declined to elaborate last week other than to say "everybody is on the table . . . we are not focused on one person or one theory".
The file was reopened in May after the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of Graham Stafford, who served 15 years' jail for the murder of his then girlfriend's sister in 1991.
Mr Stafford repeatedly denied any connection to Leanne's death. She was brutally bashed and her tortured and partly-naked body dumped in bushland 10km from her home.
Mr Crowley and The Sunday Mail identified two individuals - both convicted of serious crimes against young girls - who were more likely suspects for Leanne's murder.
They lived in the Goodna area, about 20km from the Brisbane CBD, at the time of the shocking slaying and had known Leanne.
Investigations also found a third man, currently serving a life sentence for murder in Tasmania, with an alleged link to Leanne but the evidence against him was not as strong.
Sources said detectives working on the cold case investigation were following a new line of inquiry, which had surfaced from their review of the file or a tip-off to Crime Stoppers.
The fresh police probe, headed by NSW Detective Inspector Mark Newham, could be finished by March, although that depends on new leads.
"We are working very hard, we have achieved a lot," the lead investigator, Queensland Police Detective Sergeant Peter Roddick, said last week.
Mr Stafford, 47, of the Sunshine Coast, said he had been interviewed briefly.

The Sunday Mail (23-1-2011)
Darrell Giles

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Police re-examine murder of Leanne Holland

FORENSIC police were scouring for new clues at the house of Leanne Holland almost 20 years after her brutal murder.
Detectives and two forensic teams descended on the Goodna house on Tuesday night to kick-start an "expansive and comprehensive" review of the chilling 1991 sex slaying for which a man was wrongfully jailed for 15 years.
Graham Stafford, 46, walked free in December after judges quashed his conviction, which they said was based on flawed evidence.
The boyfriend of Holland's older sister, Stafford was jailed in 1991 and paroled in 2006 after serving 14 years and eight months of a life sentence. He had always professed his innocence.
Neighbours said officers began arriving around 10am. The Courier-Mail observed forensic teams in blue scrubs examining the kitchen while detectives walked around the living room and front deck. Other officers used tape to measure the outside of the house and driveway.
A QBuild staffer arrived in the afternoon and told reporters he was there to help dismantle part of the bathroom.
"A bunch of detectives arrived in the morning and looked to have a big meeting on the front lawn," said Michael Falvey, who manages the Falvey's Irish Heart pub across the road.
"Since then more and more people have been turning up, including the forensics guys who came a bit later."
Sources said the current renters of the house, the fourth separate tenants since the Hollands in the early 1990s, had been moved to a nearby motel for about three days.
Police in May announced they would reopen the Holland case and appointed an independent investigator Detective Inspector Mark Newham, from NSW Police to head the new probe.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said the new investigation would involve at least four senior police officers, none of whom were involved in the original case, who would follow new leads, reinterview witnesses and examine the original police handling of the case.
The new probe would also involve new forensic testing not available two decades ago.
Holland's chilling murder rocked Queensland in the early 1990s and is still one of the state's most infamous unsolved crimes.
The 12-year-old was abducted from her home, brutally bashed and her tortured and partly naked body was dumped in bushland about 10km from her home.
Private investigator Graeme Crowley, who was instrumental in the quashing of the conviction of Graham Stafford, last night said he was pleased police were taking the new investigation seriously.
"I'm looking forward to the police completing their investigations," he said.
Criminologist Paul Wilson, who co-authored a book with Mr Crowley about the Holland case, said police could be searching for more forensic samples to test with more modern equipment.
"But I really need to see the results of the investigation before I could comment further," he said.
Graham Stafford wouldn't comment last night but his mother Jean said the family was pleased the case was being reopened.
"We're happy they're investigating it and we hope it's a thorough investigation," Ms Stafford said.

The Courier-Mail (7-7-2010)
Alex Dickinson

Police review murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland after Graham Stafford's sentence quashed

QUEENSLAND Police have appointed an independent investigator a detective from interstate to head a new probe into the Leanne Holland murder mystery.
The announcement by Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson yesterday adds an other dramatic twist to the 20-year-old case.
The "expansive and comprehensive" review involving at least four senior police officers will include new forensic testing not available two decades ago, investigate new leads, re-interview witnesses and examine the original police handling of the controversial case.
"This review will include whether additional forensic testing that was not technically possible at the time of the murder can be conducted, and all other appropriate further inquiries,'' Mr Atkinson said. ''We won't hold back on anything and we will let the public know the outcome."
Leanne Holland, 12, of Goodna, west of Brisbane, was brutally bashed and her tortured and partly naked body was dumped in bushland about 10km from her home in 1991.
Graham Stafford the then boyfriend of Leanne's older sister was convicted and sentenced to life in jail for the sex slaying which shocked Queensland. He denied any connection to her death.
Mr Stafford, now 47, was freed on parole after serving 15 years behind bars when the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction in December, ordering a retrial. The Crown decided in March not to proceed with any charges.
Mr Stafford was expected to seek compensation of up to $2 million.
"I am very encouraged, it is a major step in the right direction," Mr Stafford said from his Sunshine Coast home yesterday. "A lot depends on the terms of reference: Are they re-investigating me or are they trying to find Leanne's killer? They have to start from scratch and examine all the new leads."
Parents Jean and Eric Stafford said they were "very surprised but highly delighted" by news of the inquiry.
New information gathered by The Sunday Mail and former policeman and private investigator Graeme Crowley over 16 years cast serious doubts on the conviction. It emerged that key circumstantial evidence relating to tyre tracks, blood, the alleged weapon and a maggot supposedly found by police in the boot of Mr Stafford's car was questionable.
Mr Crowley and The Sunday Mail also identified two individuals - both convicted of serious crimes against young girls - who were more likely suspects for Leanne's murder. They lived in the Goodna area at the time and knew Leanne.
But police refused to reopen the homicide file because they believed they had got the right man despite the new information and subsequent findings of the court.
Under enormous public pressure, Police Minister Neil Roberts recently asked the Police Commissioner to consider looking at the case again.
Mr Crowley urged a "cold case review" with a "fresh set of eyes" and said he was willing to provide all the vital clues he had gathered over nearly two decades of investigation.
Mr Atkinson said yesterday three senior Queensland detectives would conduct the inquiry. None was involved in the original investigation.
He said it would also involve a peer review by an experienced senior homicide officer from NSW Police, Detective Inspector Mark Newham.
Civil Liberties Council vice-president Terry O'Gorman yesterday criticised the make-up of the review body, saying it was "distorted and lacking in credibility" by including Queensland officers.

Courier Mail (8-5-2010)

New Twist In Leanne Holland Case

A VIOLENT sex offender, recently named as a suspect in the Leanne Holland murder case, mingled freely with police at the bushland spot where the schoolgirl's body was found.
In a startling new development to the long-running case, a source has come forward after seeing 1991 film of the crime scene replayed on Channel 7.
The source said the film showed the man talking to detectives behind crime scene tape at Redbank Plains soon after police had found the Ipswich schoolgirl's bashed and partially naked body.
Sources said the man a police informant was taken to the scene by detectives and also accompanied them to the Holland house in Goodna, where she was allegedly killed.
The informant, now 52, also claimed later to have worked "undercover" for police on the case and helped secure the conviction of Graham Stafford.
Stafford, 42, was paroled in May after serving four months short of 15 years in jail for the sex slaying of his then-fiancee's sister. He has always strenuously denied killing Leanne, 12.
His supporters, who are working on a legal petition to have Stafford pardoned, were shocked to discover the other man's involvement in the case.
The man was in the same jail as Stafford after being convicted of rape and incest in 1996 and serving a full seven-year sentence.
The Sunday Mail revealed in April that the man was repeatedly given weekend leave from prison and was often seen in the company of plainclothes police.
He was the same man named by two sisters last year as being linked to the Holland murder. They said their claims were never investigated by police.
In the 2005 book Who Killed Leanne? by Graeme Crowley and Paul Wilson, the sisters revealed:
* Their father knew Leanne and had raped the sisters at the same bushland.
* He had tortured them, leaving similar cigarette lighter burns as found on Leanne.
* He had photos of her corpse which he had either taken himself or had come from the official police file, and threatened the sisters that they would end up like Leanne if they talked.

The Sunday Mail (Qld) (2-7-2006)
Darrell Giles

Who Killed Leanne? (Book)
Written by Graeme Crowley/ Paul Wilson

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