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Murder Gets New Profile

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Another show death almost 25 years to the day

Stacey Lee Kirk was only 16 when she was last seen at the Maitland Show on February 16, 1984.
A few days later, her body was found dumped under a tarpaulin behind a toilet block at the showground.
Her jeans were down around her knees, her top pulled up and a pair of men’s underpants were around her neck.
Her own underwear had been stuffed down her throat.
But it took almost 20 years before her killer was found - a man who himself had died in a road accident since Stacey’s murder.
A coronial inquest found she had been suffocated and strangled by Ian Raymond Sargent, on February 16, 1984.
Sargent’s death had given police an opportunity to obtain vital DNA evidence that matched him to Stacey’s rape and murder, the inquest heard six years ago.
Coroner John Abernethy said DNA obtained from blood taken from Sargent’s body after his death was linked to seminal fluid found in Stacey’s body.
“Sargent is dead and it is not my function to try him in absentia,” Mr Abernethy said at the inquest.

AAP (23-2-2009)

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Dead man link to girl's murder

DNA samples have linked a dead man to the murder of a teenage girl, whose body was found behind a toilet block at a Hunter Valley showground almost 20 years ago.
Stacey Lee Kirk, 16, disappeared from Sideshow Alley at the Maitland Show in 1984.
Her body was found under a tarpaulin, her jeans around her knees and her black top pushed up, exposing her bra.
An autopsy showed she had been sexually assaulted before being strangled. An inquest in 1988 returned an open finding. Yesterday, a second inquest heard evidence from Detective Senior Sergeant Alex Pollock, in charge of reinvestigating the killing.
He told the inquest that DNA samples taken from the body of Ian Raymond Sargent, killed in a car crash last year, provided investigators with evidence linking him to the murder.
Sergeant Pollock said samples taken from Mr Sargent, a side-show operator, matched semen found in Stacey's body. Traces of Mr Sargent's DNA were also found on the floral underpants around her neck.
Sergeant Pollock said several witnesses had told police Mr Sargent had been trying "to get on to" Stacey and the pair were also seen walking away together.
Mr Sargent was believed to be the last person to see Stacey alive and could have killed her while absent from his stall - a period of up to half an hour.
The hearing continues.

Sydney Morning Herald (6-8-2003)

Coroner to deliver Kirk murder findings

The head of a police strike force says he hopes DNA evidence linking a sideshow operator with the murder of Maitland teenager Stacy Lee Kirk 19 years ago will bring some closure for her family.
State coroner John Abernethy is today expected to hand down his findings after a second inquest into the murder at the Maitland show in February 1984.
Sideshow operator Ian Raymond Sargent, who was 19 when Stacy was murdered, was killed in a car accident at south Grafton in February last year.
The inquest has been told DNA from blood samples taken from his body matched seminal fluid DNA recovered from Stacy's body.
A weaker DNA sample found on male underpants used to strangle the teenager, while not conclusive, also pointed to Ian Sargent.
Detective Alex Pollack says he is satisfied Mr Sargent acted alone in the murder and is hopeful it will bring some conclusion for Stacy's parents, who have endured 19 years of anguish.
"I think that's the way they've got to look at it, at least we have identified a person who was with her that night and it is my belief that he took part in the murder," he said.

ABC News (6-8-2003)

Unsolved

IT'S a murder that has gone unsolved for almost two decades.
No one has ever been found guilty of the sexual assault and strangulation of young schoolgirl Stacey Lee Kirk at the Maitland Show in February 1984.
Her family has endured several police investigations, an inquest and eventually the case against a showman charged with Stacey's murder was dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

But recent improvements in DNA profiling have given detectives vital new information in the hunt for the killer of the 16-year-old.
Yesterday strike force Shyok detectives renewed appeals for people with information to come forward.
Detective senior sergeant Alex Pollock said police had received fresh information from the public regarding the murder.
Sgt Pollock said he hoped a new $100,000 reward the NSW Government posted would encourage other people to come forward.
Stacey Lee's body was found under a tarpaulin at Maitland Showground on February 19, 1984. The Tenambit schoolgirl had been sexually assaulted, her underpants had been stuffed in her mouth and a pair of men's underpants were tied around her neck.
A post mortem later revealed she had been strangled.
Stacey Lee was last seen alive at the show by her friends about 9.30pm on February 16.
She walked away from the shooting gallery towards the toilets but did not meet them at 10pm at the showground gates as agreed.
Earlier, Stacey Lee and her friends had joked with itinerant show workers in sideshow alley. Her body was found two days later.
A 1988 inquest into the murder handed down an open verdict.
In 1991, travelling show stall operator Richard Stevens, 32, from Mascot, was charged with the crime.
In November 1991, the charge against Stevens was dismissed after three witnesses refused to support their statements in court.

Frances O'shea (28-2-2003)

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