Thursday, December 20, 2012
Police coverup of bungled prosecution
THE mother of a murder victim is furious Queensland police won't honour a promise to come clean about a failed investigation of the brutal 1999 killings.
Despite 12 years of police work and DNA evidence, police failed to secure convictions against two men accused of the killings of Ann-Maree Kropp and her partner Christopher Nancarrow at Springbrook on the Gold Coast.
The men were found to be not guilty, with no clear evidence of motive presented at the month-long trial in October 2011.
Police promised the Kropp family in January that the findings of an internal review into what went wrong "will be conveyed to you in due course".
But although the QPS has completed its probe, it has made no attempt to contact the family.
"We've heard nothing," Shirley Kropp, Ann-Maree's mother, said. "They've totally ignored us. It's just not good enough. I just wonder what they're trying to hide."
Mrs Kropp said she had heard through the Queensland Homicide Victim Support Group there had been errors in DNA sample collection.
It had also been a mistake to compel testimony from a forensic specialist who was experiencing psychological distress.
"They've got off blind because they stuffed up," she said.
But the QPS could not confirm the findings. It would say only that "a review of the of verdict" in the case "reinforced the Queensland Police Service's ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in terms of the investigation of serious crime".
A retired detective who initially worked the case said in 2011 that "police politics" had wrecked the investigation.
Paddy Fenely, a former Gold Coast CIB officer, said he had found promising lines of inquiry suggesting the murdered couple had been recruited by a drug ring linked to Nomads bikies planning to supply methamphetamine to truck drivers in Murwillumbah.
But the investigation was transferred to another unit.
Under changes to Queensland's double jeopardy laws last year, murder cases can be reopened if "fresh and compelling" new evidence emerges.
Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, who took over the investigation in 2007, said last month no further arrests should be expected and no one was being sought for questioning.