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Holland murder case is closed

Murdered Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland.
Murdered Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland.

GRAHAM Stafford has vowed to keep fighting to clear his name despite police closing its investigation into the murder of Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland following a review of the case it said supported the initial case against Mr Stafford.

Police said yesterday new forensic and other evidence were identified during the review and they "were strongly consistent with the initial police case" of the 1991 murder.

"Queensland Police Service is confident that unless new admissible evidence comes to light in the future that the investigation into this matter is finalised and there are no additional persons of interest," Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said.

Mike Condon, from State Crime Operations Command, said officers interviewed new witnesses and re-tested forensic material using modern technology.

"I can confidently say there is not a scintilla of evidence that identified any other person involved in this investigation," he said.

Mr Condon said officers had spoken to the Holland family.

Mr Stafford was told about the development by his barrister.

Having considered claiming compensation, he said yesterday's announcement left him disappointed.

''Obviously I've been acquitted, but as far as cleared completely so they can stop pointing the finger at me, it would have been better if they'd found evidence against someone that was responsible,'' he said.

Police said the investigation was "extensive and far-reaching" and included issues raised in the book, Who Killed Leanne? by Graeme Crowley.

But Mr Crowley said yesterday the Graham Stafford case could not be left as it is and called for a judicial review and the release of police report.

"There is an obligation to release the report. If they don't release the report we won't even know what they found," Mr Crowley said.

"I think there needs to be a judicial review. We need an independent arbiter."

 

He drew parallels between the Stafford case and the case of Andrew Mallard who was found to have been wrongfully convicted in 1995 of murdering jeweller Pamela Lawrence in Western Australia on May 23, 1994.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment and spent 12 years in jail until he was released in 2006.

"There are a lot of similarities between the two cases actually," Mr Crowley said.

"Both served long periods in jail and in the Mallard case the police review said they got the right man.

"It wasn't until there was a judicial review they realised they hadn't."

Leanne Holland was 12 when her mutilated body was found near Redbank Plains Rd in 1991.

Leanne lived in Alice St, Goodna, with her father Terry, sister Melissa and Mr Stafford, who was Melissa's boyfriend at the time.

Graham Stafford was convicted of her murder and spent 15 years behind bars, but always strenuously denied he killed Leanne.

In 1997 the Queensland Court of Appeal re-examined the case after Mr Stafford lodged an application for pardon with the State Governor.

Mr Stafford's murder conviction was quashed in 2009 and a retrial was ordered, but the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled in March 2010 that it would not proceed.

The DPP decided it was not in the public interest to prosecute a new trial for reasons including the fact Mr Stafford had served his sentence and since nearly 20 years had passed since the offence some evidence was adversely affected.

In May 2010 the investigation was reopened and a cold case review was put in place, starting with a forensic examination of the house Leanne lived in.

Topics:  graham stafford, leanne holland, murder, queensland police service




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