Springfield teacher’s bloodied escape before death on M1
A SPRINGFIELD private school teacher hit and killed by a semi-trailer after he was allegedly tied to a chair and brutally bashed with a golf club at a northern NSW hobby farm may also have been abducted from his inner city home, police have revealed.
Anthony Stott, a respected French teacher at St Peters Lutheran College at Springfield, was fatally hit by the truck on the M1 at Cudgera Creek, south of Tweed Heads, about 7am on Monday after police allege he was earlier held captive at a nearby house.
Police believe he somehow escaped and is believed to have run bloodied through a paddock before being struck by the semi.
His silver BMW was found abandoned on the highway several hours earlier.
Police probing the bizarre tragedy are investigating how the 43-year-old ended up at the Cudgera Creek property after flying in to Brisbane from Sydney on Sunday afternoon - following a trip to Peru - and say they are investigating he may have been abducted from his Fortitude Valley home.
A Cudgera Creek couple, Mark Frost, 46, and Lauren Grainger, 38, have been charged with detaining Mr Stott with intent to obtain advantage.
The Courier-Mail can reveal that Frost and Grainger were star witnesses in the murder trial of former NRL star Craig Field, who was jailed for manslaughter over the one-punch killing of Cudgera Creek farmer Kelvin Kane at the Kingscliff Hotel in 2012.
Detective Acting Superintendent Brendon Cullen said police were trying to establish any relationship between the couple and Mr Stott and how he came to be at their Kanes Rd property, about 500m from where the teacher died.
"We do not know what that relationship is - we don't know how he ended up in their house or why he ended up (there)," Det Supt Cullen said.
"What we do know is he was there (and) he was detained against his will there … what we don't know is what happened after he left that place."
Supt Cullen said police would be alleging that Mr Stott was tied to a chair on the ramshackle property where Frost and Grainger grow produce for local farmers markets.
"He was restrained within that place - we do believe he may have suffered injuries whilst in there," Supt Cullen said.
Police set up a major crime scene at the Cudgera Creek property, with dogs and divers combing the property.
A neighbour reported several cars screeching out of the property soon after a loud bang was heard coming from the highway, but Supt Cullen could not say if Mr Stott had fled the house before he was struck by the northbound semi-trailer.
"We don't know how he got away from there," he said.
"What we do know is that his car was in the area at 2am, very close to where that house was situated.
Mr Stott was a Brisbane schoolteacher and 'by all accounts a fine member of the public' but police were keeping an open mind in the investigation.
"We're very open to anything here - we're not ruling in or out the involvement of illicit drugs," he said.
But Supt Cullen said there was no evidence of any links to outlaw bikie gangs.
He said Mr Stott is believed to have gone to his Fortitude Valley home after flying in to Brisbane, before driving down to northern NSW.
Police released CCTV images of the teacher arriving at the airport and have appealed for anyone who saw him, or his silver BMW (NSW registration ANL 72Y), to contact them.
Frost and Grainger were denied bail after appearing in Tweed Heads Local Court on Tuesday.
Court documents reveal they were both charged with detaining and assaulting Mr Stott at Cudgera Creek between 1am and 7.30am on Monday.
Magistrate Geoff Dunleavy said that the alleged offence was 'violent' and there was 'significant evidence to support the police allegations'.
He said the investigation was complex and still in its infancy and refused bail for both Frost and Grainger, saying they were at risk of failing to reappear in court, committing further serious offences and interfering with witnesses.
Defence lawyer, Amanda Fawaz, declined to comment outside court.
Frost and Grainger, who were friends with Mr Kane, gave evidence against Field during his trial in 2014.
Field, a former South Sydney Rabbitohs captain who also played for Manly and Wests Tigers, alleged in court that Frost was a 'serial pest' who had sparked booze-fuelled tensions at the hotel which led to Mr Kane being fatally punched.
Field was found not guilty of Mr Kane's murder but was convicted of his manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years' jail.
In a statement, St Peters College Springfield said it was "devastated" by Mr Stott's 'tragic passing'.
"Mr Stott was a primary school teacher at the College from 2018 and was a popular and well-regarded member of our community,"the school said in a statement.
"This is a very difficult time for the St Peters community and the College is offering support to Mr Stott's family as well as staff, students and families.
"Out of respect for Mr Stott's family, and because this is now an active Police investigation, it is not appropriate for the College to make any further public comment."
'Monsieur Stott' was praised in a school newsletter last year for his 'creative ideas' in teaching French.
"Students start each day with a routine called 'Prof du Jour' (where) one student comes up to the front of the classroom and acts as the 'teacher of the day' - taking the roll, asking routine questions and monitoring student involvement in French!" the school's head or primary, Debbie West-McInnes, wrote.