26 July, 2010

He thought he'd gotten away with it - Part II

Darryl was eventually arrested on 3rd April 1989 and remained in custody until he escaped on 19 April. He was recaptured on 23 April, and again remained in custody until being granted bail on 16 May 1990. He was due to go to trial, but in October 1990 the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Darryl sister Joan later gave evidence that shortly after his arrest Darryl asked her to say the purple dress belonged to her, and that the deodorant was her daughter Shirley’s. She added that a few weeks after Christmas Darryl came to visit and said he’d been out with a girl called Jodie and spent the night, only to wake up in the morning and find her dead. He told Joan that he cleaned all the fingerprints from the flat and removed her body, taking it away in the car. He then told her he cut off her head and one arm, and buried all the parts separately between Melbourne and Mildura.

Joan’s son Brett Sutton spoke about a visit he had received from Darryl in January 1988. When Darryl arrived, Brett saw a shovel in his car that appeared to have wet blood on it. Brett asked Darryl if he’d killed someone, and he said “yes”. In cross-examination it was suggested to Brett that he had made this up, which he denied.

In 1990 Darryl began going out with a woman known only as Ms Wilson. A friend of hers, Susan Watt, met Darryl at his home in January 1991. He said to her “I have been charged with murder. They wont get me because they will never find the body”. Another time at Ms Wilson’s house, Darryl showed Susan and her husband various chains, and said “I used the chains to tie up Jodie when we were having sex… I like S&M”. Susan asked him who Jodie was, and he replied “She’s the one I’ve been accused of murdering. She is a prostitute”.

On another occasion when Darryl was at the Watt’s home, they had the following conversation:
Susan: Did you kill Jodie?
Darryl: Why do you want to know?
Susan: Because I do.
Darryl: All they have on me is Jodie’s teeth. They were in the truck. She was a slut and a prostitute and they always get what they deserve.”

Mr Watt also gave evidence, saying that on one occasion when they were at Ms Wilson’s home, Darryl said to him and Susan “I was framed for a murder charge. I was supposed to have murdered a young prostitute”. Another time, again at Ms Wilson’s, Mr Watt saw Darryl with a chain. He said “This is the chain I tied her up with”.

Darryl denied all these conversations.

In 1992 he was arrested again and sent to prison on unrelated charges. He ended up in Goulburn Jail in 1993, where he shared a cell with Bob Collins, who he also became friends with. Darryl told him that he’d picked up a prostitute in Sydney who’d given him oral sex. He said that she wanted more money for heroin, so he lent her $40 and took her jewellery as security. He said that she’d left her false teeth behind when she went off to buy heroin, and they were later found by police. Collins said that Darryl told him he had been with her a number of times, and referred to her as a “missing person”. Each time he said that, he would use the gestures for inverted commas, or quote marks. To Collins this meant he was speaking sarcastically.

Darryl also said on the night she was meant to have disappeared he was visiting his sister, and so he had an alibi. Not long after that Darryl was transferred to Long Bay hospital for a few weeks. When he returned, he told Collins he “did it”, referring to the murder, and said it was unlikely the body would ever be found.

Collins was released in May 1993, and months later contacted police to tell them what he knew. Detective Lennon, who was in charge of the investigation, asked him if he would help out, and he did, allowing listening devices to be installed in his home and car. Collins had been keeping in touch with Darryl, who was still in Goulburn Jail, via letter.

When Darryl was released, Collins picked him up in his car and took him back to his house on the Central Coast, where he stayed for some time with Collins and others. While he was there, he met Collins’ girlfriend Amelia Pasic. She and Collins were both on the methadone program at the time.

Darryl took a liking to Amelia, and told Collins how he felt. He suggested a plan to abduct her, drug her, take her to a hotel, then take turns “doing whatever we wished with her, that would include taking photos and having sex with her.” Darryl said that after that, “we would have to kill her and dig a hole and bury the bones”.

Collins pretended to go along with the idea, and they continued to discuss it for a few weeks. On 14 May 1994 a listening device was strapped to Collins’ body, and he drove with Darryl to Patonga where they discussed a plan for Amelia. What followed were several gruesome statements by Darryl about his murder, mutilation and burial of Jodie Larcombe. These included numerous references to taking her body through the suburbs, trying to dig up the body, and the body being dug up already by wild animals.

Darryl was recorded saying “So now you know I knocked her” and “I am guilty… and still got out of it”. Later, “But I’ve got away with fucken murder, they’ll never get away with murder … I’m laughing at McCann’s bullshit and the coppers because they know I’ve done it and can’t prove it… Her parents know I’ve done it and they can’t prove it”.

Other incriminating conversations included:
Darryl: … DNA on either one, either one can… the ground… get my drift?
Collins: How do you mean?
Darryl: Well, if you have bones in the head, bones in the feet, bones in the hand… DNA on bones and…
Collins: Trace it back to a person or whatever.
Darryl: Yeah, yeah.
Collins: Get rid of the bottom as well.
Darryl: If they can find a body and it will be exactly the same as the head…

And later on:
Darryl: Yeah, right, so what I was thinking, right, fucken we’ll do both at once. Like there’s no use doing one fucken part and not the other. Do you know what I mean, get the drift? Because of the DNA can be fucken…
Collins: Yeah right.
Darryl: Yeah, if we get rid of the old lot and put the new lot there, if ever the new lot gets discovered and they do a DNA there, its not going to match with the fucken…
Collins: Yeah, yeah
Darryl: Do you follow?

And later on:
Darryl: Yeah. I’m not worried about mine. What I’m saying is this: Mine will come after the other, right..
Collins: Yeah I just thought yeah, kill two birds with one stone is what I thought.
Darryl: Yeah well, mine will come after the other.
Collins: Yeah right. But get her out of the fucken way anyhow, I don’t, I don’t want to know where or any of that, you know what I mean,
Darryl: You’re gonna have to fucken know, because she’ll go in the same hole.
Collins: Two in the one hole.
Darryl: You might as well fucken,
Collins: Yeah,
Darryl: Keep the same space,
Collins: Yeah, yeah, um on the way of taking the, that means, well…
Darryl: See, I might pick up the same skeleton out of mine, put her there without the fucken..
Collins: Head.
Darryl: Without the head,
Collins: Yeah,
Darryl: Right
Collins: Yeah
Darryl: Say, and for argument’s sake they do fucken, wont but say for arguments sake they fucken, in trouble, fucken, in, in like years to come, they do a DNA on it, it’s a different DNA to the parents,
Collins: Yeah
Darryl: Follow? So its not, not the one they, they’re looking for, is it,
Collins: Yeah, but with Amelia, right,
Darryl: Yeah
Collins: Fucken, um, yeah, theyre not, they’re going to have to work out, firstly who is what, or what the fuck happened,
Darryl: They will immediately assume that its fucken Jodie, Jodie Larcombe,
Collins: Amelia?
Darryl: Yeah.
Collins: Amelia.
Darryl: Right.
Collins: How are we going to put the other one or something like that,
Darryl: That’s right
Collins: Alright, see, mate, like you’re the teacher, I’m the pupil.
Darryl: Can you follow what I mean now?

On 2nd June 1994 Darryl was re-arrested and charged with the murder of Jodie Larcombe and, while in custody in Long Bay Jail, admitted further aspects of the murder to Satirios Christofis. Christofis was a former prison officer who was convicted of drug dealing and dishonesty, and was now a prisoner. He told police what Darryl had told him in August 1994, and was interviewed by Detective Sergeant Lennon at Long Bay. He stated that Darryl had complained about Collins secretly recording him, but had made up an explanation for the incriminating things he had said in those recordings.

Darryl Suckling eventually went to trial in 1996, pleading not guilty to Jodie Larcombe’s murder. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He appealed on several grounds, all of which were rejected. He also appealed to the High Court, but they similarly rejected his appeal.

Jodie Larcombe’s body has never been found. Her mother committed suicide the day Darryl lodged his appeal.

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