Coroner: Try husband for 1991 killings

March 2, 2013 at 1:51 AM

BRISBANE, Australia, March 2 (UPI) -- An Australian man should be charged with killing his wife and her best two decades ago, deaths originally ruled a murder-suicide, a coroner said Friday.

Coroner Michael Barnes ruled Alan Leahy must be tried for murder, The Courier-Mail of Brisbane reported. Leahy, who now lives in Western Australia, would be tried in Cairns in Queensland.

Julie-Anne Leahy, 26, and Vicki Arnold, 27, disappeared in 1991. Their bodies were found in the bush near Cairns two weeks later in Leahy's SUV. Leahy had been hit with a rock, stabbed and shot, while Arnold had been shot twice in the head.

Barnes was harshly critical of the original investigation, which determined Arnold had killed her friend and then taken her own life.

"Those involved in the early stages of the investigation failed to gather, lost or corrupted evidence that may have established the truth of what happened at Cherry Tree Creek on the night of July 26, 1991," he said. "They then set about squeezing what evidence was left into an explanation that required no further action."

Barnes said Leahy had ample motive to kill his wife, including an affair with her sister and the money from her life insurance. He said Leahy lied to police about a number of details.

Leahy denied committing the crime.

"Of course I will fight the charges," he said.

Vida Arnold, Vicki's 87-year-old mother, was in the courtroom Friday, weeping as Barnes cleared her daughter of being a killer.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Kim Jong Un had terrapin farm manager executed, says source
More than 80 percent of North Korean defectors are women, says report
North Korea requests medical aid from U.N. agencies
Kenyan bishop warns Obama against pro-gay policy
Duma approves construction of $4 billion bridge to Crimea