Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NT: Year in jail before teen walked free

There were apparently at least four people present at the approximate time of death so police at no time had any basis for singling just one out for prosecution. Their informant could have been the guilty party

A TEENAGER suspected of murder was interviewed by police against his will and kept in a cell without a mattress or running water, an inquest has heard.

Jordan Danny Thompson, 17, spent a year in jail on remand accused of fatally stabbing a retired teacher who paid young Aboriginal men for sex. He was freed when the case against him collapsed at trial. No one else has been charged with the murder.

Counsel assisting the Coroner, Elisabeth Armitage, told the inquest yesterday the bungled murder case had prompted an internal police investigation. NT Police Commander Peter Bravos is set to give evidence into the botched investigation.

The inquest heard yesterday that Michael Condrick, 50, died of a "catastrophic haemorrhage" after being stabbed in the neck in his Katherine unit about midnight on June 21 last year. Clothing, an Xbox, iPad, phone and a backpack were stolen from the unit.

The inquest heard Mr Condrick's former students from nearby communities regularly visited his house to drink and smoke cannabis. "It appears he engaged in sexual relationships with some young men that came to his house," Ms Armitage said. None of those men were known to be under age.

Mr Thompson and Mr Condrick's lover, Samuel Wesan, 27, were in his unit on the night of the retired teacher's death. Ms Armitage told the inquest the men accused each other of murder, but the victim's blood was found on both of the men's clothing. Two days after Mr Condrick's death Mr Wesan told police Mr Thompson committed the murder and the teen was arrested.

Ms Armitage said during the investigation Mr Thompson was kept in custody for a significant period and housed in an inappropriate cell.

"There was no mattress and his water was turned off. That was initially to allow for forensic procedures but people forgot to turn it back on. Police received clear advice that he did not want to participate in interviews but interviews occurred." Some were not recorded.

Ms Armitage said it was unclear why Katherine police took charge of the murder investigation instead of the Major Crime unit. She said at the time the Major Crime unit's resources were focused on other cases.

The inquest also heard evidence from two people who discovered Mr Condrick's body. Mark Runyu and Leighton McCartney had gone to Mr Condrick's house to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis. Mr Runyu said he did not report the murder to police because he was "too scared".

SOURCE (Via Strange Justice)

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