Wikipedia defines a red flag as follows:
- Red flag (idiom), a metaphor for something signalling a problem
It is well known that many criminal and civil cases have been referred to the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia based on a single red flag identified in the court material.
So what do you do when you find some 50 red flags in a single case? As I did in my investigations into the murder of Leanne Sarah Holland. When the police refused to look at the material, the case ended up in the Court of Appeal and the High Court (twice). In 1997, over 14 years after those discrepancies were found, the murder conviction of Graham Stafford was overturned.
In 2010, after a LOT of pressure, the Qld Police Service agreed to review their original murder investigation. An impartial, unbiased, thorough review of the job done by their brother officers. The review was to be transparent and the findings were to be released to the public. Two years later assistant commissioner Mike Condon announced they were satisfied with the original investigation and the outcome. The review found Graham Stafford was the killer, he acted alone and the matter was closed. So what about the red flags identified? They did eliminate/clarify each and every issue raised, or at least some of them, right? Well, we do not know what they did or did not investigate. The QPS and/or the DPP have fought long and hard to stop the police review being released for all to see just how thorough, impartial and complete the review was. There has been finger pointing from both sides as to who is stopping the report being released. Five years on we are still awaiting a decision from QCAT as to whether the report will be released. Can we trust that the QPS at least looked at the major red flags including time of death, multiple sightings, and the other possible suspects? Given their appalling track record in relation to this case I believe that until the review is made public, justice cannot be seen to be done. To muddy the waters further, the QPS have advised the Qld Government an inquest is not necessary as the killer was properly identified. Not in the public interest. Does someone have something to hide here?
RED FLAGS IDENTIFIED WHEN REVIEWING THE ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION
- Murder investigation commenced the morning after Leanne Holland (LH) reported as a missing person.
- No motive determined for Graham Stafford (GS) to commit the murder.
- On duty detectives deemed not experienced enough and more experienced detectives bought in on overtime.
- Forensic examination of family home the same morning.
- GS vehicle seized that day for forensic examination.
- Obvious frustration of forensic police that no blood found on GS clothing in house.
- Two police (only) on motorcycles instructed to search for LH. Search commenced approx 1pm that day and body found following afternoon – a total of approx. 10 hours searching a potential area of several hundred sq klms.
- It is evident from police investigation GS was only ever suspect.
- A convicted pedophile with a lengthy criminal we shall call Pedo apparently acting as a police consultant. He attended both crime scenes with detectives (since denied by Qld Police). He was dispatched to the Holland house by detectives on the first day to see what he could find out, according to his own claims.
- Crown always claimed GS acted alone.
- Yet, crown witness at trial stated 2 vehicles were together at crime scene where body located. Comments in police review confirmed two vehicles at scene.
- Witness sightings by crown witnesses did not match GS car, at all.
- The evidence in relation to the tyres on GS vehicle changed to the point they were eventually said to be identical with the tyre impressions at the scene.
- A forensic officer found a maggot in the boot of vehicle owned by GS. He did not record it in writing or by photograph or video, although all 3 means were available at the time and at the scene. He seized the maggot 24 hrs later from the boot. Since established that maggot did not contain human DNA.
- Several examples of evidence that did not fit GS being excluded from the investigation. eg bank teller, sightings of LH the following day, witnesses that showed GS not killer.
- The serious & significant lack of available time for GS to commit murder.
- Lack of blood on property and clothing owned by GS.
- Lack of blood at both crime scenes.
- The lack of blood in the bucket on back stairs.
- Lack of blood in GS vehicle, despite evidence to jury to contrary.
- Bizarre injuries found on deceased.
- Cigarette burns on deceased.
- Cigarette butts found at scene but not collected.
- Graham Stafford did not smoke.
- Evidence of next door neighbour to police.
- The pornographic material found in LH bedroom, owned by Terry Holland.
- The evidence that LH was seeing several young men ignored/not followed up.
RED FLAGS IDENTIFIED AFTER FURTHER INVESTIGATION
- The time of death.
- The problems with the tyre evidence.
- The blood in the hair.
- The then chief Qld forensic officer, upon reviewing the evidence, concluded the murder did not occur in the house and the body was never in the boot of Stafford’s car.
- The numbering of the exhibit bottles holding the maggots taken from the body.
- Three scientists refute the maggot evidence and state that it is scientifically impossible for the maggot to be still alive after the time frame stated and in those conditions.
- The seemingly indisputable evidence of the bank teller.
- Conduct of the grandfather of deceased.
- Actions of police upon approach by Graeme Crowley.
- Sightings of Leanne Holland on the Tuesday.
- Crown prosecutor refused to prosecute case.
- The murderer Sean McPhedran.
- The evidence of the daughters of the convicted pedophile we call Pedo.
- Who owned the clothing the body was found dressed?
- The killer serving life in Hobart prison – Mark Thomas Noble.
- The profiler’s opinion.
- The marks on the underneath of car owned by GS.
- The impact of the tyre evidence presented to jury.
- The impact of video evidence presented to jury.
- The conduct/background/circumstances of Trisha Lynch & family.
- Undercover officer placed in cell with GS after his arrest. He did not believe GS was the killer.
- Continued claims of innocence by GS even after release from prison.
- Request for coronial inquest repeatedly refused by Qld Govt.
- Startling claims made by son of nominated killer of Sharron Phillips.
- The police review – what did they find and why do they refuse to release the report.