Graham Stuart Stafford has been called many things but until this time, never A Victim. He would have heard himself called The Suspect, The Accused, The Convicted Murderer, The Prisoner, The Appellant plus many other terms usually attached to a child killer. But there is no doubt the title Victim Two also applies. He is a victim of a broken judicial system. A system without checks and balances in place to ensure this specific issue cannot happen. The Appeals Court system can only work properly when the Separation of Powers works properly. He had nowhere to go outside the system to plead his innocence.
In 2016 Graham Stafford applied to the Queensland Coroner (see below) to hold an Inquest into the death of Leanne Holland. His application was refused. “Not in the public interest” was the response from the state Attorney General.
This is his story in his words:
” I was born in the town of Hemsworth in Yorkshire England in 1963 to Jean and Eric Stafford. At the age of 6 we migrated to Australia and was for a time housed at the Wacol Migrant Hostel. My Dad was an ex miner and was always hardworking and quickly found work which meant we moved to Sherwood for a brief period so I attended school at Grovely. Sometime after we moved back to Ipswich and I attended Goodna State School and it was not long before we moved into our house built on Queen St. I enjoyed school and made friends relatively easy despite having been subjected to the occasional bullying due to my small stature, I have fond memories of my early years. At around the age of 10 my Dad gave in to Mums bout of homesickness and we moved back to England for a period of time, but it was not to last long and by the time I was ready for high school we were back in Ipswich.
I started at Bundamba High and I lived in a house my parents built in Collingwood Park along with my younger sister Stacey. So once again I settled into school and despite some early problems having started half way through Grade 8 did well in most subjects. My social life was also doing well often going on bike rides with friends and rarely missing Friday night Skating. By Year 10 I topped my class in both English and Maths but decided to go to Vocational College instead of Year 11.
In 1980 I started my apprenticeship as a Diesel Mechanic at Noyes Bros Wacol. Having always enjoyed tinkering with cars with mates I thought this was my dream job but after a couple of years out of my apprenticeship I grew bored with it. Soon after I started at B&D Roller doors initially making security doors but quickly progressed to Computerised Press Operator making the Roller doors. It was around this time I met through mates my first serious girlfriend Debra. She had a little boy John and they lived not far from where I worked, not long after I moved in and we were together for several years. We parted as friends having different goals, but we are still close today. As I mentioned earlier one of my loves was tinkering with cars and it would be remiss of me not to mention my pride and joy my Red 1984 TG Gemini I had a modified 1800cc engine with extractors and Centreline Mag Wheels and it looked and sounded great and turned heads.
In 1990 at the B & D Xmas party I struck up a conversation with one of the office girls Melissa Holland, I knew most of the girls but hadn’t really spoken with Melissa before she was a bit shy but seemed nice so with a little dutch courage I asked her out and she said yes. We hit it off pretty well and we started dating. In no time at all we were inseparable and Melissa moved into the house I was living (Arthur Powers) in Collingwood Park. Some months on Melissa started complaining to me about Arthur’s smoking but I said its his place we cant say anything besides when she lived at home her father Terry was also a chain smoker so whats the difference. Anyway she suggested we move in with her Dad in Alice St Goodna as her brother Craig had moved out and her Dad wanted some help looking after Melissa’s younger sister Leanne.
I wasn’t keen having helped them move from Bailee St Goodna and seeing the conditions they lived in was like a squat virtually no doors on hinges many holes in the walls and a huge burn hole in the sofa. But I didn’t want to lose Melissa and felt I had no option but to help out. Little did I realise the house was directly opposite the local pub The Cecil and many night I would hear fights outside the pub and on at least one occasion our letterbox was ripped out and used as a weapon. As if this wasn’t bad enough I realised that often Leanne would come upstairs having been downstairs with her Dad, and not even close the front door let alone lock it. I wasn’t happy with the way Terry would just stay downstairs out of the way and expect Melissa to do all the discipline side of things with Leanne and I was certainly not comfortable telling her what to do either.
On Friday the 21st September 1991 Melissa and I went to the Gold Coast with good friends Bob and Mandy Neyndorff and stayed the weekend. On the Monday which was a rostered day off I woke to see Melissa off to work and set about with the breakfast chores dishes etc. During this time I received a call from Bob asking me to come over and we could have a few more drinks but I declined as I wanted to get some work done on the car. Leanne mentioned wanting to streak her hair (I had mine done) and I said there was some left in a kit of mine but she would have to ask Melissa besides I didn’t know how to do it. Shortly after she told me she was going to the local shops and that was the last time I saw Leanne. I proceeded with my day working on the car calling in on my mate Arthur, inquiring about a burglar alarm for the car at Redbank Plaza and other mundane activities such as lunch and later picking up dog food at Melissa’s request.
Melissa came home from work at around 4 and we heard Terry downstairs but it wasn’t until the next day we realised none of us had seen Leanne so Melissa and I drove around to her friends places but no one had seen her so all 3 of us drove to the Goodna police station to report her missing. The following days are a blur of interviews and accusations none of which were true maybe in hindsight I was naive having never been in trouble with the police but I just wanted to help find Leanne, I should have had someone with me but why I hadn’t done anything wrong. Sadly Leanne’s beaten and tortured body was found in bushland at Redbank Plains on Thursday 26th and we were all devastated. On the Saturday I was at Arthur’s place with my parents and Carmel (one of Arthur’s daughters) when the police called saying they wanted to interview me again but no sooner was I at the police station I was placed under arrest for the murder of Leanne…”