Local News

Inner Workings Of FNQ Murder Case Revealed

The inner workings of the Far Northern murder case that prompted the introduction of the “no body, no parole” legislation in Queensland will all be revealed at a public lecture on Thursday night.

Criminal Investigation Branch lead investigator Detective Sergeant Alina Bell, forensic officer Sergeant Lesley Walker and Crown Prosecutor Nigel Rees will reveal how they successfully prosecuted Cape York graziers Dianne Wilson-Struber and Stephen Struber for the murder of Mareeba man Bruce Schuler on their vast Palmerville Station in 2012.

The Behind the Crime presentation at James Cook University’s main theatre is the second in the Far North.

Mr Schuler’s body has never been found after he disappeared while prospecting on the couple’s Palmerville property in 2012.

Mr Struber and Mrs Wilson-Struber were convicted for the murder of the 48-year-old in 2015 and are now serving life sentences. The pair have both since contested their convictions in the High Court but lost their appeals. Sgt Walker said police found evidence such as Mr Schuler’s blood and DNA in certain areas of the Palmerville Station that linked the offenders to being there at time.

“This case didn’t rely too heavily on forensics,” she said.

“When you’ve got a deceased person there’s a lot you can get about how the person died and possible identification of offenders, whereas with this we didn’t have the body.

“Because we didn’t have a body it made it more challenging as well as the fact that the crime scene was basically the size of Hong Kong.

“So that’s why we relied a lot on witnesses and where they were on the property when everything went down.”

But, she said the introduction of the “no body, no parole” law was one of the biggest things that came out of the case. The new law was passed in February 2017, after Mr Schuler’s wife Fiona Splitt led a two-year campaign for the introduction of the new legislation in Queensland.

The law now prevents Mr Struber and Mrs Wilson-Struber from leaving jail until they revealed the location of Mr Schuler’s remains. The State Government officially introduced the law in late 2017.