The Tasmanian grandmother is at the centre of one of Australia’s most perplexing murder cases. She was convicted of killing her partner of 18 years, Bob Chappell, on Australia Day 2009. In the absence of hard proof, an abundance of circumstantial evidence was used to prove she attacked Chappell by winching his body on to a tender and dumping it at sea.
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However,Seven’s Sunday Night reports DNA evidence has been found on the Four Winds vessel that puts another woman on board.
A small, dark stain on the deck that became known as “sample 20” belonged to a homeless 15-year-old girl called Meaghan Vass.
During the trial, Vass claimed to have never been on a yacht before in her life and prosecutors successfully argued her DNA could have been inadvertently carried onto the yacht on the shoes of police.
The jury was told the incident was a red herring and that Sue Neill-Fraser was the only other person on board the yacht.
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However, leading DNA expert Peter Gunn said he doubted the DNA was on the yacht by accident.
“Based on what I’ve seen, I’d say that it’s more likely she was on the yacht,” he told Sunday Night.
“I think the girl on the boat holds the key to this.”
Sunday Night reported Vass has been called to testify at the next appeal hearing.
It was also revealed a new witness has come forward — a woman who will testify in the same hearing as Vass.
Daughter Sarah Bowles told Sunday Night: “There’s no doubt in my mind that Mum is innocent”.
“It’s one of Australia’s biggest miscarriage of justice cases since Lindy Chamberlain,” she said. “The truth’s going to come out.”
Bowles described reports that Chappell and her mother’s relationship was on the rocks as “absolute garbage”.
“The relationship was not on the rocks. It was very solid,” she said.
“We have no body, we have no weapon. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know time of death. We don’t know the means by which the body was disposed of.
“We still know nothing, really, about what happened to Bob.
Speaking from prison, Neill-Fraser said she shared many experiences with her former partner.
“We did everything together. Absolutely everything. We travelled together. We ate dinner every night together. We went away together,” she said.
“There was nothing hidden from each other. He knew everything in my life and I knew everything in his.”
Neill-Fraser has continued to protest her innocence....Read more