Graham Stafford again in police sights over girl's murder

GRAHAM Stafford has been confronted with damning new evidence police say proves he is the only one who could have killed Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland.

One of the most extensive reviews in Queensland history - kept secret for five years - used new technology to find Leanne's blood "projected" high up in her shower and in the boot of Stafford's car.

The review confirmed a maggot found in his car boot exactly matched those found on Leanne's body and imprints on her buttock and thigh exactly matched the mat in the boot of his type of car.

And for the first time, police have evidence Leanne was part way through dyeing her hair when "the process inexplicably ceased". Stafford has long maintained Leanne left home to buy hair dye and never returned.
 

Murder Uncovered’s Michael Usher with Graham Stafford at the site where Leanne’s body was found in 1991.
Murder Uncovered’s Michael Usher with Graham Stafford at the site where Leanne’s body was found in 1991.

The new evidence was put to Stafford by Channel 7's Murder Uncovered after the network obtained a copy of the 500-page police review.

The program also challenged Stafford to a lie-detector test - which he refused - before returning with the results of one he'd arranged independently. His polygraph examination proved "inconclusive".

Leanne's badly beaten body was found in bushland nine minutes from her home in Goodna on September 26, 1991, four days after she was last seen alive.

The 12-year-old died from head injuries and her skirt was pulled above her waist.

Stafford was charged with her murder and convicted the following year. But he was released after serving 14 years, his conviction overturned and a new trial ordered.

The Director of Public Prosecutions decided against holding a new trial because of the time Stafford had already served.

In an interview with journalist Michael Usher, Stafford referred to the new evidence as "rubbish, absolute rot". He denied helping her dye her hair on the day police believe she was murdered.

"She certainly did not have peroxide put in her hair and I certainly didn't do it," he said, adding he "didn't care" about the scientific evidence to the contrary.
 

Graham Stafford in 1992
Graham Stafford in 1992 Kathy Sundstrom

Murder Uncovered's Michael Usher with Graham Stafford at the site where Leanne's body was found in 1991.
Usher also questioned him about 60 spots of blood found "sprayed" at a height of 180cm in the shower. Blood on the shower curtain has now been identified as belonging to Leanne.

"Yeah, well, I'm just being, you know, stitched up again. That's what it is," he responded. "Why would I be putting myself in this position (agreed to the interview) if I'd actually committed the crime? Wouldn't I have just gone to ground and kept quiet?"

Usher responded: "I wouldn't understand the psychology of that."

Stafford last night told The Courier-Mail he had nothing to hide and wanted an inquest into Leanne's death. He has previously said he is prepared to go to trial again.

News Corp Australia

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