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Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
DNA tests to find backpacker's killer
Caroline Stuttle pictured on holiday
Police think Caroline Stuttle was a robbery victim
Australian police want to test the DNA of thousands of men in a small Australian town in their search for the killer of a young British backpacker.

The body of 19-year-old Caroline Ann Stuttle, from Yorkshire, was found under a bridge in the small sugar town of Bundaberg, Queensland, on 10 April this year.

Queensland Police say they want to voluntarily test all members of the local male population, from the town's total population of 45,000.

This follows the recovery of male DNA from saliva at the scene of the crime.
Map
Ms Stuttle had only been in Bundaberg for two days

Police Inspector Jeff Oliphant told reporters on Sunday the sampling could be used to either eliminate or identify a suspect.

"He may be a totally innocent person walking across the bridge but we've just got to try and do something to...identify whose sample that is," he said.

Caroline's mother Marjorie Stuttle welcomed the fresh push to find her daughter's killer.

"It is gratifying to know that the Australian Police have some fresh leads in the case," she said.

"They are hopeful that this will lead to the arrest of the person responsible for Caroline's murder."

But the announcement has angered civil liberties groups in the country, who say it is an invasion of privacy.

Groups have warned Bundaberg's men to think hard before agreeing to the tests, saying it could simply help police build an unauthorised database of DNA.

Mass testing

Police believe Ms Stuttle was the victim of a robbery and that she fell or was pushed from a 30ft high bridge as a result.

Ms Stuttle suffered minor injuries before the fall to her death, but there was no indication of sexual assault.

Screams were heard in the area of the bridge shortly after the young backpacker telephoned a travelling companion to say she was walking back to her camp site.
The place where Caroline's body was found
Witnesses heard screams from near the bridge

She was in Bundaberg, 220 miles north of Brisbane, Queensland, during a round-the-world trip with her best friend Sarah Holiday, also 19.

Police are still trying to identify a man aged 25 to 30, with a solid build and collar-length hair, who was seen walking behind her as she crossed the bridge after making the telephone call.

Limited DNA testing took place soon after Ms Stuttle's body was found.

The process of mass DNA testing by police first began in Australia two years ago.

Most of the male population of the tiny cotton-growing town of Wee Waa in New South Wales was tested after the violent sexual assault of a 91-year-old woman.

See also:

23 Apr 02 | England
19 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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16 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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14 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
13 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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