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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Addict jailed for bridge murder
Caroline Stuttle
Caroline Stuttle was on a gap year when she died
Drug addict Ian Previte has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering British backpacker Caroline Stuttle in Australia.

Previte, 32, who killed the 19-year-old from York during a bag snatch, was also given 10 years for robbery.

He had denied pushing Ms Stuttle to her death from a 30ft bridge in Bundaberg, Queensland, on 10 April 2002.

A jury of four women and seven men took seven hours to convict him of both charges after a three-week trial.

'Dreadful' death

Handing down the sentence, Justice Peter Dutney said: "Miss Stuttle should have been enjoying the holiday of a lifetime.

"Instead, your act of throwing her off a bridge in the dark in a strange country for a miserable few dollars killed her in the most dreadful way."

Marjorie Marks-Stuttle
Relief that justice has seen to be done
Caroline's mother, Marjorie Marks-Stuttle

Caroline's father Alan said after the verdict: "We are so relieved this matter has finally been put to sleep and I think it is important now we all move forward with great confidence and know this isn't hanging over our heads.

"It has been two-and-a-half years of a great deal of pain and anguish."

Ms Stuttle's mother, Marjorie Marks-Stuttle, welcomed the verdict, saying that her feelings were "just relief that justice has seen to be done".

Her daughter had been travelling in Australia with a friend before starting a psychology course at Manchester University.

Ian Previte
Ian Previte denied even being on the bridge
She had been in Bundaberg only a few days, working as a tomato picker, when she was killed as she returned to a caravan park after making a phone call to her boyfriend, Ian Nelson, in England.

She died instantly of a fractured skull and severed spine as she hit the ground.

Confession taped

The Supreme Court in Bundaberg heard that Previte had boasted of the killing during secretly-recorded conversations with cellmates.

Defence barrister Denis Lynch said Previte's confession was just the boasting of an attention seeker surrounded in jail by dangerous criminals who he was trying to impress.

But the prosecution said Previte had deliberately thrown Miss Stuttle to her death so he could snatch her handbag.

As well as the prison tapes, Previte admitted killing Caroline in a recorded police interview.

He described how Miss Stuttle fought to hold on to her handbag after he grabbed it when he saw her on the bridge.

He said he "flung" her around as she struggled she went over the side of the railing.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The family are hugely relieved by the verdict



SEE ALSO:
Backpacker death 'not accidental'
13 Oct 04  |  North Yorkshire
'Confession' tape played to court
01 Oct 04  |  North Yorkshire
Wood 'confession' to bridge death
30 Sep 04  |  North Yorkshire
Caroline 'killed for drug money'
27 Sep 04  |  North Yorkshire


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