News

Suspect No1 guilty of Amanda Quirk murder

KILLER: Chris Swan (right) accompanied by an Ipswich detective.
KILLER: Chris Swan (right) accompanied by an Ipswich detective.

THE man accused of torturing and bashing Amanda Quirk to death in the Booval home they shared has been convicted of her murder.

Christopher James Swan, 39, will next week be sentenced to life behind bars for the brutal killing and the dumping of her body in forest in northern NSW.

The same Brisbane Supreme Court jury could not reach a verdict on the criminal responsibility of fellow flatmate Rachel Narelle Smith, 41.

Both had pleaded not guilty to murdering Amanda, instead pointing the finger at each other.

Smith, who went to police a week after Swan dumped the body, claimed he had beat, kicked and jumped on Amanda's head, while she was tied up with duct tape, until she stopped breathing.

Swan claimed Smith used a heavy object to kill Amanda, that he slapped her just once.

Amanda's sister Lisa said, after Swan's verdict was delivered, she did feel a sense of justice.

"It's grief and happy at the same time and happy we can move on from this now," she said.

"It was such a brutal death. She did not deserve it no matter what the excuses were that they gave.

"It's been hard for the whole family."

Ms Quirk said she knew her sister had met foul play when she searched her room, after she went missing but before Smith went to police.

"Her sunglasses and watch were still in the cupboard. She is a fanatic about the time and she had to have her sunglasses on because she hated the light," she said.

"Amanda is a smart girl. She just got caught up in the wrong crowd.

"She wanted to help these people. They took over her house.

"She wanted them out so she obviously went to desperate measures to try to get them out and it all went bad."

Ms Quirk said Amanda always wanted to feed the dolphins at Tangalooma but never got to do it.

She said the family would try to release a box of butterflies there in her honour.

Ms Quirk said the hung jury in Smith's case was frustrating.

Detective Sergeant Heath McQueen, of Ipswich police, said he was relieved for the family of Ms Quirk.

"I'm glad they might be able to find closure from this outcome," Dt Sgt McQueen told The Queensland Times.

"I hope they guilty verdict for Swan will give them some relief."

Smith will face court again for a mention on November 9.

Topics:  brisbane supreme court, christopher james swan, rachel narelle smith



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