How police cracked schoolgirl killer

SCHOOLGIRL killer Brenden Bennetts had agreed to give up the location of Jayde Kendall's body after being grilled in a secret Crime and Corruption Commission coercive hearing.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that as arrangements were being made for Bennetts to lead authorities to his victim's body, she was discovered by a retiree on his property, outside of Gatton.

Previous court hearings have heard Bennetts told police "I didn't kill her" during an interview on August 19, 2015, five days after Jayde went missing.

Two days later, police arrested him, placing him in a cell with a covert officer, who failed to elicit any more evidence.

Brenden Bennetts’ appeal has been dismissed. Picture: Steve Pohlner
Brenden Bennetts’ appeal has been dismissed. Picture: Steve Pohlner

But CCC hearings appeared to have broken his resolve, and he had agreed to give up his hiding place when Jayde's remains were found by chance.

Bennetts was last year found guilty by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury of killing the 16-year-old schoolgirl and dumping her body in a field on the outskirts of Gatton.

He tried to plead guilty to the teenager's manslaughter prior to trial but the offer was rejected by the Crown.

Bennetts appealed the conviction earlier this year saying unlawfully obtained statements were used in his trial.

The appeal was dismissed on Tuesday.

Brenden Bennetts in his police interview.
Brenden Bennetts in his police interview.

 

Jayde Kendall pictured with Bennetts.
Jayde Kendall pictured with Bennetts.

His lawyers had argued police acted illegally by questioning Bennetts as a "suspect" at the Gatton police station without giving him a warning they were doing so.

"At the time police took the statement from the applicant on 18 August 2015 … there was no evidence whatsoever that a crime of any variety had been committed," Justice Helen Bowskill found.

"The evidence was that a 16 year-old-girl was missing and that the applicant had assisted her.
"Viewed objectively, the applicant's actions were consistent with him assisting Jayde Kendall and not harming her.

"It is clear that police were still actively searching for Jayde Kendall … whilst the applicant was considered to be an eyewitness to the disappearance of Jayde Kendall he was not at that point in time a suspect in relation to involvement in an indictable offence."

Outside court, Jayde Kendall's family said they were "relieved" the appeal had been quashed.

Jayde Kendall’s father Bruce Morrissey (centre) and grandfather Dennis Morrissey outside the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: Dan Peled
Jayde Kendall’s father Bruce Morrissey (centre) and grandfather Dennis Morrissey outside the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: Dan Peled

"It sends a message out there that this sort of thing can't happen," Jayde Kendall's grandfather Denis Morrissey said.

"The right result has come, whether 20 years as life is (enough), is another thing.

"We request the powers that be, the State Government, to look into this because Jayde would only be 35 (years old) if he (Bennetts) was allowed out in 20 years time.

"We've missed her 18th birthday, we've missed her graduation, we've missed her 21st, we've missed her going to university and growing up and being a lovely young lady and having a family."

Jayde's father Bruce Morrissey added: "My daughter's life was worth more than 20 years."



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