All That Glitters Is Not Gold


tags: Queensland Police, Murder, Homicide, Gold Coast, Broadbeach,

discussion: 0 comments

By Inspector Terry Goldsworthy, Queensland Police Service

From the June 2012 issue of the Australian Police Journal

First Contact

On Wednesday 7 June, 2006, I was woken by a telephone call at 3am. There had been a suspected murder in a unit at Neptune’s Apartments in Margaret Street, Broadbeach, in Queensland.

The Queensland Fire Service had responded to a fire alarm at apartment 803 around 1.30am. On entering the apartment they found a woman lying on the bedroom floor. They took her out into the hallway and began CPR at which point they found she had multiple stab wounds. Ambulance officers arrived soon after and pronounced the woman deceased. The Criminal Investigation Branch of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) had also been notified and, on my arrival I was met by my colleagues Detective Sergeant Rod Seaman and Detective Inspector Jim Keogh.

On Arrival – the Golden Hour

We immediately declared the resort complex a crime scene. Our initial inquiries identified the deceased as Ms So Ra Moon, a 32-year-old Korean national and sex worker.

As in any investigation the main priority quickly became a search for information. In this case, the apartments had a fully-operational recording video surveillance system which was to prove crucial to our investigation. On watching the footage we observed a man attending the resort just after midnight and then leaving at 1.24am. He was the only man to be observed entering or leaving the building. The video also showed the man making a phone call while waiting outside the front doors. It appeared that we had identified our prime suspect.

The offender had been thorough in attempting to conceal the murder and any evidence that may have linked him to the crime. All the victim’s mobile phones had been destroyed in the fire. Given that working girls invariably do not use their real names we had problems in identifying the victim’s mobile phone numbers in our efforts to start building a time line of contacts and possible suspects.

The initial crime scene processing began but was delayed due to the damage caused by the fire. As daylight approached we sought assistance from the State Emergency Service and a search of the surrounding grounds was made in an attempt to find any evidence of the crime, in particular, a murder weapon. Unfortunately the search failed to reveal anything of any significance. A doorknock of the 7th, 8thand 9thfloors revealed a number of witnesses from apartments either directly below or next to apartment 803 who had heard banging noises. One witness also heard a woman screaming for a number of seconds.

The next major issue arose when the sun came up and occupants of the apartment complex woke up and began to become active. Because the suspect had used both lifts in the apartment complex we had isolated them to preserve any evidence in them. As well as this the entire foyer and entry areas were sealed. A decision was made that all occupants of the apartments would need to vacate the building until the crime scenes had been processed. This involved moving hundreds of people, which was no mean feat. Luckily the apartments were part of a chain which happened to have another apartment block just down the road. Over the next few hours uniformed police doorknocked all the units and moved the occupants out via the fire escapes to avoid contaminating the crime scenes ...

Want to read more of this article and others? Click here to subscribe

No Comments

You must login to post a comment.

Not a subscriber? Click Here
Forgot password? Click Here