Pis­tol ‘had been used’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - NI­CHOLAS MCELROY

ONE of the Gold Coast’s old­est cold cases, the mur­der of Philip Car­lyle in 1997, is be­fore the courts.

More than 20 years af­ter the busi­ness­man was found slain in his Robina of­fice, wit­nesses have faced cros­sex­am­i­na­tion in what is set down to be a four-day com­mit­tal hear­ing at the South­port Mag­is­trates Court.

Car­lyle’s for­mer busi­ness part­ner Neil An­drew Pent­land is charged with mur­der­ing the Gold Coast father.

The pair op­er­ated an IT com­pany that po­lice al­lege was in strife be­fore Mr Car­lyle’s death and the sub­se­quent pay­out from a $500,000 life in­sur­ance pol­icy.

John Hitchens, a Reedy Creek me­chanic and friend of Pent­land, has been charged as be­ing an ac­ces­sory to the mur­der.

Yes­ter­day Hitchens’ for­mer girl­friend, Dag­mar Peyrac, told the court about a hand­gun she saw in­side a kitchen be­fore Car­lyle was killed.

Un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion from Hitchens’ de­fence bar­ris­ter Craig Eber­hardt, Ms Peyrac said she re­mem­bered Hitchens telling her he had lent a gun to Pent­land and it had come back to him used.

The court was told Ms Peyrac’s son told her po­lice were go­ing to in­ter­view her in 2016 so she read up on the case on­line.

She said the in­for­ma­tion helped jog her mem­ory be­fore talk­ing to po­lice.

She said Hitchens “couldn’t and he wouldn’t” have been in­volved in the crime by lend­ing a gun.

“I be­lieve John is in­no­cent and he had noth­ing to do with it,” Ms Peyrac said.

The court also heard from Hitchens’ friend David Nunn.

Nurse Billy Ray­mond Allen, a po­lice of­fi­cer’s son who phoned Crime Stop­pers with in­for­ma­tion about Hitchens af­ter read­ing ar­ti­cles in the me­dia, was also cross-ex­am­ined.

A geo­chemist, Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor Ken­neth Coller­son, was quizzed about cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy into iden­ti­fy­ing lead iso­topes. Tests on bul­lets found at the scene were con­sid­ered a break­through in the case.

The hear­ing con­tin­ues.

Vic­tim Philip Car­lyle and John Hitchens, who is charged with be­ing an ac­ces­sory to Mr Car­lyle’s mur­der.

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