Kirsty Bent­ley

North & South - - Cover Story -

De­cem­ber 31, 1998

About 3pm on a hot Ash­bur­ton af­ter­noon, 15-year-old Kirsty Bent­ley walked her dog, Abby, down to the town’s river. It was New Year’s Eve, there were plans for a fam­ily din­ner and her boyfriend was com­ing over to stay. When Kirsty’s mother, Jill, ar­rived home just af­ter 5pm, Kirsty hadn’t re­turned and they soon con­tacted po­lice and be­gan search­ing for her. The fol­low­ing morn­ing, Kirsty’s un­der­wear was found on the river­bank, along with Abby who was tied up nearby. Seven­teen days later, two men look­ing for a cannabis plan­ta­tion stum­bled across Kirsty’s body, near the Rakaia River, nearly 60km from Ash­bur­ton. It had been hid­den in scrub but by then was so badly de­com­posed, lit­tle foren­sic ev­i­dence could be gath­ered. Po­lice, how­ever, be­lieved Kirsty had not been killed at the Ash­bur­ton River where her clothes and dog were found, in­sist­ing this scene had been staged by the mur­derer. Al­most im­me­di­ately, sus­pi­cion fell on Kirsty’s fa­ther, Sid, and her brother, John. John had been the last per­son to see Kirsty, and Sid had trou­ble re­call­ing his move­ments that day. A the­ory arose that John had killed his sis­ter and, be­cause he couldn’t drive, Sid had helped him dis­pose of the body. But there was lit­tle sense of mo­tive, and no ev­i­dence at all, and both John and Sid com­pletely de­nied any in­volve­ment.

Sid died in 2015, aged 64. A coro­ner’s hear­ing into Kirsty’s death a year later merely ruled she’d been killed by a mas­sive blow to the back of her head, at an un­known lo­ca­tion, on the day she went miss­ing. Four de­tec­tives have led the in­ves­ti­ga­tion over the years. None have man­aged to crack the case, and since Sid Bent­ley’s death, lit­tle in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been car­ried out.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.