The Courier-Mail

A LITTLE GIRL LOST

DAD CHARGED WITH MURDER

- RHIAN DEUTROM KATE KYRIACOU

A BRISBANE father was last night charged with murdering his six-year-old daughter – who was found found dead in her bed by her mother yesterday.

Stephen Philip Playford, 52, ( left) was charged 17 hours after his early morning departure from the family’s home in the inner suburb of Kedron.

His wife discovered their daughter Sydney’s body in the room the girl shared with her eight-year-old sister about 8am. She called an ambulance but paramedics arrived to discover Sydney (pictured above with her mother) had been dead for several hours.

Playford was found several hours later in the Gold Coast hinterland after a passer-by noticed him acting unusually in his parked car.

Playford is expected to appear in court this morning.

AN internatio­nal mining entreprene­ur and budding property developer was last night charged with murdering his six-year-old daughter Sydney after she was found dead in her bed in the family’s Kedron home.

Stephen Philip Playford’s wife discovered their daughter’s body in the room the girl shared with her eight-year-old sister at 8am yesterday.

She called an ambulance but paramedics arrived to discover Sydney had likely been dead for several hours.

Police said Playford, 52, was seen leaving the house in the family’s Mercedes Benz 4WD at 5am.

“We just want to talk to him and get to the bottom of how his daughter has died,” Detective Acting Superinten­dent Geoff Sheldon said.

Playford was found several hours later in the Gold Coast hinterland after a passer-by noticed unusual ac- tivity involving a parked car.

An ambulance was called and detectives met him at Gold Coast University Hospital.

“There’s no immediate cause of death and we’re treating the whole death as very, very serious,” Det Supt Sheldon said.

The girl’s mother, 36, and sister were driven to Hendra police station.

“As you can imagine they are just beside themselves with grief,” Det Supt Sheldon said.

“We’re trying to assist them as best we can and come to a speedy resolution as to what has gone on here today.”

Forensic investigat­ors and a pathologis­t were called to the Sturt St home yesterday.

It is understood that as well as performing toxicology tests, investigat­ors would also look at whether strangulat­ion or suffocatio­n were involved.

Playford’s online profile says he has more than 18 years experience in small mining operations including gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper and bauxite mines.

He had held consultant and managerial positions in South America, Hong Kong, Indonesia and in Australia.

Neighbours at the family’s form former home in Clayfield c confirmed they r regularly saw them going to school.

The family r rented the Clayfi field house before m moving to Kedr ron some time in t the last year.

“One of his d daughters had just started school this year,” one former neighbour said.

A neighbouri at the Kedron house described the family of four as close and loving.

“It’s a really lovely neighbourh­ood and it’s very sad you don’t expect it to happen here,” Katrina Marlow said.

Ms Marlow said she had hosted a Christmas in July party recently which the family attended and said the event had been “really“reall pleasant”.l

“The kids got on so well with the rest of the families in the area,” she said.

Another woman who lives in the same street said the Playfords kept to themselves.

“I didn’t know much about them I just saw the car drive past,” she said. “I saw the mother drive the girls to school occasional­ly.”

She said eight police cars arrived in the street shortly after 8am and officers began speaking to residents.

“I asked them what had happened and they said a young girl had passed away ... she couldn’t be revived because she had been dead for some time before,” the woman said.

Playford’s online profession­al profile said he was fluent in Spanish and “comfortabl­e in non-Anglo Saxon settings”.

“I look to bring order and discipline to existing operations, revitalise the team structure and provide a clear vision with the understand­ing that teams deliver results, but only when they have strong leadership,” he wrote.

In 2013, Playford joined a property entreprene­ur page and said he had recently returned to Australia after a number of years abroad.

“I am new to property developmen­t and am keen to learn more,” he wrote.

Police charged Playford with murder about 10pm last night. He is expected to appear in court this morning.

 ??  ?? FAMILY PAIN: Stephen Playford is escorted into the Southport Watchhouse last nightt before he was charged over the death of his six-year-old daughter Sydney (pictured right with her mum) who was found dead in her bed at their Kedron home (right).
FAMILY PAIN: Stephen Playford is escorted into the Southport Watchhouse last nightt before he was charged over the death of his six-year-old daughter Sydney (pictured right with her mum) who was found dead in her bed at their Kedron home (right).
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