NIGHT­MARE NURSE

Man­hunt for medico who fled to In­dia af­ter mur­der

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - FRONT PAGE - PETER MICHAEL

A MALE In­dian nurse who fled over­seas af­ter the mur­der of Toyah Cord­ing­ley has emerged as a key sus­pect in the killing.

The Sun­day Mail un­der­stands the nurse, who was work­ing at a far north Queens­land hos­pi­tal, in­ex­pli­ca­bly packed up his be­long­ings and flew back to In­dia af­ter her body was found.

It is be­lieved wit­nesses saw the man with vis­i­ble scratch and bite marks and be­hav­ing sus­pi­ciously in the hours be­fore he fled over­seas.

Homi­cide de­tec­tives are work­ing to track his move­ments dur­ing a trip to Cairns on the day Toyah (above) was mur­dered at Wangetti Beach while tak­ing her dog for a Sun­day walk.

HOMI­CIDE de­tec­tives are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a male In­dian nurse work­ing at a far north Queens­land hos­pi­tal – who has fled over­seas – as a key sus­pect in the Toyah Cord­ing­ley mur­der.

Queens­land Po­lice has been li­ais­ing with In­ter­pol and In­dian law en­force­ment agen­cies in an in­ter­na­tional man­hunt for the sus­pected killer of the pop­u­lar 24-yearold at Wangetti Beach seven weeks ago.

The Sun­day Mail un­der­stands the for­mer Queens­land Health en­rolled nurse in­ex­pli­ca­bly packed up his be­long­ings and flew back to In­dia shortly af­ter the grisly dis­cov­ery of her body in sand dunes.

Po­lice have been work­ing to track the sus­pect’s move­ments on a trip to Cairns on the day of Toyah’s mur­der and to match DNA that may link him to the mur­der scene.

It is be­lieved wit­nesses saw the man, who speaks Hindi and Pun­jabi, with vis­i­ble scratch and bite marks be­hav­ing sus­pi­ciously on his re­turn home af­ter his trip to Cairns.

It is un­der­stood he booked his flight to In­dia that evening and flew out the fol­low­ing day.

Po­lice are also un­der­stood to have iden­ti­fied the nurse’s car driv­ing er­rat­i­cally in se­cu­rity pic­tures from traf­fic and dash cams in the same lo­ca­tion Toyah’s mo­bile phone was tri­an­gu­lated to.

Toyah, a phar­macy as­sis­tant and a “beau­ti­ful soul”, was bru­tally at­tacked and killed while walk­ing her dog in broad day­light on the se­cluded beach 40km north of Cairns, on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 21.

Her fa­ther, Troy, found the dog tied to a tree and her body “all messed up” and buried in sand with “vis­i­ble and vi­o­lent in­juries” in a search early the next day.

It is the most high-pro­file po­lice homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the state’s north in liv­ing mem­ory, with tens of thou­sands of peo­ple ral­ly­ing to­gether to help find the killer and get jus­tice for Toyah.

Toyah’s fam­ily will be briefed by po­lice – headed by a team of 12 crack homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tors – in Cairns to­day.

It is un­der­stood the fam­ily is tak­ing the break­through cau­tiously un­til her con­victed killer is put be­hind bars.

The Sun­day Mail yes­ter­day con­tacted rel­a­tives of the sus­pect, who de­clined to com­ment, ex­cept to say the man was not at home.

Queens­land Health’s Cairns and Hin­ter­land Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice con­firmed that the male nurse had dis­ap­peared from work with­out ex­pla­na­tion shortly af­ter Toyah was found mur­dered.

“We can con­firm the per­son is no longer an em­ployee of Queens­land Health,’’ a state­ment said.

“This mat­ter is un­der po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion and there­fore we will not be mak­ing any com­ment.’’

Staff at the hos­pi­tal where the man worked have given state­ments to po­lice about the in­di­vid­ual, his be­hav­iour, pro­fes­sional record, per­sonal de­tails, fam­ily his­tory and his move­ments.

Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors have tightly guarded the top-level mur­der probe and var­i­ous strate­gies de­ployed to catch the killer.

Yes­ter­day they de­clined to dis­cuss the stun­ning break­through in the case.

Asked if in­ves­ti­ga­tors had a DNA match link­ing the sus­pect to the mur­der or if an In­ter­pol red list no­tice had been is­sued for his ar­rest, po­lice de­clined to com­ment.

It is un­der­stood Queens­land Po­lice are work­ing with the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice to try to se­cure ev­i­dence in In­dia.

“The Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice will not be pro­vid­ing any­thing fur­ther other than the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is con­tin­u­ing,’’ a spokesman said.

“Spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing el­e­ments of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion are not help­ful and have the po­ten­tial to jeop­ar­dise it.”

As part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­tec­tives had pre­vi­ously launched an ap­peal to help iden­tify driv­ers of 68 ve­hi­cles that had been cap­tured on se­cu­rity video trav­el­ling

We can con­firm the per­son is no longer an em­ployee of Queens­land Health QUEENS­LAND HEALTH SPOKESPER­SON

south on the Cap­tain Cook High­way near Clifton Beach about 5pm on the day Toyah was mur­dered.

This week, for­mer Mel­bourne Storm full­back Billy Slater lent his au­to­graph to a bumper sticker cam­paign to find Toyah’s killer dur­ing a home­town visit to In­n­is­fail.

The sticker cam­paign has notched up enor­mous num­bers with about 40,000 de- cals be­ing printed so far. The sticker, signed by the league leg­end, was to be raf­fled to raise money to print more.

“Those have all been done for free, but it’s get­ting to the point where we need to raise money to get more printed,” In­n­is­fail res­i­dent Sol Da­ley said.

“All it will take is to put the puz­zle pieces to­gether.”

GRUE­SOME DIS­COV­ERY: Toyah Cord­ing­ley and (left) Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, where her body was found seven weeks ago. Pic­ture: Anna Rogers

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