Tumbulgum man on murder charges

By SAMANTHA HEALY

THE weekend arrest of a Tumbulgum man allegedly involved in the stabbing murders of a young Gold Coast hinterland couple in 1999 has sent shockwaves through the close-knit rural village.

Allan Richard Carnell, 43, of Bawden Street, Tumbulgum, fronted Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday charged with two counts of murder.

Carnell was charged on Sunday in relation to the murder of Anne-Maree Kropp, 24, and Christopher Leigh Nancarrow at their rented Springbrook home sometime between January 30 and February 2, 1999.

The bodies of the couple, originally from Maitland in NSW, were found in their on February 2, 1999. They had been stripped naked and suffered multiple stab wounds.

For eight years the case remained a mystery. But earlier this year detectives from the Brisbane Homicide Squad's Cold Case Unit reopened the case which has continued to haunt the residents of the quiet rainforest town.

Improved forensic technology and a number of fresh clues led police to conduct further inquiries on the Gold Coast and in northern NSW, including Murwillumbah.

Detectives spent several days doorknocking local car service businesses in the Murwillumbah area after it was revealed the young couple, described as soul mates by family, had been doing up two Holden Geminis with the help of friends living in the area.

It was also revealed that the couple had lived at the Greenhills Caravan Park in Murwillumbah prior to moving to Springbrook in 1998.

Following the release of new information, it is understood members of the public, some from the Tweed, provided fresh leads to police. On Sunday morning, homicide detectives visited Carnell's home after which he agreed to accompany them to the Brisbane police headquarters for further questioning.

Carnell was questioned for several hours before being charged.

Detectives confirmed that blood found at the scene of the murders connected Carnell to the crime. Detective Sergeant David Nicholl yesterday confirmed Carnell allegedly had connections to outlaw motorcycle gangs but was not believed to be a bikie himself.

It was also confirmed that Carnell had been working as a mechanic in northern NSW and was the natural father of two children and the step-father to two more.

"At this stage we believe that more people are involved," Det Sgt Nicholl said. "We would like to speak with any person in the Murwillumbah and Tumbulgum area who may have any information which may assist police."

On October 6 Anne-Maree Kropp's uncle Ray Kropp told the Daily News the family wanted the case resolved so that both families could move on with their lives.

Det Sgt Nicholl said the families of the victims were relieved charges had finally been laid and that the investigation was progressing.

Carnell will most likely spend the next month at the maximum security Arthur Gorrie Correctional Facility until he faces Brisbane Magistrates Court again on December 3.

Anyone with information which could assist police is urged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.



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