The Sue Neill-Fraser Support group is organising a vigil in Hobart’s Parliamentary Gardens tomorrow (Saturday, December 21, from 11 am), as Neill-Fraser faces her 11th Christmas in prison.
In 2010, then 56 year old Neill-Fraser was convicted and jailed for 23 years for the murder of her partner of 18 years, Bob Chappell, on board their yacht, Four Winds, on Australia Day 2009, on Hobart’s Derwent river in Sandy Bay. However, since Chappell’s disappearance, no body has been found, no murder weapon produced in evidence and there were no witnesses. The Crown produced no evidence supporting its speculation that Neill-Fraser murdered Bob Chappell with a blow to the head below decks, winched him up and into their dinghy and dumped him in the water.
Neill-Fraser has always strenuously denied her guilt.
The DNA of Meaghan Vass, then a homeless 15 year old, was found on the deck of the yacht, but in court (September 2010 and again October 2017) she denied having been on board and the DNA was dismissed as a ‘red herring’ by then DPP, Tim Ellis SC.
But in her emotional 60 Minutes interview almost nine years later (Sunday, March 10, 2019, Channel 9), Meaghan Vass finally told the truth – ‘the objective evidence backs it up’ as Robert Richter QC put it: she witnessed Bob Chappell’s murder on board Four Winds on Australia Day 2009 and it was not committed by Sue Neill-Fraser, who is serving a 23 year sentence for it.
Her new appeal has been deferred from March to May 2020.