Aussie TV Host Tears Up After Colleague’s Alleged Murder

Network 10
Network 10

SYDNEY–As the city’s annual Mardi Gras festival prepares for its big parade and celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and culture on Saturday, this year has a somewhat sombre tone.

Just hours after British pop star Sophie Ellis Bextor performed on the stage in front of thousands of revelers on Bondi Beach at one of the most anticipated Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ parties, New South Wales police had returned to the Paddington home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs where television presenter Jesse Baird and his partner, Luke Davies, were allegedly killed by Baird’s ex-partner, a serving policeman named Beau Lamarre-Condon.

Large amounts of blood were found at the home, where the former Studio 10 presenter lived. He was reported missing, along with boyfriend Davies, last week. Police say gunshots were allegedly heard at the Paddington property on Monday, and the accused hired a white van from Sydney Airport that night.

The couple’s bloodied clothes were found dumped in a bin in Cronulla, a beachside suburb 40 minutes from Paddington. Lamarre-Condon handed himself into police on Friday and was subsequently charged with 2 counts of murder. The bodies have not yet been found.

“It’s been a really hard week for a lot of us here at 10, right across the 10 network,” Channel 10 star Sarah Harris, who worked alongside Baird on the now defunct show, Studio 10, told Australian audiences Sunday night on the news program The Project.

Harris, fighting back tears, apologized to viewers as her voice quivered, telling co-host Hamish Macdonald, “It’s hard to even talk about Jesse in the past tense, because Jesse, and I’m speaking on behalf of everyone here in the studio, across the newsroom and Studio 10 as well, he was more than just a colleague, he was our friend, he was like our little brother, he was one of those kids that lit up not just the screen but also a room. He had this big beautiful smile, he was so good on air, only 26, an absolute star.”

Harris added that 2024, “was supposed to be his year. After Studio 10 wrapped up last year, which is the last time I saw him, he was wondering what he was going to do. He had a brand new job that he was about to start in a few weeks time. Speaking of Luke Davies, he described him as the one to one of his closest friends. He was in love. And my heart just aches, not only for Lukes family, but Jesses family...were just all so, so sorry.”

On Monday, New South Wales police divers resumed their search for the bodies of the couple in dams near Goulburn, approximately a two-hour drive southwest from Sydney. Police also established a crime scene at a property in nearby Bungonia.

In a press conference in Sydney on Monday, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner David Hudson told media that Lamarre-Condon “has taken legal advice to not talk to us. I can indicate the accused has not disclosed where Jesse and Luke are, where he has disposed of them. But our number one priority at this moment is to try and locate Jesse and Luke to give the family some solace and be able to come to terms with what has occurred. We are hopeful of speaking to him again today and hopefully he has a change of mind.”

Hudson said he wasn’t sure if the bodies were located at the property but said he believed they had been there at some stage and may have moved them. Hudson pleaded with members of the public to come forward if they had any information that might help the investigation.

Hudson added an acquaintance—who he said was unaware of the plot to dump the bodies—had assisted Lamarre-Condon in purchasing an angle grinder and a padlock from a local hardware store before driving to the rural property. After returning to Sydney, the suspect also bought weights. It is believed he returned to the rural property after acquiring two torches from the acquaintance.

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A statement by Baird’s Studio 10 colleagues Sunday night said they were “completely shattered” by the murder.

“Jesse was so much more than a colleague. He was a cherished friend who brightened every day with his positivity, cheeky winks and brilliant smile," the statement said.

“He could handle anything from croc feeding to speeding down a river on water skis on live TV—anything to keep the audience entertained. Through his roving reporter role he travelled the country and met hundreds of people from all walks of life. They were all without a doubt left a little brighter having been touched by his presence.

“As his workmates and friends, we are completely shattered. Nothing was ever too much trouble. He worked so hard to make his dreams come true. He was up for anything and the life of the party always. It is quite simply impossible to overstate how much we adored him. Our hearts ache for his family, who he loved so much and spoke of often. We’re also thinking of Luke’s family and what could have been for both of them. Jesse & Luke, forever adored. Forever young and beautiful. Inside and out.”

The murder has shocked not only Sydney, the media industry and NSW Police, but has become a headline-grabbing story across the country at a critical moment for the LGBTQ+ community. On Sunday, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb also apologized in a statement for police failures highlighted by an 18-month-long inquiry into gay hate crimes.

“The mistakes of the past will not define our future,” Webb said.

In the meantime, Mardi Gras continues on.

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