Top cop erupts as grisly details emerge

Police have resumed their search in the NSW Southern Tablelands for Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies. Picture: Instagram
Police have resumed their search in the NSW Southern Tablelands for Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies. Picture: Instagram

NSW’s top cop has slammed suggestions there are questions over her leadershipas there was no immediate public address following the alleged murder of a Sydney couple, as grisly new details on the allegations emerge.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb was quizzed about her leadership on Monday as to why she did not appear before the media immediately following the arrest of Beau Lamarre-Condon.

“That’s offensive. In fact I’ve already said this morning, on Friday I was in budget estimates which is a parliamentary hearing sworn on oath between nine and 5.30 in the day,” Ms Webb said on Monday.

“The accused handed himself in on Friday, he was charged on Friday. On Saturday morning, I attended the Sunrise event in Bronte Park … to remember those gay men that lost their lives there.”

Striking a defiant tone, Ms Webb added: “Of course I’m doing my job. But I need to let my detectives do the job that I asked them to do.” She also revealed she had spoken to Mr Baird’s brother and father.

Her fiery rebuke came after NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson shed light on investigations into the death of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, who police allege were murdered by officer Beau Lamarre-Condon.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb spoke publicly for the first time about the killing on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Swift

Mr Hudson alleged there was a discussion between Lamarre-Condon and an acquaintance about “the death of two individuals” after renting a white van from Sydney airport.

Lamarre-Condon is alleged to have travelled with an acquaintance, who is assisting police, to a property in Bungonia, which has become the focus on a frantic search to find the couple's bodies.

Police will allege the accused purchased an angle grinder and a padlock before driving to a rural property.

“The angle grinder was used to sever a padlock from the gate of that particular rural property and subsequently that padlock was replaced by a padlock purchased from the hardware store,” Mr Hudson said of police allegations.

Mr Hudson alleged the acquaintance was left at the top of the property for about 30 minutes during which Lamarre-Condon “disappeared” before returning with the van and travelling to Sydney.

It was also revealed police were also probing a “gap in the timeline” beginning Thursday morning when Lamarre-Condon allegedly returned to the property having acquired torches and weights.

Mr Hudson said one theory police were pursuing was the possibility Lamarre-Condon had returned to relocate the bodies before he was seen at a further acquaintances property in the Newcastle area.

“It would appear the accused was suspicious of the acquaintance and about her beliefs of what he may have been up to and very likely may have returned to those bodies later that evening,” he said.

Police established a crime scene on Sunday at Hazelton Rd in Bungonia in the state’s Southern Tablelands. Picture: Damian Shaw / NCA NewsWire

Mr Hudson said the female acquaintance had told police she was not aware of what was happening and that she was “co-operating fully” with detectives.

‘Passion’: Cops probe accused’s behaviour

During the hour long press conference, Mr Hudson revealed police were probing the actions of Lamarre-Condon before the alleged killings, including what he described as alleged “predatory behaviour”.

“There are certain histories not reported to police, but from witnesses, that the relationship which ended last year (between Mr Baird and Lamarre-Condon) did not end well,” Mr Hudson said.
“We believe that the accused had attended Jesse’s home address (and) had utilised a key to enter those premises. We believe that he took possession of Jesse’s phone and deleted contacts and messages.

“None of this was reported to police at the time. And, we’re trying to capture that from acquaintances and friends of Jessie and of Luke in relation to the activities that may make our brief stronger.”

Mr Hudson said police would also allege there was communication sent by Lamarre-Condon from Mr Baird’s phone indicating he was leaving for Perth and telling his roommates to “sell his property”.

He also said that Lamarre-Condon had “not been totally forthcoming about his employment” with his acquaintances, and that a number of people spoken to by police were unaware he was an officer.

Lamarre-Condon’s firearm, which police allege was used in the killing, was also the subject of intense focus on Monday, with Mr Hudson stating there had been approval for it to be stored at home.

He said it was “within policy” for police to store firearms elsewhere when undertaking additional work and that Lamarre-Condon’s approval had been granted for police operations during protest activity the previous Sunday.

Question time NSW PARLIAMENT
Police divers returned to the scene on Monday morning. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
Question time NSW PARLIAMENT
The Riot Squad were also brought in to help conduct line searches. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Interstate top cop brought in for procedure review

Ms Webb revealed on Monday in an interview with 2GB’s Ben Fordham that Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton would assist police in a review of access and storage of officers’ firearms.

She said the move would give the public assurance that the review would be independent and they would have “confidence that we’re taking this very seriously” amid growing criticism of police.

Ms Webb dismissed claims by Fordham that she’d had a “change of heart” after saying she was “too busy” to front the radio show on Monday morning, stating they had got their “wires crossed”.

Asked why it had taken until Monday for her to discuss the matter in person following an earlier written statement, Ms Webb said investigators had been providing updates “as required”.

“It’s very much an active investigation and we need to let the detectives do their job. They’re working around the clock and we still haven’t found the bodies of Jesse and Luke,” Ms Webb said.

“There’s someone out there that knows where those bodies are and they haven’t led police to where they are. If there are any witnesses that know where the bodies are, we ask them to come forward.”

Luke Davies (left) and Jesse Baird (right) were allegedly murdered by NSW police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon. Picture: Instagram
Luke Davies (left) and Jesse Baird (right) were allegedly murdered by NSW police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon. Picture: Instagram

NSW Premier Chris Minns defended Ms Webb’s public presence in his own interview with 2GB on Monday morning, tell host Ben Fordham “it’s a big job being NSW Police Commissioner”.

“I think most people would expect her to be organising officers and conducting investigations. That’s the primary responsibility of NSW Police. There are serious ones on at the moment,” he said.

“It’s an incredibly difficult job whether you’re the police commissioner, or a brand new constable recruit on the beat, but we need them doing their job. Their primary job, of course, is investigating crime.”

Asked about the importance of being seen regularly, Mr Minns added: “My understanding is she’s doing that and obviously taking questions in relation to the investigation and other issues that are taking place in Sydney.

“Being the police commissioner is different to being the premier. The primary responsibility of the police commissioners to do the job that is to investigate crime and arrest people who commit those crimes.”

Police established a crime scene on Sunday at Hazelton Rd at Bungonia, in the state’s Southern Tablelands, with divers understood to have been searching two dams on private property.

Mourners gathered outside the couple’s Paddington home. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

Campers at a nearby campground told Nine they had not noticed any “unusual activity”, with an increased police presence in town and a NSW Police helicopter seen circling the area on Sunday.

The site, one of multiple crime scenes, is about 200km south of Mr Baird’s Paddington home where police allege the couple were killed by police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon.

Lamarre-Condon has since been charged with two counts of murder after police allegedly located a projectile linked to a NSW Police-issued Glock firearm. He was refused bail on Friday.

Nine papers reported on Sunday that Mr Baird had told friends he had seen a “shadowy figure” at the end of his bed late at night in recent months, but that the break-in was not reported to police.

The alleged break-in is reportedly being investigated in relation to the deaths by the homicide squad, with searches also underway in waterways in the Newcastle suburb of Lambton on Saturday.

The revelations come as tributes continue to flow for Mr Davies and Mr Baird, who worked as a reporter and presenter for Channel 10. The station remembered Mr Baird as a “cherished friend”.

“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,” a statement issued on Sunday read.

“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.

“Our hearts ache for his family … 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.”

Police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon (right) has been charged over the couple’s death.
Police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon (right) has been charged over the couple’s death.

The Project co-host Sarah Harris also made an emotional tribute on Sunday night to her former Studio 10 colleague, telling viewers it had been a “really hard week” for a lot of the network’s staff.

“He was our friend. He was like a little brother. He was one of those kids that lit up not just the screen but the room, also. He was one of those kids who had a big smile, big talent, and even bigger heart,” she said.

Flowers and other tributes were seen being placed outside Mr Baird’s home over the weekend, amid calls for NSW Police to potentially withdraw from the upcoming Mardi Gras event.

The couple’s alleged murder was met with an outpouring of grief from the LGBTQ+ community, with some calling for NSW Police to not attended the annual Mardi Gras pride parade on Saturday.

The move was rejected by Ms Webb and NSW Premier Chris Minns in separate interviews with Fordham on Monday. For his part, Mr Minns said: “I have to say, I think police should march.”

Police allege the couple were killed by celebrity blogger turned accused killer cop Lamarre-Condon inside Mr Baird’s Paddington home sometime between 12am and 5.30am on Monday, February 19.

Lamarre-Condon allegedly used a hired Toyota HiAce to transport and dispose of the couple’s bodies, which have not been located. He was due to return to work on Tuesday but called in sick and failed to show up to work the next day.

The officer’s pistol, which was allegedly fired inside Mr Baird’s Paddington terrace, was checked back into a suburban police station on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old appeared before Waverley Local Court on Friday afternoon and did not apply for bail.

His case was adjourned to April 23.