Louise's killer Pfennig gets 35 years jail

Rick Goodman
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Pfennig jailed 35 years for Bell murder

Dieter Pfennig has been jailed for at least 35 years for the murder of schoolgirl Louise Bell.

He snatched Adelaide schoolgirl Louise Bell from her bedroom decades ago but now notorious killer Dieter Pfennig has finally "got what he deserved" and will almost certainly die in prison.

Pfennig, 68, has been jailed for at least 35 years over the murder of 10-year-old Louise, who was taken through her bedroom window in January 1983.

The former schoolteacher is already in prison for murdering another child and on Tuesday his non-parole period was extended, bringing it to 60 years from when he was first jailed in 1989.

The sentence means Pfennig, who had a heart attack earlier this year, would be aged 101 if he were still alive when finally eligible for release.

"You will most certainly spend the rest of your days in jail," Justice Michael David said in the South Australian Supreme Court.

"This is a most evil crime and its evil is not ameliorated by the passage of time."

Louise was abducted through her bedroom window at her home in suburban Hackham West and her body has never been found.

Her disappearance sparked a police search of unprecedented scale and it remained one of the state's highest profile cold cases for decades.

"The shock and anxiety that your crimes caused in the SA community cannot be compared to the distress that must have been suffered by the family of Louise Bell," Justice David said.

"I can only imagine the misery they have experienced."

Louise's last schoolteacher was among supporters in court on Tuesday and she said she was "totally and utterly relieved" the killer had finally been brought to justice.

"He got what he deserved," the woman, who chose not to be named, told reporters.

"It just shows that you won't get away with horrible things. I'm just so happy for the Bell family."

Pfennig was charged in 2013 after DNA scientists in the Netherlands linked him to the girl's pyjama top, which was left folded on a neighbour's lawn.

The neighbour who found the top also received a call from a man telling her to look under a broken brick at a nearby corner, where police found Louise's earrings.

During the trial, Prosecutor Sandi McDonald said the chance of a random male providing such a DNA match was greater than one in one billion.

When he was arrested Pfennig was already serving a life sentence for the murder of 10-year-old Murray Bridge boy Michael Black in 1989. His body, too, has never been recovered.

When Justice David delivered his guilty verdict in November, he urged Pfennig to reveal where Louise and Michael were buried to bring the "whole ghastly thing to an end".

But Ms McDonald on Tuesday said the killer had not come clean despite pleas from authorities.

"Police have made two approaches. He has declined to nominate where the children are," the prosecutor told the court.

Pfennig stood in the dock in a blue tracksuit, showing no emotion as his sentence was read.

He maintains his innocence and has launched an appeal against his murder conviction.