The beauty queen murder

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RAHNI SADLER: Anne Zappelli was a young woman from country Western Australia, beginning to make her way in the world.

Colin Zappelli: If you look at a photo of her, that sort of tells you what she was like. She stood out in a crowd, you know, she was just a good person.

Rhonda Zappelli: She was tiny and small and delicate and dainty, she was very attractive and very personable. And you know she went into the Miss Australia Quest even though she was quite shy. I'm sure she would've gone onto a great life. It just wasn't to be.

RAHNI SADLER: In September 1969 on a lonely road, on a cold night, life. Thanks to somebody, her life came to an end Beauty queen, she was murdered in Anne Zappelli was raped and murdered.
Her half-naked body was found two days later. She was 20. You know who killed your sister?

Colin Zappelli: Yeah I do yeah he live in Bunbury.

RAHNI SADLER: From the beginning, police bungled the case.

Rhonda Zappelli: It was a dog's breakfast. There are a lot of things that got botched.

Colin Zappelli: The police lost evidence. Absolute disgrace as far as I am concerned.

RAHNI SADLER: Repeated attempts to get the case reopened were blocked.

Rhonda Zappelli: They tried to keep it all secret.

RAHNI SADLER: The man who wanted it all to go away would later become the West Australian police commissioner. Decades on this cold case is far from over. Tonight, the hunt for the cold-blooded killer of Anne Zappelli.

Colin Zappelli: You want justice.

RAHNI SADLER: Who killed your sister.

Colin Zappelli: Thomas Craig.


RAHNI SADLER: Tell me about Anne as a child?

Rhonda Zappelli: I just remember her as being a big sister. She used to whinge at me because we used to share a room and I was always the messy one. She was really tidy.

RAHNI SADLER: The Zappellis lived in the small country town of Morawa, 400 kilometres north of Perth. That's Anne on the right
with older brother Colin and younger sister Rhonda.

RAHNI SADLER: How would you have described her personality?

Colin Zappelli: She was more quiet, not loud, she wasn't loud. Not like me.

RAHNI SADLER: After leaving school, Anne got a job as a telephonist in Morawa.

RAHNI SADLER: And she was just about to go into a beauty pageant?

Colin Zappelli: Yep. She was, um, five days shy of being in the regional judging in Geraldton.

RAHNI SADLER: For Miss Australia?

Colin Zappelli: For Miss Australia, yep.

RAHNI SADLER: Was she looking forward to that?

Colin Zappelli: I think so, yeah.

RAHNI SADLER: In the lead-up to the quest, Anne had raised over $1,500 for charity. On September 17 she travelled to Geraldton.

Rhonda Zappelli: She was in Geraldton to do an exam so she could go further in her job.

RAHNI SADLER: Five days later, Anne went to the drive-in with some friends. But they got there late, mid-way through the film,
and Anne decided to leave.

RAHNI SADLER: She must have got bored with being there so she said, "Well, I'm gonna go home" so she got out of the car
and walked.

Newsreel: It was undoubtedly this decision to walk about two miles back to Geraldton that cost her her life.

Colin Zappelli: She didn't know Geraldton. She wouldn't have known which way to go.

RAHNI SADLER: Passing motorists saw two men in a car slow down next to Anne. One of them saw the men stop and get out. They described a short man and a tall man who walked with a limp.
The eye witnesses drove on. Anne Zappelli was never seen alive

Rhonda Zappelli: Obviously she would have been terrified. Um, I don't like to think about it. It's just too horrible.

RAHNI SADLER: Anne Zappelli had put up a fierce struggle before being bashed unconscious, raped and strangled, probably with her pantyhose. Two days later, Anne's body was found in bushland 1.5 kilometres from the drive-in. On the night she was murdered two local criminals, Thomas Craig - a short man - and Norm Raisbeck, who was tall and walked with a limp fled town at midnight. Four days later they turned up in Adelaide. How hard did you work to solve this?

Roy Stewart: Would you believe 18 hours a day.

RAHNI SADLER: So is there anything in relation to the investigation that you wished you'd done differently?

Roy Stewart: Nope.

RAHNI SADLER: You're happy with the way things went?

Roy Stewart: Exactly.

RAHNI SADLER: Roy Stewart was a young detective sent from Perth to join the investigation led by this man, Detective Sgt John Porter. Early on, basic police work was overlooked or bungled. Imprints of shoe and tyre marks found at the crime scene weren't taken. There was no forensic examination of the car Craig and Raisbeck fled to Adelaide in. The clothes they were wearing that night were confiscated but later lost along with fingernail scrapings and swabs taken from Anne's body. And Anne's own fingerprints were never taken so couldn't be matched with any found in or on the killer's car.

RAHNI SADLER: Fingerprints weren't taken from Anne Zappelli herself?

Roy Stewart: Well, I believe that is correct.

RAHNI SADLER: Was that a bit of a.....

Roy Stewart: That was a mistake.

RAHNI SADLER: So, some mistakes were made?

Roy Stewart: Well, that was a mistake.

RAHNI SADLER: Then there's the two prime suspects, Raisbeck and Craig, had prior convictions for assaulting girls and young women. The car they fled to Adelaide in matched the description
of the car witnesses saw following Anne Zappelli, as did their physical descriptions. 13 days after Anne's murder, Detective Sergeant Porter flew to Adelaide to interview both men but quickly ruled them out as suspects, accepting an alibi provided by Raisbeck's de facto that they'd left town before Anne's murder.

Roy Stewart: We made enquiries along those lines at the time and it fitted with what they'd said. But the alibi was false.

Colin Zappelli: Everyone was led to believe that these were the best detectives that West Australia could muster when this investigation started.

RAHNI SADLER: Do you think they're the best detectives?

Colin Zappelli: No. I don't think they're the best detectives at all. I think that, um, a plumber or a milkman could've solved it
before the,.

RAHNI SADLER: After Detective Sergeant Porter dismissed them as suspects Raisbeck and Craig slipped out of sight. 18 months later, Thomas Craig assaulted a young woman in the home of Kay Preedy, whose family knew him. 18-year-old Kay was in another room when she heard screams coming from the lounge room. She raced round and saw Craig with his hands around the woman's throat.

Kay Preedy: I heard him say to her, "I'll strangle you like I did to that Anne Zappelli with hose" and that's when I screamed out to my husband.

RAHNI SADLER: Kay's husband chased him down the street. The fearful young victim asked that police not be told and Thomas Craig disappeared again. Four years later near Margaret River,
16-year-old Cate Edwards accepted a ride from Craig, who she knew from around town.

Cate Edwards: I was hitchhiking home. It was on the side of a fairly barren road and Tom Craig stopped and picked me up.

RAHNI SADLER: Craig started driving but not long later pulled over.

Cate Edwards: He stopped the car and said "Look I'll be back in a minute "I've just got to get something out the back "to find out where I'm going next." The next thing I knew, he was opening my door. Pushed me forward and he had a piece of firewood and he just bashed me over the head and just started hitting me and hitting me again and again with a piece of wood, all over this side of my head.

RAHNI SADLER: Was he saying anything?

Cate Edwards: No, not at this time. He was trying to knock me unconscious. He was just wanting me to be quiet. I just knew that I was going to be dead on the side of the road. He was going to kill me and put me on the side of the road. I was so terrified.

RAHNI SADLER: Showing amazing presence of mind, Cate says she pleaded with Craig, talking him out of the attack, promising to tell no-one and to be his friend. He drove her home but as soon as he left, the bruised and battered teenager called police, who charged him. But Thomas Craig got off. The court was not allowed to hear of his prior convictions, including a 9-month jail sentence for bashing a woman with a hammer in 1967.

Cate Edwards: To this day, Cate says the police brief was woefully inadequate. I sort of thought that they were on my side, the police were on my side and they really wanted to get him, that they would do a better job. My sister calls him the 'Teflon man', that nothing sticks to him. I think he's quite sick.

RAHNI SADLER: Beauty queen Anne Zappelli was raped and murdered in 1969. From the start, the police investigation was flawed. Crucial evidence never collected, key suspects Tom Craig and Norm Raisbeck never properly investigated.

Newsreel: It has been a frustrating investigation and police have all but given up hope of finding Ann's killer.

RAHNI SADLER: But out of the blue in 1980, a decade on, a new lead.

Re-enactment man: I was involved in a crime.

RAHNI SADLER: An anonymous call to a Perth radio station.

RAHNI SADLER: We did something terrible.

Re-enactment man 2: How terrible.

Re-enactment man: It's Geraldton, a country town. Don't think murder is a light charge.

RAHNI SADLER: The caller didn't give his name but police suspected it was Norm Raisbeck. An Australian-wide alert was issued to track him down. He was to be offered a indemnity in return for his testamony that Tom Craig had killed Anne Zappelli But the hunt for Norm was shut down by John Porter, the detective who led the original bungled investigation. Porter was
about to be appointed Police Commissioner and told the detective
responsible to back off.

Mike O'Halloran: He was called to Mr Porter's office. He was called to Mr Porter's office. He was then the deputy commissioner and told cease any further wery as it has been thoroughly investigated by Mr Porter in 1970.

RAHNI SADLER: The case was put on ice for another eight years. Then in 1988, three years after his retirement, a breakthrough.

Re-enactment man 3: So, Norm, let's go back to that night back in 1969.

Re-enactment man: Yeah. Alright.

RAHNI SADLER: Police finally tracked down Norm to a hospital in Adelaide where he was seriously ill. What he told them was explosive.

Re-enactment man 3: Norm, did you have sex with the girl?

Re-enactment man: Yes.

Re-enactment man 3: And Tommy?

Re-enactment man: Oh yeah. He had her in a head lock. And he pulled her down at some point.

RAHNI SADLER: Raisbeck said that the last time he saw Anne, she was alive and Craig's arms were around her neck. The autopsy revealed she had been strangled.

Re-enactment man 3: Norm, have you told us the truth here today?

Re-enactment man: Yes.

RAHNI SADLER: Police now thought they had the evidence to go after Tom Craig but critically, they only took notes, not a sworn statement. One month later, Raisbeck died and his confession was useless because it had no legal standing.

RAHNI SADLER: So the man confessed to the crime, yet still nothing could be done about it.

Mike O'Halloran: Nothing could be done about it.

RAHNI SADLER: The police kept the confession from Ann's family for six years.

Colin Zappelli: I was shocked. I thought - the thing is you think the police are on your side.

RAHNI SADLER: Rhonda Zappelli now pressured police to reopen
the case. In 1996, an internal police investigation was launched. But retired police commissioner John porter refused to be interviewed. So what reason did Mr Porter give for not allowing himself to be interviewed?

Mike O'Halloran: His reputation. He had his reputation to consider.

RAHNI SADLER: You say there was no cover up.

Roy Stewart: What are you suggesting? No, that's over. Finished.

RAHNI SADLER: Porter's fellow detective rejects any suggestion their investigation was flawed but in 2001, a coronial inquest concluded Raisbeck and Tom Craig should never have been excluded as suspects. Half of the evidence in the case had been lost. This one should have been solved.

Mike O'Halloran: Should have been, could have been solved.

RAHNI SADLER: John porter is now 89, he refused our request to be interviewed on camera. We tracked down Thomas Craig to a carpark in Bunbury. Left or right suit you better? This way.
42 years after Anne Zappelli's murder, the prime suspect works for the Uniting Church, clearing charity bins.

RAHNI SADLER: Hi, Mr Craig, did you have a pattern of violence towards women. Didn't you have a conviction for

Thomas Craig: No.

RAHNI SADLER: Didn't you have a conviction in 1967 for attacking a woman with a hammer?

Thomas Craig: Yes, but it wasn't me though.

RAHNI SADLER: You were wrongly convicted.

Thomas Craig: That's right.

Cate Edwards: And he just bashed me over the head with it.

RAHNI SADLER: What about Kate Edwards, you didn't attack her either?

Thomas Craig: No.

Kay Preedy: I saw him with his hands around her throat.

RAHNI SADLER: What about the woman who you allegedly put your hands around the neck and said "I'll kill like Anne Zappelli"

Thomas Craig: No.

RAHNI SADLER: So all of these people are telling lies?

Thomas Craig: Yes. Now, G'day to you.

RAHNI SADLER: If you look at the evidence.

Thomas Craig: Go away, go way. That's enough. If you don't, I will have you charged with harassment.

Colin Zappelli: I've got a photo Anne in the house. And like every time you see it, when you look at it every day, yeah, it
brings back memories yes and you are reminded that someone still hasn't been punished for that.

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