‘Complex’: Top cop defends murder case

Police commissioner Karen Webb. Picture Today.JPG
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb has responded to more criticism about comments made in alleged murder investigation. Picture: Today

The NSW top cop has defended releasing a highly unusual amount of information about the alleged murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies, which would normally be regarded as prejudicial to a fair trial, arguing it is a “very complex matter”.

The couple’s bodies were found at a Bungonia property, near Goulburn, on Tuesday afternoon, with some family members visiting the scene that evening.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb was grilled on the 7.30 program on Wednesday about the release of information on the case.

Asked if it was done in a panicked move to recapture the narrative, Ms Webb said there were initially three people missing and police needed act fast.

“We really needed to move quickly to try to understand where the accused had moved from, been to and try to backtrack,” she said.

“So it was really a race against time in some ways.”

Asked if she had legal advice that she could release so much information, Ms Webb said she did not get specific legal advice.

Police commissioner Karen Webb. Picture Today.JPG
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb has tried to explain public comments made about alleged murderer Beau Lamarre-Condon. Picture: Today

“But it is actually a very complex matter. It is actually unusual in what we’re learning and, as I said many times in the last couple of days, it’s still very much an active investigation,” she said.

“While we’ve now located Jesse and Luke, we have a lot more work to do. We have many more witnesses to speak to, many

more crime scenes to examine, many more forensic information.”

Ms Webb eventually accepted it was unusual to release that much information.

“But it is a complex and unusual matter,” she said.

She added that police would allege the accused man, Beau Lamarre Condon, used his police firearm to commit the crimes.

“I think it’s important that the public knows that I’m happy to be as transparent as I can be about this,” she said.

Ms Webb said officers could take their firearm home if they had permission from their commander and could safely store it.

“We have processes and procedures if officers are going to undertake duties way from their normal home command, where they are given permission from a or they can access them and store them at another location, with permission,” she said.

Luke Davies (left) and Jesse Baird (right). Picture: Instagram
Luke Davies (left) and Jesse Baird (right). Picture: Instagram

Ms Webb said the matter was being investigated but conceded there had been some breach of procedure.

“Clearly something has gone wrong and that’s why I’ve acted quickly to conduct two things — the immediate audit of current processes in place in this organisation around the location of the guns, approvals for any other alternate storage mechanism, and the second thing is I’ve called for a full review of our systems and processes more broadly,” she said.

Ms Webb said “of course” it was worse to investigate a murder involving an officer.

“It is and I share the community’s disgust when it’s involving someone that has so much power and trust, and that trust has been breached,” she said.

“We are drawn from members of the community, so I speak about that in a holistic term. We all feel it. Really shocked and


“Really, we are still coming to terms with it like the rest of the community is.”

Asked how she rated her own performance during the investigation, Ms Webb said some people would think she did well and others would disagree.

“I think it’s been a good time for police to show how good we are in investigating crime,” she said.

“The fact that … this accused is now before the court within four days, the police have worked around the clock.

“My job as leader and as the Commissioner is to support the police in the work that they do, and I think the outcomes speak for themselves.”

Bodies Found
Police at a crime scene on Jerrara Rd in Bungonia, where the bodies of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies were discovered. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Max Mason-Hubers

On Tuesday, the Commissioner compared the criticism she had faced to a Taylor Swift lyric, before she was later quoted saying police were “grateful” to the alleged killer for sharing the location of the deceased’s bodies, and that she was certain the families were also grateful.

“We are very confident that we have located Luke and Jesse,” Ms Webb said on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’d like to say also, that this information did come with the assistance of the accused, for which we’re very grateful and I’m sure the families are very grateful.”

Today host Sarah Abo said it seemed like she was “a bit all over the shop” in her public comments to reporters about the case.

“Oh, I think the comment about being grateful was (we are) grateful the family now knows and we were able to show them where their loved ones were,” Ms Webb explained.

Ms Webb was also forced to apologise after referring to the alleged murder as a “crime of passion” in an earlier press conference, which she later said she regretted.

“Are you comfortable with the part of your role where you have to face the media?,” Abo probed.

“Of course,” Ms Webb replied.

“But as I keep saying, I’m the head of the organisation. I’ve got 22,000 people in the organisation doing great work right across this state.

My priority is to support the police to do their work and to keep this community safe.”

Ms Abo questioned the Commissioner over protocols that allowed the accused the senior constable to take a police-issued pistol out of a station safe and keep it for a number of hours without raising suspicions.

The alleged killer is believed to have assisted police in finding the bodies. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Max Mason-Hubers

Ms Webb said she has called for a review of these protocols and wants to “move quickly”, with a senior Victorian police officer called in to assist with the process.

“This person has been deceptive in the way he’s gone about accessing the firearm,” she said.

“That is not the behaviour we see of police officers doing their job every day.”

NSW police minister Yasmin Catley said every police command in NSW is currently under audit which includes all process relating to the registration of weapons.

She also threw her “full support” behind the Commissioner, saying she has “the toughest job in this country”.

“She has the largest law enforcement agency in the country and she leads it very professionally and with integrity,” Ms Catley said.

Crime Scene
The Paddington home where the couple were allegedly killed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters on Wednesday morning he “feels for the grieving family and friends” of the couple.

“This is just a terrible incident that occurred here,” he said.

“The loss of the two young men and I feel for the grieving of the family, the friends.

“They obviously were full of life. It’s a really tough day for as well the queer community, and it’s been a very difficult time.”

Homicide and forensics investigators remain at the crime scene south of Sydney on Wednesday searching the area for more evidence.

“There is a lot of evidence to process there, there is still a lot of work to be done,” Ms Webb said.

A post mortem is expected to be undertaken in the coming days.