New information in Norfolk Island murder case

Last updated 10:26 02/06/2011
Janelle Patton
JANELLE PATTON: Murder victim.
Glenn McNeill
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Nelson Mail
GLENN MCNEILL: Claimed the killers were a drug-dealing couple on the tiny island, who blackmailed him into disposing of the body.

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Australian police may reopen the case of a New Zealander jailed for Norfolk Island's first murder in 150 years on information he may not have acted alone.

Nelson chef Glenn McNeill is behind bars for killing Janelle Patton, 29, on Easter Sunday in 2002.

Her injuries were horrific, including numerous fractures, 64 wounds and deep defensive cuts on her hands as she warded off blows.

The case made national headlines in Australia and New Zealand as Patton was the first person to be murdered on the island since 1893. McNeill was sentenced to 24 years' prison in 2007.

In April American current affairs programme, NBC's Dateline, said McNeill had a new explanation - he didn't kill Patton, but he did dump her body.

At his trial the prosecution played a videotaped admission by McNeill - which later in the trial he disavowed.

According to Dateline, McNeill claimed the killers were a drug-dealing couple on the tiny island, who blackmailed him into disposing of the body because he'd stolen marijuana plants from them.

Australian police said the information was new to them, but McNeill refused to name the couple involved and did not provide any evidence for the claim.

McNeill has now told TV documentary maker Bryan Bruce the names of an alleged drug dealer and his wife, who he says may have murdered Patton.

Bruce said in last night's episode of The Investigator, screened on TV1 that McNeill had done an about-face in his police interview from 2006 when he said he just looked the other way and stabbed Patton.

He has now sworn in a statement that all he did was dispose of her body, under threats of violence from the pair.

Bruce said the pathology and telephone records backed up McNeill's claim, and what he uncovered proved it was not possible he acted alone.

Pathologist Timothy Koelmeyer said on last night's programme Patton was deliberately cut in a superficial fashion, then given the final stab wound.

"This woman has been attacked by more than one person... [she] has been restrained," Koelmeyer said.

Bruce took his evidence to Australian Federal Police yesterday, asking them to reopen the case.

He believed they were willing to investigate further, to ascertain whether others were involved in the murder.

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- NZPA

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