It has been
a quarter of a century since flamboyant Sydney newspaper publisher and
heiress Juanita Nielsen disappeared after attending a meeting. Her body
has never been found and it remains one of Australia`s most notorious mysteries.
14 years after the disappearance and presumed murder of Ms Nielsen a witness
claims he got a confession from a flatmate to the killing of the 38 year
who only wants to be known as such, has told CrimeNet he has long pushed
for the truth of the Juanita Nielsen case to be brought to the surface,
claiming the "go slow" by the NSW police is all part of a huge cover-up.
"I am sick
of it. Absolutely sick of it," he said. " I know what`s happening, the
authorities are not prepared to move on the evidence against certain high
profile people. They are just turning a blind eye until these people are
dead and will just say `Oh, well, too bad, it`s too late now`".
The " witness"
said the man that confessed the killing to him had been working for a well-known
criminal - and remains - a prime suspect in Ms Nielsen`s killing.
" Well, I
" I didn`t
mean to. I was only supposed to frighten her."
just wouldn`t shut up".
"When he said
those final words the damn hairs on the back of my neck stood up," the
this huge man, breaking down crying, sobbing as he told me he killed Juanita".
In 1998 police
flew to London, where the suspect was living. He was interviewed but no
charges were laid. The witness said he told police he was prepared to wear
a wire and talk to the suspect again, believing he would confirm the killing
came to me and said they had tracked this guy down in London, I told them
I was prepared to travel with them there to help in obtaining the confession,"the
witness said. He said after a period of long delays, the police finally
told the witness that it was too costly for him to be sent to England and
another policeman was going there on another matter, so he would help in
the questioning of the suspect.
"They go and
interview the guy, ask him a few mamby-pamby questions and that`s it,"
the witness said
for his life, the witness said he would continue in his push for the killer
of Juanita Nielsen to be brought to justice.
On July 4,
1975 38-year-old Ms Nielsen arrived at the Carousel Club in Sydney to discuss
adverting in her newspaper, Now with Edward Frederick Trigg, who had rung
her the previous night to set up the meeting. Four days before the fateful
appointment Trigg and another man, Shayne Martin-Simmonds, had gone to
Ms Nielsen`s residence at 202 Victoria Street, Kings Cross with the intention
of abducting her.
later told police they intended to get her as she opened the door where
one of them would " just quietly grab her by the arm and maybe put a hand
over her head". But their plan was foiled when Ms Nielsen`s friend David
Farrell answered the door.
In 1981 Trigg
was convicted of conspiring to kidnap Ms Nielsen. Two years later the same
fate befell Martin-Simmonds. However neither men gave a motive for the
attempted abduction. On the day of Ms Nielsen`s disappearance she was last
seen leaving the Carousel Club after her meeting with Trigg, who was an
employee of the club.
It is here
the story becomes somewhat murky. Trigg told police Ms Nielsen left the
club by herself after their meeting. However, 18 months later Carousel
Club receptionist, Loretta Leanne Crawford told police Ms Nielsen did leave
the club with Trigg. Ms Crawford said she was "told" to say the newspaper
publisher had left on her own, claiming Trigg said to her: " If anyone
asks, sweetheart, we didn`t leave together."
police discovered much later was that Martin-Simmonds was also at the Carousel
Club on that day. At the time of her disappearance and apparent murder,
Ms Nielsen had been causing great angst to businessman Frank Theeman. Theeman`s
$60 million development of Victoria Street had been halted for two years
by Ms Nielsen, who refused to sell her property. She continued to stall
him even after Builders Labourers Federation green bans were lifted. The
delays were costing Theeman $3000 a day.
a known associate of Carousel Club manager, James McCartney Anderson, who
ran the club for owner Abe Saffron. Anderson had the reputation of dealing
in "strong arm" tactics, and had shot dead a standover man in 1970, but
no charges were ever laid. A Federal Joint Parliamentary Committee reported
that Theeman lent Anderson $260,000 which was never repaid. Did Anderson
maybe perform a task for Theeman to clear this debt?
also concluded in 1994 that Anderson was a "prime suspect" in the Nielsen
case and there was a "view that Anderson was blackmailing Theeman ( and)
this was related to the disappearance of Nielsen". Another angle of the
disappearance involves the 1974 hiring of discredited policeman Frederick
Claude Krahe by Theeman. Krahe had a gang of thugs that terrorised tenants
in Victoria Street who defied Theeman`s offer to vacate the premises. Krahe
was also well known to Saffron and Anderson as a frequenter of another
of Saffron`s club, the Venus Room. The Parliamentary Joint Committee said:
" There was a widespread rumour that Krahe had killed her."
At the 1983
inquest Anderson named Krahe as Nielsen`s killer, with similar claims coming
from freelance journalists Tony Reeves and Barry Ward. However there was
no evidence to prove this claim. Krahe died in 1981. Was Krahe`s death
a convenient tool for Anderson placing the blame on him? Or has the killer
of Juanita Nielsen been dead for almost 20 years?
handling of the investigation has also been seen as not being overly active
in the pursuit of finding the killer or killers.
The 1983 Nielsen
inquest jury of six people found: " There is evidence to show police inquiries
were inhibited by an atmosphere of corruption, real or imagined, that existed
at that time".
the Parliamentary Joint Committee said that " the adequacy of the police
investigation" into who ordered the killing of Ms Nielsen " can be questioned,
as can the (police) conclusion that there were no further leads to be followed
evidence linking Anderson with Ms Nielsen`s disappearance, the attempt
by police to investigate the role of Anderson seems to have been cursory,"
the Committee said.
In 1976 journalists
Barry Ward and Tony Reeves released a media statement saying their investigations
into the Juanita Nielsen case had uncovered a police cover up and implored
Premier of the day, Neville Wran to conduct a judicial inquiry into the
no joy, the two journalists sent a telegram to Premier Wran on July 22,
1977. In part the telegram said:
We are dismayed
and disgusted at your refusal to conduct a Royal Commission into the murder
of Juanita Nielsen and the subsequent cover-up of that event. One of the
significant points your announcement neglects to consider is that the police
officer upon whose advice the Government`s conclusions are based was involved
significantly in the original investigation about which we made allegations
of a cover-up. We will continue in our campaign for exposure of then truth
in this affair, despite your Government`s cowardice to come to grips with
this most serious issue. We will explore and expose numerous other references
of police impropriety to their fullest.
It is shameful
that we will have to embarrass this Government into action.
Trigg was captured in the US, before being returned and jailed for conspiracy
to abduct Ms Nielsen, he said: "It`s all bloody politics, anyway....It`s
all about crooked cops, dirty politics and one big cover up. The guy who
is benefiting from this is an alderman who made megabucks out of this."
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