Mount Isa police have named the killer in the cold case of the murder of Patricia Rose Carlton in 1983.
On Saturday, October 1 1983 at 5.40am a routine police patrol found Ms Carlton unconscious and seriously injured in the carpark at the Isa Hotel. She died later that day at Mount Isa Hospital without regaining consciousness.
Forensic evidence indicated she was killed in the carpark. She had been brutally beaten with a large metal pipe and had a stone inserted in her vagina.
A man named Kelvin Condren was wrongfully convicted of her murder but following revelations in a 2019 book by forensic anthropologist Xanthe Mallet, police have now named Andrew Christopher Albury as the killer.
Acting Superintendent Jason Smith used a Naidoc Week flag raising ceremony to say Mount Isa CIB and the Homicide Squad in Brisbane conducted a review of the cold case last year and as a result of that investigation, they've taken out an arrest warrant for Albury who is currently serving a life sentence in Darwin for another murder.
"We are satisfied now Albury is the offender responsible for Carlton's death," A/S Smith said.
"He is in prison and we are looking at our options to see if it is in the best course of justice to extradite him to Queensland to stand trial."
Albury is serving a never-to-be-released sentence but A/S Smith said there were mechanisms they could use to apply to the Attorney-General.
"But I feel Mr Condren has been through enough and unfortunately if this matter comes to trial Mr Condren would be a lead in that matter," he said.
"What's important is that this matter has been through a number of processes and appeals and Mr Condren was released but that never resolved the murder of Ms Carlton and we need some closure in regard to that.
"We're satisfied that if ever Albury is released, he would go straight to trail."
Aboriginal man Kelvin Condren wrongly spent six years in prison convicted of her murder.
Ms Carlton and Mr Condren were both Aboriginal, known to each other, and he was known to police.
He had been arrested for drunkenness at 5.45pm on the evening of the murder, September 30 and had spent the night in the cells.
Earlier that Friday, he had been drinking with friends, including Ms Carlton, at the hotel. After his release Saturday morning, he went to the riverbed and was drinking again when arrested for murder around 12.30pm.
Prosecution hung on the assertion he had killed Ms Carlton around 4.15pm, an hour and a half prior to his arrest.
On the Saturday, police interviewed him and later charged him with murder. Mr Condren said he was intimidated and beaten before police fabricated his record of oral testimony.
Unknown to him, another man, known only as "Mr A" in the 1992 Criminal Justice System Report into the matter, had confessed to a murder of an Aboriginal woman in Mount Isa in September 1983.
The confession showed some knowledge of the facts of the case though others were inconsistent
In January 1984 - before Mr Condren's matter came to trial - investigating senior police traveled to Darwin to interview Mr A but he refused to talk. The 1992 report condemned police for the delay between the event and the NT trip.
He was called as a witness to Mr Condren's trial but refused to repeat under oath his out-of-court confession to murder.
In 2012 author Ted Duhs book "Crucial Errors in Murder Investigations" named Mr A as Andy Albury, as did Dr Mallett in her book.
Albury was convicted of murdering Gloria Pindan on November 25, 1983, and is now serving two consecutive sentences of life imprisonment without parole.
The Pindan murder happened a month after the Carlton murder and the 1992 report condemned Queensland Police for not attending the trial, knowing by then of Albury's out of court confession.
The 1992 report also condemned police for failing to interview staff at the Isa hotel whether they had seen the victim after Mr Condren was arrested.
Two workers at a nearby pharmacy also later testified they passed the carpark at a time after Mr Condren's arrest and Ms Carlton's body was not there.
They did not testify at the original trial but after a 1988 Four Corners program interviewed them, their evidence in 1990 was largely responsible for exposing the miscarriage of justice.
The 1992 Criminal Justice System Report found the testimony of two other witnesses was fabricated by police.
Sadly, this treatment of an unemployed Aboriginal man was not unusual for the time and his case barely made the press.
The North West Star of Monday, October 3, merely mentioned a man had appeared in the Magistrates Court charged with murder. No details were given then or in subsequent editions.
He was committed for trial in December 1983 on the basis of his alleged confession and and three fabricated statements by Aboriginal people that they had seen the attack.
Mr Condren was convicted on the basis of his confession and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Queensland Court of Criminal Appeal turned down an appeal on the basis "fresh evidence" was not new evidence and should have been presented at the original trial.
It took the public outcry following the pharmacists' statement to Four Corners that there was no body in the carpark at 5.45pm to demand justice.
Kelvin Condren was released from prison in 1990. His conviction was withdrawn, and he was later granted $400,000 compensation by the Queensland Government.
The commission of inquiry into the investigation found police were not guilty of misconduct.
Patricia Carlton's true killer has never been brought to justice.
Albury later retracted his claims about attacking a Mount Isa woman.
Dr Mallet said Albury knew details of Patricia's attack that nobody else would have known outside of the police following the investigation.
"Importantly, he was in Mount Isa at the time, he admitted that," she said.
Dr Mallet said it's unlikely he would ever be charged with further crimes beyond the murder for which he was initially imprisoned given he has since been diagnosed with a severe mental illness.
She said the lesson of the case was there were systemic problems when it comes to disadvantaged people facing the law.
"They are most at risk of a wrongful conviction because they don't have the resources," she said.
"So the more conversations we have about these, the less likely they are to occur."
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