The Parkside Body in the Freezer Case:
Incompetent Coroner? (part 4)
|Police removing the freezer in which the body of
Derrance Stevenson had been found in his home.
Henry Keogh, a recently separated man with children, who began to date Ms Cheney, was accused of her murder, on the grounds he was trying to cash in her 1-million-dollar insurance policy.
The case seemed to rest on evidence supplied by Dr Manock, which pointed at Ms Cheney being drowned (Mr Keogh’s supports have always claimed Ms Cheney had a seizure in the bath and drowned accidentally).
In 1995, Keogh faced a trial, which ended up with a hung jury, triggering a retrial. The second trial later that year found Keogh guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life in gaol with a non-prole period of 25 years.
A campaign began almost immediately to free Keogh that lasted almost 20 years. Eventually after endless appeals, The Full Court of the Criminal Court of Criminal Appeal’s ruled there had been a “substantial miscarriage of justice” and a retrial was set for Keogh.
Keogh was able to make bail and released after 20 years in gaol while the third trial, brought about by the appeal, was heard. Keogh endured 10 months of uncertainty as Director of Public Prosecutions, Adam Kimber, SC, re-laid the murder charge before issuing a nolle prosequiin November 2015 allowing Keogh to walk a free man.
|Former South Australian Chief Forensic Investigator
The case rested on a number of bruises on Ms Cheney’s leg that Dr Manock speculated were made by the hand grip of a man.
So where does this tie in with the case against David Szach?
From the Coroner Report
Frozen food also in the freezer is removed. The body is removed from the freezer and placed on a plastic sheet, further photographs are taken.
The body is then transported to the Forensic Science Centre at Divett Place, Adelaide.
An examination of the bullet wound takes place via X-rays.
Dr Manock adjusted his formula by 40% to compensate for Stevenson’s body being in the foetal position, Dr Manock does not give any scientific reason for his adjustment of 40%, and this is where his argument about the correct time of death falls flat on its face with today’s forensic testers.
He also pointed out factors such as not knowing the room temperature when Mr Stevenson died, or how long there was between being shot, and being put into the freezer. He made no accommodation for the freezer being put into “superchill” mode, which would have added another negative 8 degrees to the cooling temperature.
|Derrance Stevenson’s odd, iconic house on Greenhill Road, Parkside, circa 1979|
Next Week: The Parkside Body in the Freezer Case: The Appeal (part 5)
(Bibliography in the final blog post of this series)