Lyn McMillan and her sister, murder victim Gail Lynch.
Lyn McMillan and her sister, murder victim Gail Lynch. contributed

Killer who murdered Warwick grandmother fails in appeal

THE obsessive ex-lover serving life in jail for the murder of Warwick grandmother Gail Lynch has failed in an appeal of his conviction.

Ian Phillip Hannaford was found guilty by a jury in 2015 of murdering Ms Lynch, who disappeared in July 2012.

Her body has never been found.

Hannaford claimed the trial judge wrongly allowed a "lie" to be told to the jury, which could have contributed to the guilty verdict.

He also claimed repeated reference to expert scientific evidence including a presumptive test for the presence of blood on an axe he had bought amounted to a "miscarriage of justice".

Ms Lynch broke off her short relationship with Hannaford, whom she had met on an internet dating site, in 2012.

Despite this, he continued to phone her and would park his car around the corner from her house, walk over and look in her windows.

At a country music muster later that year, he warned Ms Lynch's sister "if Gail doesn't stop doing the wrong thing ... by a bloke, she's going to get hurt".

On July 3, 2012, Ms Lynch went to the shops, paid her rent and returned home where she deleted Hannaford's contact details from the dating site where they had met.

They are her last known movements.

Her sister tried without success to call her the following day and she was never heard from again.

Just days later, Hannaford was seen at another music muster with his "new girlfriend".

He told Ms Lynch's family he didn't know where she was and police that he "would have been home" during the time she was alleged to have been killed.

He evaded police for two weeks following a search of his home but was eventually found "living rough" in a public toilet block at Picnic Point, in Toowoomba, and was charged with murder.

The Court of Appeal heard that while the Crown case was entirely circumstantial, it had a number of compelling features that left it open to a jury to find Hannaford had broken into Ms Lynch's home, killed her, removed a rug from her home and later disposed of her body.

It found the jury was appropriately warned about the alleged "lie" which the court heard may have been the result of a witness being confused rather than being deliberately untruthful

It also found that the evidence about the blood on the axe was admissible and it was open to the jury to assess the testimonies of the scientific officers and "attach such weight to it as they considered appropriate".

The appeal was dismissed.

Hannaford must serve at least 20 years behind bars before he is eligible to apply for parole.


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