Family of Lesley Larkin appeals to public over murder 30 years ago

30 years on, detectives still puzzle over Noosa murder

NOOSA must have seemed like a charming paradise for 31-year-old Lesley Larkin.

In October 1984, the fitness fanatic swapped the bright lights and noisy chaos of Sydney for the little town's genteel embrace.

Settling into her Kareela Avenue unit with her dog Riff Raff, the vivacious woman was keen to turn her part-time job as a gym instructor into a full-time gig.

She was slowly making new friends, enjoying time with her family and coming to know the close-knit community she now called home.

On November 9, 1984, a black cloud descended on Noosa.

Doors were bolted shut, windows were locked and innocence gave way to horror.

The young vivacious brunette with the lovely big brown eyes was fighting for her life after a callous, brutal and senseless beating.

Sadly, Lesley did not survive.

"It was a crime that shocked the tight-knit Noosa community," Glenn Terry, then a detective senior sergeant with the homicide squad, said five years ago on the 25th anniversary of her death.

"In 1984, Noosa was a little holiday town and it wasn't unusual for people to sleep with their doors and windows open.

"That is why this crime was so shocking for the community."

Lesley Larkin
Lesley Larkin

A male neighbour, who had previously interviewed her for a job, told police he saw Lesley about 10pm on November 8.

About 2.5 hours later, he made a 000 call, telling the operator he found the young woman bashed, covered in blood and unconscious in the bedroom of her unit.

He told police he was in her home because he was bringing back Riff Raff after the pooch turned up on his doorstep.

At the time police speculated the dog knew the attacker because he hadn't barked.

Police have yet to find the murder weapon, however there was rumours a piece of gym equipment was used in the attack

This week Lesley's elderly mother steeled herself for one of the hardest things she has done since laying her daughter to rest.

Overcome by tears and still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the horror that befell her daughter, Patti Lleiss , shaken and drawn, faced a small media conference at Queensland Police Headquarters.

"It's 30 years ago today since my daughter Leslie died, murder by person or persons as yet unknown," Mrs Lleiss said on Monday.

"It's been a long time for us - her family - to wait for resolution and to wait for some kind of closure as to what happened to her and why it happened.

"This year for some reason has been a very difficult anniversary for us and for me personally that I can't speak very long about it.

"I find it really hard to talk her about her today - I actually don't think I can go there."

Lesley's sister Juanita Wotherspoon said the family's pain never ended.

"Lesley was a beautiful young woman, vivacious, happy, friendly, with a great wide smile and gentle brown eyes," Ms Wotherspoon said.

"She was so full of life. She did not deserve this.

"We still grieve her loss."

Lesley Larkin.
Lesley Larkin.


Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Dowie is just one of the seasoned police officers trying to bring closure to Lesley's family.

"She was very active, a very attractive young lady, a very pleasant young lady," he said.

"Not an enemy in the world as far as anyone one knows."

Mr Dowie said closure of the 30-year-old cold case hinged on someone with a very deadly secret coming forward.

"There has been a number of persons of interest but ... we need to go forward with an open mind," he said.

"We're looking at any new intelligence that comes in and we'll investigate and hopefully come up with something that we haven't been able to identify before."

Ms Wotherspoon said her mother deserved answers.

"She lost her life as a result of the horrific injuries she sustained in the attack yet her killer, I believe, still walks freely amongst us," she said.

"I want to cry out 'this is not right, it is just not right' but instead I ask if there is anyone listening who knows anything about what happened to Lesley or why it happened, even if it seems a small thing, inconsequential or even meaningless to you, please contact the police now.

"Please, please do not let another year go by."


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