Mum’s gut-wrenching ‘anguish’ as daughter’s murderer jailed
A double murderer, who raped and murdered Gold Coast woman Linda Reed 37 years ago, has been jailed for 20 years, but he will be eligible for parole in July, 2022.
Supreme Court Justice Glenn Martin said Troy James O'Meara, who is already serving a life sentence for the 1985 murder of another woman, would have been in prison for 37 years by then.
Troy James O'Meara, 54, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on March 8 to the rape and murder of Ms Reed on December 13, 1983, when he was 17.
Justice Martin sentenced O'Meara as an adult, but he took into account that under current law he would be considered as a child, at age 17, but he was considered an adult in 1983.
Justice Martin said O'Meara, who has been serving a life sentence for the 1985 murder of Vanessa O'Brien, has been eligible for parole since August, 1999.
The judge sentenced O'Meara to 20 years for Ms Reed's murder and 20 years for rape, saying there had to be a substantial head sentence to recognise the appalling crime.
The sentence has brought to an end to one of the state's oldest cold case murder mysteries, after a remarkable DNA breakthrough in 2018.
Just 18 months after murdering Ms Reed, O'Meara raped and killed Vanessa O'Brien, 22, whose body was discovered at a north Brisbane refuse tip in 1985.
The Supreme Court heard that on the day of her death, Ms Reed, a jewellery sales assistant at Pacific Fair shopping centre, had taken her lunch break but colleagues became concerned when the "reliable" employee failed to return to work.
Three days later, police discovered Ms Reed's abandoned vehicle in bushland at Helensvale. The court heard Ms Reed's body was found face down in a creek bed.
"(O'Meara) bound her hands behind her back, he was responsible for Ms Reed's state of undress, he had sexual intercourse with Ms Reed without her consent, he forced her and or dragged her into the bushland where her body was found, he forced her face into the mud of the creek bed with sufficient force that she inhaled mud or debris into her lungs and ultimately while the precise circumstances and order of events are not known, he intentionally killed Ms Reed by means of drowning, smothering, suffocation and or strangulation," Crown Prosecutor Jodie Wooldridge QC said.
In a gut-wrenching victim impact statement tendered to the court, Linda's mother Nancy Fein said she still visited her "beautiful and loving" daughter's grave every week.
Ms Fein said she regretted that Linda's father Oscar had not lived to see their daughter's killer face justice.
Linda's husband, Robert Reed, said no one would ever know the "pain and anguish" he suffered after her death, and as a sign of his love for Linda, he vowed never to have children.
The court heard that just 18 months after killing Ms Reed, O'Meara raped and murdered Ms O'Brien in startlingly similar circumstances.
Cold case detectives were first able to link O'Meara to Ms Reed in 2014 when they matched fingerprints taken from her vehicle to him.
In 2017, police sent vaginal DNA swabs taken from Ms Reed to a testing centre in New Zealand.
It found a mixed DNA profile likely contributed to by two to three people found it was 70 million times more likely to have originated from Linda Reed, her husband and O'Meara, than Mr and Mrs Reed and a different person.
O'Meara continued to deny his involvement, but in August 2018 was charged with Ms Reed's rape and murder, almost 35 years after the crimes.
Originally published as Mum's gut-wrenching 'anguish' as daughter's murderer jailed