A judge has suggested a Frankston tip may have to be excavated to try to find the body of murdered 13-year-old Prue Bird.
Convicted killer Leslie Alfred Camilleri has told police he dumped Prue’s body at the tip in 1992.
Homicide detectives took Camilleri to the site along McClelland Drive on August 6 after he finally offered to help find Prue’s body.
Leslie Camilleri. Photo: Simon O Dwyer
Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Curtain had previously appealed to Camilleri on three separate occasions to reveal where Prue’s remains were so her mother, Jenny, could finally lay her to rest.
Police are not convinced Camilleri is telling the truth but Justice Curtain said on Monday there needed to be a proper investigation into his claims and, if necessary, an excavation of the site.
The judge said this was what Mrs Bird would expect from the authorities.
She said detailing Prue’s whereabouts would be a powerful indication of Camilleri’s remorse over the 1992 murder.
Mrs Bird had made a heartfelt plea from the witness box to Camilleri in June, saying "Les, please just give my little girl back to me ... I need to bury my baby".
Homicide detective senior constable Nathan Toey told the court on Monday police had been contacted by Camilleri in May offering to help find Prue’s body and requesting maps of the Frankston tip area from 1992.
Senior constable Toey said Camilleri had circled an area on the map and marked the spot with an x where he believed Prue had been dumped.
Camilleri was then taken under heavy police guard from his prison cell on August 6 and driven to the Frankston tip in McClelland Drive.
Camilleri said little to investigators as he was being driven to the area and was physically ill on the way.
Senior constable Toey said Camilleri claimed he had snatched Prue off the street outside her Glenroy home on February 2, 1992, and murdered her before driving to the Frankston tip in a Valiant.
Camilleri said the dismembered body of a man he had also murdered was in the car wrapped in a tarpaulin at the same time.
He claimed he cut the fence on McClelland Drive before taking the two bodies into the tip.
Camilleri told police he was tired after carrying the two bodies before he scattered the remains of the man, who he said had abused him, around the tip as he didn’t care about him.
Camilleri then placed Prue’s body, which he had wrapped in a quilt, inside a discarded wardrobe.
Senior constable Toey said police were sceptical of Camilleri’s story because he claimed there was no sports ground in the area at the time, only scrub.
A check of council records for 1992 confirmed the sports ground was there.
Senior constable Toey said the tip was about 500m to 600m from the area where Camilleri claimed to have dumped Prue’s body.
Police are this week planning to analyse soil taken from the area to see if it was used as a rubbish tip.
Senior constable Toey said police believed the area was previously used to store sand and crushed rock.
Cross-examined by defence lawyer John Kelly, the detective said Camilleri admitted he could not precisely say where he had dumped Prue’s body and was only 80 per cent certain of the spot.
Camilleri did not know the area well because he was from NSW, it was at night and he had been using amphetamines.
Justice Curtain said that while there were discrepancies in Camilleri’s various accounts as to what had happened, there was enough information to warrant a thorough police investigation to try to find Prue’s body.
She had been planning to sentence Camilleri on Thursday but adjourned the case to October 16 to give police more time to investigate his claims.
Camilleri, a former Kings Cross street kid and father of four who has converted to Islam while in jail, has pleaded guilty to murdering Prue but is disputing parts of the Crown case.
He claims he acted alone when he killed Prue.
Police believe Prue was killed between the day she was abducted and nine days later when Camilleri was arrested interstate on outstanding warrants.
Camilleri, 43, is serving two life sentences for raping and murdering Bega schoolgirls Lauren Barry and Nichole Collins in 1997.
Prue has not been seen or heard from since February 2, 1992.
Police have alleged in a previous court hearing that the motive for Prue’s abduction and murder revolved around payback over police statements made against the men who bombed the Russell Street police building in 1986.
Prue’s grandmother, Julie, and her partner, Paul Kurt Hetzel, gave statements to police about the fatal bombing.