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Rockhampton murder: The unheard witness

THE memory of a baby blue dress worn by a woman more than 25 years ago might seem like a harmless memory to some, but for a former Rockhampton taxi driver the haunting memory brings nothing but guilt and sadness.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims he was the taxi driver who dropped rape and murder victim Linda (last name omitted) to Toonooba House on the night of August 31, 1991.

Linda would die that night, drowned in the Fitzroy River with horrendous injuries.

Margaret Joan Bob and two other women were charged and convicted of Linda's assault, which left her with severe bruising, mouth lacerations and bleeds on the brain.

An object was also thrust into the victim's perineum, but not all three carried the charge relating to the more serious injury.

Kevin Allen Henry would ultimately be charged and convicted for her rape and murder after a court found him guilty of witnessing the assault before raping Linda and throwing her in the river.

Her naked body was found by a fisherman on the northern bank of the Fitzroy.

But 25 years on questions have now been raised over Henry's guilt, despite recorded evidence of Henry admitting he "threw her in”.

A campaign has been spearheaded by journalist Amy McQuire and human rights advocate Martin Hodgson, with the pair spending a year investigating the case.

And this witness believes in Henry's innocence.

The man said he had spent the last two decades wracked with guilt over staying quiet, but knew it was time to come forward after reading the Morning Bulletin's interview with Ms McQuire and Mr Hodgson on Thursday.

"The day I took her down... I can still see her in that blue dress,” he said.

"I could hear yelling and screaming, and here they are getting stuck right into her... Eventually I drove away. I left... But it happened every day. That was part of life down there.

"They were the rulers of the riverbank, them women...You used to shiver when (Bob) came up. She was rarely on her own and when she got in the cab, you thought, 'oh Jesus, no'.

"Kevin would never mix with them. The only time he had ever mixed with them was when he had no money and he'd go down there for a swig of metho.

"He never talked to anyone or gave anyone cheek, he was so docile. He was tall, and so frail looking. I'd say to my wife, 'my grandmother would have been able to give Kevin Henry a touch up'.

"It brought back a few memories when I read it in the paper... and what I should have done.”

The man said he didn't come forward to police because he was fearful of Bob and Albury, but had trouble believing Henry was still behind bars 25 years later.

He called Henry "unbelievably” harmless, and was hopeful any information he could provide might end in Henry's release.

But, he said, Henry's imprisonment might have just saved his life.

"He is as innocent as the day is long, poor old Kevin. He was just so docile and innocent. There wouldn't even be a grain of aggression in him. But they threw it all at him,” he said.

"You know why? Because he would be down there and that drunk, he wouldn't know what happened.

"I am very sorry that I have never come forward, but if Kevin Henry wasn't found guilty he would be dead from alcoholism.

"I'd say that 60% of them who lived in those conditions, they would be all dead now. And this is one thing that saved old Kevin.”

A pardon from the Queensland Governor is the only option left for Henry, with all official appeals exhausted.

He is now 47-years-old and is still behind bars, unable to get parole despite serving his full 25 year sentence.



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