Woman To Face Trial For Teen's Murder

The Age

Wednesday February 2, 2000


A 21-year-old woman, who allegedly compiled a psychological profile of a young dancer before murdering her, was yesterday committed to stand trial.

Ms Caroline Reed-Robertson, of Prahran, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Rachel Barber, 15, at the end of a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The Crown has alleged Ms Reed-Robertson wrote down her plot to drug and kill Rachel on notepads that police found in her flat.

The young dancer's body was found with a black cable knotted around her neck in a shallow grave at a Kilmore property owned by Ms Reed-Robertson's father on 13March last year.

Ms Reed-Robertson allegedly admitted killing Rachel but told police it was an accident.

Detective-Sergeant Paul Ross told the court yesterday that police could not exclude the possibility that other people may have been involved in Rachel's murder.

But Sergeant Ross said the evidence indicated that Ms Reed-Robertson was responsible for the death.

A woman who lived near the property where Rachel's body was found had earlier told the court that she saw two people walking beside a white van as it drove away from some trees near the grave site.

Sergeant Ross said police were keen to speak to anybody who might be able to help them identify the people seen with the Toyota Hiace van.

He said Ms Reed-Robertson claimed she used a removalist van to take Rachel's body to Kilmore and notes referred to a taxi truck pick-up time.

Phone records showed a call was made from Ms Reed-Robertson's flat to a taxi-truck company, Blue Circle, but the company had no record of the call.

He said the descriptions given of the two other people seen with the van were insufficient to identify anyone.

Sergeant Ross said DNA testing of items collected from Ms Reed-Robertson's flat had to be completed.

A forensic physician, Dr Helen Parker, who was asked by police to assess Ms Reed-Robertson's capacity to answer questions, told the court she could see no major physical, intellectual or psychological problem with the accused after studying her medical file.

Police had requested Dr Parker give an opinion on Ms Reed-Robertson's capacity to answer questions after they found the accused unconscious in her flat apparently after suffering an epileptic fit.

Police had broken into Ms Reed-Robertson's home after she failed to respond to their knocks on the door.

The magistrate, Mr Frank Hender, said there was sufficient evidence against Ms Reed-Robertson to support a murder conviction. He remanded her to face trial in the Supreme Court on 1 May.

© 2000 The Age

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