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(BRISBANE) Supreme Court Report: The man who raped and killed Gold Coast woman Linda Reed almost four decades ago has been sentenced to 20 years in jail #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.18: O’Meara, who was 17 at the time, approached Ms Reed when she was sitting in her car and violently forced her to drive to an isolated area, the court heard:

Cold Case Murder Report: ‘Troy O’Meara sentenced to 20 years in jail for rape and murder of Gold Coast woman Linda Reed in the Supreme Court in Brisbane last week, Troy James O’Meara admitted to murdering the 21-year-old while she was on her lunch break from her retail job at the Pacific Fair shopping centre, at Broadbeach, in December 1983’

updated 9h ago

A bearded man in the back seat of a police car, a detective beside him.
Troy James O’Meara was charged in 2018 with Linda Reed’s murder.(ABC News)

He then bound her hands behind her back and sexually assaulted her before drowning her in a nearby creek bed:

When Ms Reed did not return to her workplace, her colleagues raised the alarm and she was reported missing.

An old photo of a smiling young woman
Linda Reed disappeared from Pacific Fair in December 1983 and her body was found three days later.(ABC News)

Three days later Ms Reed’s body was found in bushland in Gaven.

A car by a road.
Linda Reed’s car was left close to where she was found.(Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

Second murder

O’Meara was not charged over Ms Reed’s death until 2018, making it one of the state’s oldest cold case murders.

It was also revealed in court that almost two years after killing Ms Reed, he murdered another woman, Vanessa O’Brien, 22, in similar circumstances in Brisbane.

He was arrested for that crime in July 1985 and has been servicing a life sentence since.

Headshot photo of Linda Reed in a white t-shirt, standing beside a garden.
Ms Reed was 21 when she was murdered.(Supplied)

When determining O’Meara’s sentence, Justice Glenn Martin noted there had been significant changes to legislation, and took into consideration that O’Meara had been a child at the time of committing the offences despite being charged as an adult.

He also took into account how long O’Meara had already spent in custody for his other crimes.

Justice Martin said the sentence could not be determined by a “strict mathematical calculation” but that another life sentence would be “excessive”.

“If the defendant had committed the two offences of murder in the recent times as an adult then he would be required to serve a minimum 30 years in prison,” he said

“A sentence of life imprisonment is not appropriate given that it would require the defendant to serve a further 15 years imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole.”

Justice Martin said a “substantial head sentence” was still needed “in order that the appalling nature of the conduct be recognised”.

O’Meara will be eligible to apply for parole in July 2022.

‘Killing a woman at random’

The prosecution asked the judge to accept O’Meara was determined to “go out and kill a woman at random” the day he murdered Ms Reed, as this is what he admitted to police when he killed Ms O’Brien.

Justice Glenn Martin said he did not need to rely on that admission to know what his motive was.

“The manner in which he treated her in the short time before her awful death is sufficient to demonstrate the vile intent he held that time,” he said.

A black and white photo of a Toyota van.
The van Troy O’Meara hitchhiked in from the crime scene.(Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

Justice Martin said he acknowledged O’Meara’s guilty plea, but said it did not indicate remorse.

“The plea does demonstrate some co-operation. The plea comes after consistent denial,” he said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell of Homicide’s Cold Case Investigation Team said they had investigated the murder for 35 years.

She said the investigation changed focus in 2014 when fingerprint evidence first identified O’Meara as a suspect.

Black and white image of the fingerprints of convicted murderer Troy O'Meara supplied by the Queensland police.
Police said the investigation changed focus in 2014 when fingerprint evidence first identified O’Meara as a suspect.(Supplied: Queensland Police Service)

Over the next four years, the team re-examined 150 exhibits with contemporary forensic techniques, and more than 100 witnesses were re-interviewed.

“The cooperation and patience of witnesses as well as the family and friends of Linda Reed with Queensland Police has been integral to providing justice for Linda,” she said.

Outside court, Detective Senior Sergeant Kentwell praised the investigators who “never gave up”.

“I would like to acknowledge all the good work by many members of Queensland Police Service over the passage of time,” she said.

Ms Reed’s widower, Robert Reed, became emotional as he thanked police, prosecutors and the community who “stuck by us”.

“I’d also like to thank the witnesses who came forward,” he said.

“And the media for putting it out there, for making it known what has happened.”

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Mar.18: 2021:

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