A witness has come forward after 10 years to claim a woman jailed over her husband’s murder is innocent – and says she knows who the real killer is.
Sue Neill-Fraser has spent nine years behind bars for murdering Bob Chappell on their yacht Four Winds in Tasmania on Australia Day in 2009.
The yacht was discovered half-submerged and Mr Chappell was missing, presumed dead.
Witness Meaghan Vass (pictured) has come forward after 10 years to claim a woman jailed over her partner’s murder is innocent – and says she knows who the real killer is
Sue Neill-Fraser (left) has spent nine years behind bars for murdering Bob Chappell (right) on their yacht Four Winds in Tasmania on Australia Day in 2009
Although his body was never found, Neill-Fraser was found guilty of attacking Mr Chappell and dumping his body in the River Derwent.
Former Victoria Police detective Colin McLaren has previously said he does not believe there was a legitimate investigation carried out.
Now, in a tell-all interview on Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, Meaghan Vass, 25, has claimed she was on board the yacht on the night Mr Chappell was killed.
A 15-year-old homeless girl at the time, Ms Vass said she had climbed on board the vessel with two men.
One of the men she was with, she said, had made a habit of stealing things from boats so he could sell them for money.
On this occasion, she said the person she was on board the boat with had been spotted by Mr Chappell.
‘They’ve had an argument, it’s escalated. He’s hit Bob, I don’t know what with,’ she said.
‘I saw a lot of blood but I cant give any more than that … I can’t remember.’
The 25-year-old said she had come forward to tell the truth because she was too frightened to do so in the past.
Susan Neill-Fraser with her partner Bob Chappell, daughters Sarah Bowles and Emma Fraser-Meeker
When asked by reporter Liam Bartlett about how angry the man she accuses of murdering Mr Chappell would be about her revelations, she replied tearfully ‘probably furious’.
Despite Ms Vass’ previous battles with drug addiction, leading Australian barrister Robert Richter QC said the fact the young woman had changed her story did not mean she was not a credible witness.
‘The fact she has changed her story from time to time does not make her an unreliable witness now because her account is the only one that fits the objective evidence and that’s the difference.’
If Ms Vass’ confession is correct, her testimony could be the final piece of evidence needed to get Neill-Fraser (pictured) out from behind bars
Ms Vass had initially denied she was even on board the yacht, even though DNA in the form of her vomit was found on the vessel.
If her confession is correct, her testimony could be the final piece of evidence needed to get Neill-Fraser out from behind bars.
Ms Vass has signed an affadavit saying what she saw that night, which could spark a legal move seeking to overturn Ms Neill-Fraser’s prison sentence.
The case has been labelled a ‘horrendous miscarriage of justice’ by some of the country’s top police and legal minds.
The mother and grandmother maintains her innocence as she serves a 23-year jail sentence in Tasmania. Right to left: Bob Chappell, Susan Neill-Fraser, Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles (nee Fraser-Meeker) and son-in-law Mark Bowles
Mr McLaren has joined forces with former Victoria Police detective Charlie Bezzina.
The pair have spent years analysing evidence, uncovering police mistakes and have discovered missing items they say are crucial.
The prosecution alleged Ms Neill-Fraser killed her husband with a wrench in the cabin then winched his body up to the deck and disposed of it.
They said she wanted out of the 18-year relationship and stood to gain financially.
Mr McLaren and Mr Bezzina claim that two other people tried to burgle the boat that night – Meaghan Vass and her boyfriend.
Ms Neill-Fraser and her family have adamantly denied she committed the crime.
Although she’s lost multiple attempts to overturn the conviction, both she and her family maintain her innocence.
Susan Neill Fraser (pictured, right) has always denied killing partner Bob Campbell (pictured, left)
The yacht (pictured) was discovered half-submerged the following morning and Mr Chappell was missing, presumed dead