‘Doting father’ murdered by wife’s lover,police allege

A family man described as a “doting father” was found dead in the Nepean River,his body weighed down with rocks,allegedly murdered at the hands of a man pursuing a relationship with his wife.

Jason Palmer was allegedly murdered in Lakemba in 2004.

Jason Palmer was allegedly murdered in Lakemba in 2004.NSW Police

Now 20 years after Jason Palmer was found dead,police believe they have finally found the man who allegedly stabbed him to death in a Sydney unit in 2004.

Police will allege in court that Gofal Baziad was having an affair with Palmer’s wife Renny Palmer,and murdered the man to pursue a relationship with the woman he was “obsessed” with.

The pair would continue a relationship for some time after the alleged murder,travelling to Indonesia together as Palmer’s death remained unsolved.

Baziad and Renny Palmer parted ways in the years after the alleged murder,with him remaining in Indonesia where he was living rough,and her moving to Queensland with her young daughter.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Renny Palmer.

The two-decade-long mystery began when Palmer’s wife reported him missing on February 8,2004 after he was last seen leaving her home in Belfield a few days earlier.

According to aSydney Morning Heraldreport at the time,the pair had a loving relationship despite at one time separating. They had a daughter,who was six years old at the time of his death.

Three weeks after Palmer was reported missing a group of children playing on the banks of the Nepean River at Menangle made the awful discovery of his body,submerged in the water.

Palmer,34,had a few minor encounters with police in his short life,but the motivation for his alleged murder had remained a mystery.

A 52-year-old man was charged with murder.

A 52-year-old man was charged with murder.NSW Police

Baziad,52,had travelled between Queensland and Indonesia in the years after the alleged murder making it difficult for police to nail him down,until just a few weeks ago when he travelled to Ingleburn in Sydney to find work as a labourer.

He was arrested during a vehicle stop on Monday,when detectives delivered the news that he had finally been arrested for the murder of Jason Palmer.

“He’d probably been holding that dark secret for a long time and all of a sudden the past has caught up with him. Not only caught up with him,it’s come back to haunt him,” homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty said of the allegations.

He faced Campbelltown Local Court on Tuesday where he did not apply for bail.

He will return to the same court in August.

“This 52-year-old man was known to Jason Palmer and had been in a relationship with Mr Palmer’s wife at the time and the motive was obviously to continue on a relationship with that person. We will allege in court that he was very jealous of her and very possessive and obsessed with her,” Doherty said.

He’d probably been holding that dark secret for a long time and all of a sudden the past has caught up with him.

Daniel Doherty,NSW Police

“Mr Palmer had been stabbed numerous times and there was a lot of passion in relation to this murder,so that’s our motive that we will produce in court … we’ve compiled a very strong circumstantial case over the years.”

Police will rely on forensic evidence gathered at the time of the alleged murder and during the reinvestigation,interviews with family and witnesses and telecommunications messages.

Palmer worked with his wife at a traffic survey company and made a bit of extra cash delivering phone books before he died. He was described by police at the time of his death as being a devoted father.

Detectives investigated the alleged murder and pursued multiple inquiries at the time,police said,but did not charge anyone with the crime.

A coronial inquest in 2007 determined Palmer had been stabbed at a unit on Barremma Road,Lakemba,where police say Baziad lived,before his body was moved to the Nepean River.

Jason Palmer’s body was found in the Nepean River at Menangle.

Jason Palmer’s body was found in the Nepean River at Menangle.Google

Detectives believe there is at least one more person in the community that had a hand in Palmer’s murder. Doherty said it would have taken another person to aid in not only the murder,but the disposing of the body

Doherty praised the work of investigators who forensically reexamined the case,allowing for the pursuing of murder charges two decades after the murder.

“It’s like finding a key to a door and going into a room and finding some further evidence,then finding another key to another door … the investigators should be commended for their tenacious investigation,” he said.

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Jessica McSweeney is a breaking news reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald

Sally Rawsthorne is a crime reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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