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Shandee's Story

English, Investigative journalism, 1 season, 41 episodes, 1 day, 22 hours, 20 minutes
About
Shandee Blackburn was brutally murdered as she walked home from work - but this cold-case can still be solved. Gold Walkley-winning journalist Hedley Thomas - who created The Teacher’s Pet and The Night Driver - goes deep to find out who killed Shandee, and why. Episodes of the podcast first, plus exclusive stories, videos, pictures and extraordinary evidence are available with a subscription through The Australian's app, or at shandee.com.au
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From The Front: Hedley Thomas’ new cold case podcast, 'Bronwyn'

Where is Bronwyn Winfield? The devoted mum has been missing since 1993 – and the man behind The Teacher’s Pet is on the case.   Go to theaustralian.com.au/bronwyn to listen. Plus, you can read more about this case and see exclusive stories, maps, timelines, graphics, video and more. This episode of The Front is presented by Claire Harvey, produced by Kristen Amiet and edited by Josh Burton. The multimedia editor is Lia Tsamoglou and original music is composed by Jasper Leak.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
5/24/202420 minutes, 31 seconds
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Hear Live Lehrmann trial updates

We're covering another huge trial every day on The Australian's daily news podcast The Front. Find out more about The Front podcast here. You can read about this story and more on The Australian's website or on The Australian’s app. This episode of The Front is presented by Claire Harvey, produced by Kristen Amiet, and edited by Lia Tsamoglou. Original music is composed by Jasper Leak.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/19/202324 minutes, 56 seconds
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Shandee’s Legacy Episode 14: Closing Ranks

There was no fanfare when Commissioner Annabelle Bennett SC handed down her findings from the Project 13 inquiry. Only disappointment that the inquiry failed to hold anyone responsible for the biggest disaster in the lab’s history.  In this episode of Shandee’s Legacy, Dr Kirsty Wright joins Hedley Thomas, Claire Harvey, and David Murray to dissect and comment on the findings from this rare second inquiry, the future of a lab at the heart of the criminal justice system, and the case which started all of this: the slaying of Shandee Blackburn in 2013. To read The Australian's reporting and analysis of the inquiry, search Shandee's Story or visit shandee.com.au. For daily updates, subscribe to The Front in your podcast app. If you need support, Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/24/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 37 seconds
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Shandee’s Legacy Episode 13: Science Speak

Public hearings in a second inquiry into the lab and the disastrous Project 13 have concluded. Closing submissions have been delivered. And still questions are left unanswered. Why was the automated process unleashed on precious crime-scene samples? Who wrote the mysterious and damning Project 13 report? And why didn’t the lab’s new boss flag it in the first inquiry? In this episode, Hedley Thomas, David Murray, and Matthew Condon dissect a baffling week in Brisbane’s Magistrates Court – and what it all means for the investigation into the murder of Shandee Blackburn. To read The Australian's reporting and analysis of the inquiry, search Shandee's Story or visit shandee.com.au. For daily updates, subscribe to The Front in your podcast app.If you need support, Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/11/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 52 seconds
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Shandee’s Legacy Episode 12: History Repeating

Public hearings for a rare second inquiry into catastrophic failings at Queensland’s besieged forensics lab are about to get underway in Brisbane.  In this episode of Shandee’s Legacy, Hedley Thomas, David Murray, Claire Harvey, and Matthew Condon drill down into the questions yet to be answered about Project 13: who knew what and when, and why didn’t the lab’s new boss raise it at the first inquiry?  We also get to know the new legal team brought in to lead the new inquiry. To read The Australian's reporting and analysis of the inquiry, search Shandee's Story or visit shandee.com.au. For daily updates, subscribe to The Front in your podcast app. If you need support, Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/27/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 7 seconds
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From The Front: Queensland's DNA lab is back under the microscope

The Queensland government will reopen an inquiry into its troubled DNA lab after new evidence of flawed automated testing processes emerged. Find out more about The Front podcast here and subscribe in your podcast app. You can read about this story and more on The Australian's website or on The Australian’s app.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/5/202313 minutes, 49 seconds
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Shandee’s Legacy Episode 11: What Linzi Left Out

A cloud has been cast over the new chief of the lab following revelations that a DNA extraction method may have failed across thousands of samples in criminal cases for nine years. Professor Linzi Wilson-Wilde reviewed the automated method for retired judge Walter Sofronoff’s inquiry into the lab in 2022, but in her subsequent report did not mention information that she came across showing it was having serious problems recovering DNA. In this episode, Professor Wilson-Wilde launches a staunch defence of her report for the inquiry, saying she was engaged to examine a separate issue of the method contaminating crime scene samples soon after its introduction in 2007. To read The Australian's reporting and analysis of the trial and verdict, search Shandee's Story or visit shandee.com.au. If you need support, Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
9/15/20231 hour, 26 minutes, 41 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 10: Project 13

Dr Kirsty Wright is the remarkable scientist who exposed the worst forensics disaster in Australia’s history, and now she’s identified the ‘smoking gun’ in the Queensland DNA lab disaster. It’s a catastrophe called ‘Project 13’ which has been hiding in plain view -- but Dr Wright is certain that it was deceptive and fraudulent, and it explains why Shandee’s case in 2013 and thousands of others since 2007 have failed. For dedicated followers of this series, the Project 13 report can be found on the inquiry’s website under module four. It’s document number 129.95, and you can compare for yourself the opening paragraph against the figures 9 to 12. To read The Australian's reporting and analysis of the trial and verdict, search Shandee's Story or visit shandee.com.au. If you need support, Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
9/8/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 30 seconds
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It's back: The Teacher's Pet returns for Australian listeners

The Australian's global smash-hit podcast Teacher's Pet returns for Australian audiences on July 1. You can find it wherever you got this podcast. Just search for "The Teacher's Pet". See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
6/30/202339 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 9: Consequences

Will anyone face criminal charges for the disaster at the laboratory? We examine more of Walter Sofronoff’s findings about how this catastrophe unfolded, delve deeper into Cathie Allen’s conduct, and meet a lady who -- when the laboratory couldn’t make sense of DNA results -- was told her own son must have been switched at birth. The Queensland Government moves swiftly to respond to the report, and we cast forward to the laboratory’s future. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/17/20221 hour, 55 minutes, 40 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 8: Astounded

At last, Commissioner Walter Sofronoff hands down his 500-plus-page report -- and it is a sweeping denunciation of the laboratory’s failings, and of the conduct of one person in particular: Cathie Allen. He finds the managing scientist lied: to police, to her staff, to ministers and to the Commissioner himself, under oath during the inquiry. Sofronoff exposes a litany of deceit and trickery, compounded by ineptitude and weakness -- but he heralds the bravery of those who stood up, hailing the courage of Dr Kirsty Wright. We hear reactions from Dr Wright and Vicki Blackburn - and we learn some news about John Peros. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/16/20221 hour, 27 minutes, 28 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 7: Freedom Day

It’s the final week of public hearings in the explosive inquiry into a broken DNA lab and we’re all here because of one person -- Shandee Blackburn. The vicious and unprovoked murder of the defenceless 23-year-old walking home from work is front-and-centre as three independent experts give their verdict on the lab’s failure to find any forensic trace of her killer. It’s been a long and, at times, lonely road for Australia’s Dr Kirsty Wright, but now she gets her day in court alongside the world’s most renowned forensic biologist, Dr Bruce Budowle, and New Zealand’s Johanna Veth, revealing shocking new findings.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/25/20221 hour, 39 minutes, 33 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 6: Disney Villain

In the harsh spotlight of the inquiry, lab boss Cathie Allen admits to absolutely nothing, tearfully insisting she always acted with the best intentions and has been terribly misunderstood. In her account, white-anting staff were to blame for the toxic culture at the lab, management offered no support, funding was shrinking and the pressure was relentless. We explore her life outside the lab, with some surprising revelations, and examine her claim to have been unfairly portrayed as a ‘Disney villain’.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/4/20221 hour, 45 minutes, 13 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 5: Blowtorch

The big guns from the DNA lab - Lara Keller, Justin Howes and Cathie Allen - are rolled into the formal inquiry and subjected to withering questioning by a lawyer on top of his game over alleged cover-up, lies to police, and scientific fraud. The three insist they've been honest at all times, just guilty of misunderstanding the details or being overwhelmed by work and led into human error. The inquiry's lead lawyer Michael Hodge was relentless as he applied a blowtorch to a very broken lab affecting thousands of victims of crime.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/28/20221 hour, 38 minutes, 26 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 4: Gaslit

Four weeks in, one question lingers in the Walter Sofronoff-led Commission of Inquiry into Queensland's state-run forensics lab: who knew what and when? In this week's episode, Hedley Thomas, Claire Harvey, Matthew Condon, and David Murray further unpack the toxic treatment of scientists who attempted to raise the alarm about inadequate DNA profiling processes and questionable management practices. We look closely at the behaviour of figures who've loomed large but have yet to enter the witness box: Lara Keller, Cathie Allen, and Justin Howes.  Matt Condon also delves into the fascinating history of the facility and the unique way death is dealt with in Queensland. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/21/20221 hour, 37 minutes
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 3: Ingrid's Epic Spray

Humiliated. Belittled. Embarrassed. Toxic behaviour by the lab's managers leads to an epic spray from a reporting scientist in this week's episode. Ingrid Moeller used her time in the witness box to unleash on less-than-stellar management of the state-run lab at the centre of the Commission of Inquiry.  Plus, we hear from her colleagues, who tried time and again to raise the alarm about toxic culture and controversial lab practices.  We also grapple with the magnitude of the lab's extraordinary backflips on statements provided to Queensland Police, with potentially thousands of cases thrown into doubt as a result. Join The Australian’s National Chief Correspondent, Hedley Thomas, and his colleagues Claire Harvey, David Murray, and Matthew Condon, as they discuss the third week of the Sofronoff inquiry.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/14/20221 hour, 43 minutes, 29 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 2: Evidence Destruction

We reveal deep concerns that the lab managers put a new, untried and ill-conceived testing system in place immediately after the public inquiry was called. Was it a deliberate strategy of sabotage to try to cover up the mistakes of the past? Or merely accidental - the product of poor judgment? The inquiry is focusing long and hard on this as Dr Kirsty Wright helps identify the errors and potential destruction of evidence. The toxic culture inside the lab are on display along with three of the fascinating legal characters in the inquiry. Join The Australian’s chief national correspondent, Hedley Thomas, and his colleagues Claire Harvey, David Murray and Matthew Condon, as they discuss the second week of the Sofronoff inquiry.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/7/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 8 seconds
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Shandee's Legacy Episode 1: Blame Game

Following the shocking revelations of bungling, secrecy and misconduct within Queensland’s DNA lab exposed in journalist Hedley Thomas’ podcast Shandee’s Story, a major royal commission-style inquiry into the fiasco gets underway in a Brisbane court, headed by retired judge Walter Sofronoff KC. The hearings are immediately rocked by allegations of disharmony and distrust amongst laboratory staff, sound scientific advice being ignored by senior bureaucrats, and warnings that the lab’s prohibitively high DNA testing thresholds were unsafe also being dismissed. Senior police take the stand at the inquiry, saying they went along with the DNA lab’s new testing model because they trusted Queensland Health experts, only to become suspicious, then alarmed – courtesy of DNA expert Kirsty Wright’s damning assessment of the lab’s failings in Shandee’s Story – that offenders may have literally gotten away with murder for years. But DNA lab staff say the police signed off on the controversial testing decision and fully understood its implications. By the end of the inquiry’s first week it’s already clear that Queensland is in the midst of the greatest health and criminal justice crisis in its history. Join The Australian’s chief national correspondent, Hedley Thomas, and his colleagues Claire Harvey, David Murray and Matthew Condon, in a comprehensive analysis of the opening week of the Sofronoff inquiry.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
9/30/20221 hour, 29 minutes, 35 seconds
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Introducing Shandee's Legacy

Hedley Thomas, Claire Harvey, David Murray, and Matthew Condon return to cover hearings in a major public inquiry into Queensland's state-run DNA lab.  A new episode will be published at the end of every week, for the duration of the inquiry. Search for Shandee's Story in your podcast app, and press follow or subscribe to be notified when new episodes are released. You can read The Australian's ongoing coverage of the inquiry at theaustralian.com.au. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
9/23/20221 minute, 12 seconds
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Episode 20 - Shoot The Messengers

DNA scientist Dr Kirsty Wright is shown how public servants and DNA laboratory managers behind closed doors have been minimising the serious concerns raised in the podcast series. A raft of internal documents responding to Kirsty's revelations become available and these show the immediate refusal of the managers of the laboratory to start a proper audit or acknowledge anything has gone awry. Many documents are heavily redacted but are likely to be flushed out as the new Commission of Inquiry gathers momentum. Kirsty's other efforts to ensure scrutiny of the lab are revealed along with interviews of key witnesses who hadn't spoken to the podcast before. The episode is expected to be the last in Season 1 of Shandee's Story. A new season, Shandee's Legacy, is likely to start during the public inquiry run by retired Supreme Court Justice Walter Sofronoff QC. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
6/16/202253 minutes, 33 seconds
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Episode 19 - Shandee's Legacy

Finally, seven months after the first disclosures in episode 7 of the podcast by Dr Kirsty Wright about grave concerns over the testing of DNA in Shandee's case and in hundreds of others, a remarkable breakthrough. The Premier of Queensland announces a far-reaching public inquiry to be led by one of Queensland's most respected legal figures and he'll be armed with vast powers and a team of lawyers and investigators to get to the truth in the DNA laboratory. Vicki and Shannah Blackburn were briefed by the premier and the health minister who said they wanted to ensure public confidence in the criminal justice system. A public inquiry became unavoidable after police went public with alarming details about what they were discovering in the lab's handling of evidence and DNA in hundreds of sexual assault cases, triggering a review of rapes going back four years. Major changes are tipped to come from the inquiry which is forecast to run for six months. Vicki says Shandee would be exclaiming 'yes!' Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
6/8/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 23 seconds
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Introducing - The Teacher's Trial

From Hedley Thomas and the journalists at The Australian comes The Teacher's Trial. A new episode will be published every Friday for the duration of the trial of Chris Dawson, who is accused of the murder of his wife Lynette Dawson. Search for The Teacher's Trial wherever you listen to podcasts, or read The Australian's ongoing coverage of the trial here.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
5/13/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 40 seconds
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Episode 18 - Fair Go

Will Shandee Blackburn ever get justice? Will systemic flaws in Queensland’s forensic lab be independently investigated by the authorities? In this episode of the podcast series – which is pausing until new leads arise – Dr Kirsty Wright reveals the letter she confidentially wrote to Queensland’s corruption-fighting agency about the broken lab and her concerns that its problems are more serious than they first appeared. John and Shandee's former friend Jarrod Hau describes as untrue a claim John made to detectives and friends after the murder. Police investigate whether a taxi driver picked up John when he had a bandaged right hand in the days after Shandee’s murder. Vicki and Shannah’s tireless search for justice continues and more developments will come as DNA in Shandee’s case and other leads are reinvestigated by the coroner. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
3/24/20221 hour, 19 minutes, 23 seconds
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Episode 17 – Through The Cracks

Evidence that appears to have fallen through the cracks in Shandee’s case is revealed as John Peros’s flat – and its hiding places – gets a fresh examination in light of new information from a listener. Retired homicide detective Scott Furlong recalls his visit to the flat the day after the murder as part of the investigation, of seeing apparent renovation works, and then noting a year later the elaborate concealment spaces which had been created by John. The smell of paint or bleach the day after the murder weighs heavily for those who heard about it. A domestic violence expert examines John and Shandee’s abusive relationship. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
3/17/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 42 seconds
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Episode 16 - Running

The footsteps of a running man captured in CCTV footage seconds before and after Shandee’s slaying are re-enacted to test a theory that the running man didn’t have enough time to be her killer. Criminal lawyer Kristy Bell explains the legal principle of double jeopardy and the evidence required to recharge an offender for the same crime under Queensland law. In 2019 the inquest hears detailed police evidence about the CCTV compilation of a suspect's vehicle. John Peros enters the witness box after being compelled to give evidence and reports suffering from memory problems that go back years. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
3/9/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 59 seconds
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Episode 15 - Spin Cycles

Queensland’s government-run forensics lab has been using a testing threshold that is preventing it from detecting DNA in many samples, says Dr Kirsty Wright, with potentially catastrophic consequences for victims of violent crime. A t-shirt described as 'blood-soaked' is found at a Mackay business near the murder scene – but the lab reports “No DNA detected”. A truck driver who is sure he saw Shandee’s handbag at a Mackay rubbish dump just days after the murder says his information wasn't followed up by detectives for two months. In 2019 the inquest examines new persons of interest.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
3/2/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 21 seconds
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Episode 14 - Renewed Hope

Forensic biologist Dr Kirsty Wright says she’s found irrefutable evidence that the forensics train wreck in Shandee’s case is not a one-off incident – and reveals the shocking results that have led her to believe many victims of rape and serious sexual assault have been denied a fair shot at justice. In 2017, a recently acquitted John Peros insists on the return of his Toyota Hilux – but coroner David O’Connell seizes it under his coronial powers and scours the vehicle for clues. The vehicle and its unique features are examined by a retired photogrammetrist. And as the ninth anniversary of Shandee’s murder passes, coroner O’Connell formally reopens the coronial investigation into Shandee’s death, giving the Blackburn family renewed hope for justice. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
2/23/20221 hour, 20 minutes, 35 seconds
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Episode 13 - Unheard Evidence

Shandee’s family reflect on a justice system they say failed Shandee and share who they believe her real killer is – and why he escaped justice. Unheard evidence is examined. More DNA problems and omissions are discovered by Dr Kirsty Wright who is joined by another forensic scientist in expressing serious concerns about the lab. A new person of interest comes into view.  Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
1/9/20221 hour, 22 minutes, 8 seconds
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Episode 12 - Herring and Shark

The prosecutor Josh Phillips argues CCTV footage proves John is a killer and William Daniel a red herring, while Craig Eberhardt responds with a large display photo of a great white shark - and tells jurors it's the real killer, William Daniel. Text messages between John and Shandee are read to the jury – but many depicting John's menacing behaviour and his anger are not provided. The sample puts Shandee in a poor light. Justice Jim Henry tells the jurors he's making a very rare decision to order Levii Blackman go into the witness box, after the prosecution refuses to call the self confessed liar.  Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
1/3/20221 hour, 27 minutes
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Episode 11 - Lollies

John’s defence lawyer Craig Eberhardt smashes the credibility of three key Australia Day witnesses as they try to deny obvious references to illicit drug use in text messages about “lollies”. Their evidence of hearing John say hatefully that Shandee should be stabbed is undermined. Craig highlights a tenuous purported DNA 'link' between William Daniel and the murder - and when a forensic scientist says it is statistically "meaningless", the judge tells the jury to ignore his comment. Cyclone Debbie looms and tensions rise as William Daniel's lengthy criminal history is read to the jury, sparking fiery scenes. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
1/2/20221 hour, 20 minutes, 52 seconds
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Episode 10 - Blood

John Peros’s murder trial begins, and John's criminal defence lawyers fight to have evidence they believe is unfair to their client excluded. Evidence police labelled as ‘blood’ in John’s Toyota Hilux is ruled inadmissible by the trial judge because the results of the presumptive Luminol testing were not conclusive. The excluded ‘blood’ samples could still contain crucial DNA evidence, says forensic biologist Dr Kirsty Wright. And, just before this episode's release, the government announces in Parliament it will ask for the inquest into Shandee's death to be reopened after Dr Wright's revelations on Shandee's Story. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/26/20211 hour, 28 minutes, 37 seconds
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Episode 9 - Fast Hands

Detectives face tough questions from John Peros’s legal team at a committal hearing prior to his murder trial. William Daniel and Levii Blackman are witnesses – and Levii denies William told him “I did it”. Frustrated detectives sought answers for the lack of forensic evidence. The lab’s suggestion bacteria may have interfered with DNA testing is “ludicrous”, says forensic scientist Dr Kirsty Wright. Problems with the lab date back years, and Dr Wright believes major changes to software and equipment just weeks before the murder are at the heart of the faults. Vicki and Shannah Blackburn stand with Dr Wright just before the release of this episode, calling for a public inquiry and retesting by another lab of all forensic samples in Shandee’s case as a matter of urgency. A cane farmer finds a blood-stained knife he suspects is linked to the murder, but the lab finds no DNA. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/21/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 18 seconds
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Episode 8 - Charge

John Peros is taken to a windowless room in Brisbane’s police headquarters in early September 2014. Detectives want him to see CCTV footage from the night of the murder of a car remarkably similar to his ute driving around Mackay, and vision of a running man, and to confess to a murder. John refuses to look at the screen, and is charged with Shandee’s murder. Respected forensic scientist Dr Kirsty Wright finds more major and serious problems in the lab - including the failure to get DNA from a sample from Shandee’s forearm that would have at least contained many hundreds of her own skin cells. She describes the situation as “diabolical”, and warns the lab’s results in Shandee’s case and in unknown others cannot be trusted. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/21/20211 hour, 2 minutes, 47 seconds
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Episode 7 - Bad Science

Major forensics failures in a government-run laboratory seriously compromised the police investigation into Shandee’s murder, one of Australia’s most respected DNA experts finds. After months examining the case for Shandee’s Story, forensic biologist Dr Kirsty Wright is convinced critical problems thwarted the lab’s ability to generate DNA profiles from crime scenes - potentially allowing a killer to get away with murder. Dr Wright finds the lab couldn’t find DNA in a sample of blood, or trace DNA from John Peros in his own car. She says all the results in Shandee’s case need to be retested by an independent laboratory, and that doing so could uncover the killer’s DNA. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/19/20211 hour, 7 minutes, 27 seconds
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Episode 6 - Losing It

An increasingly paranoid John Peros cuts ties with former friends and records his conversations – a close friend tells police that John is “losing it” under the pressure of the intensifying investigation. John is served with a forensic procedure order and told he must comply. At the police station John is friendly with detectives who take his DNA samples and fingerprints. They photograph and video him. Detectives go to Peros’s flat with an order to revoke his weapons licence and seize his Glock pistol - there’s a brief standoff before John reveals an intricate security system leading to a hidden safe key. Pressure on John mounts as detectives release CCTV images of a vehicle of interest to the media. Some people in Mackay observe that the vehicle looks very similar to John’s. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/12/202155 minutes, 55 seconds
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Episode 5 - Willy D

A violent self-styled gangster who carries knives, deals and uses illegal drugs, and attacks men and women in the sugar and mining town looms into serious view for homicide cops. William Daniel is a young man with a long criminal record who calls himself ‘The Black Prince’ and ‘Willy D’ and has become a public menace in Mackay’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. He denies involvement in Shandee’s murder - but his friend Levii Blackman discloses that William said he’d done it. Levii later said it was probably a joke while police suspected it was a ‘throwaway line’ by a show-off - but his use of knives and other factors make him a major target in a police investigation still locked on John Peros. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12/5/20211 hour, 1 minute, 25 seconds
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Episode 4 - Stealth Mode

John Peros tells a friend he has entered “stealth mode”, purchasing a motor scooter, deleting social media and using a new phone as police obtain a warrant to search his property. Friends who socialised with John on Australia Day 2013 give police statements, alleging that John made hateful comments about his former girlfriend on that day, two weeks before Shandee was murdered. A vitriolic document John sent to Shandee is analysed by a forensic linguistic expert, and a former detective speaks about his role in the murder investigation from his home outside Brisbane. Many people who remember John say he is a great bloke. A talented fighter who is calm and measured, and a fiercely loyal friend.  Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/28/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 57 seconds
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Episode 3 - Toxic Love

Detectives forensically examining Shandee’s iPhone uncover thousands of text messages and evidence of fierce rows between John Peros and Shandee in the year before she died. Unresolved trust issues plague John and Shandee’s toxic love as Shandee begs John to stop telling her to kill herself while John demands to be left alone. John visits mental health professionals after breaking up with Shandee and talks of a difficult childhood. Shandee’s friends on the Gold Coast say they heard fierce and abusive rows between John and Shandee sent over a voice-messaging app called HeyTell. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/21/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 1 second
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Episode 2 - Sweating Bullets

Police detectives talk to Shandee’s former boyfriend John Peros who discloses his trust issues, their arguments, problems in the bedroom and break-up. John willingly goes to the police station to make a statement but he declines to give a sample of his DNA. One of the detectives describes John as very nervous - he tells another cop in a recorded chat at the station that John is ‘sweating bullets’. Jarrod Hau discloses how he warned Shandee and John when they got together to keep their relationship casual. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/14/20211 hour, 7 minutes, 47 seconds
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Episode 1 - Sugar Town

Shandee Blackburn is a popular, outgoing young woman who lives with her mother Vicki in a Queensland town renowned for its sugar, Mackay. Shandee walks home at night from her coffee shop job sometimes and she’s filmed by CCTV cameras - along with her killer who runs to launch a frenzied and savage knife attack. Shandee’s murder stuns the community and triggers ongoing trauma and investigations into her relationships including with a former boyfriend. Subscribers to The Australian have exclusive first access to episodes of Shandee's Story via The Australian app. Subscribe to The Australian here.You can download on The Australian's app in Apple's store here. Also get it on Google Play here. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11/7/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 33 seconds
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Coming soon

Shandee Blackburn was brutally murdered as she walked home from work - but this cold-case can still be solved. Gold Walkley-winning journalist Hedley Thomas - who created The Teacher’s Pet and The Night Driver - goes deep to find out who killed Shandee, and why. To contact Hedley Thomas anonymously with any information on Shandee's Story email here - [email protected] omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
10/7/20211 minute, 29 seconds