On the run, but fate catches up



THE law has finally caught up with convicted paedophile Alan Rees Jones in a most extraordinary twist to a murder investigation.

Jones, 51, who used to live in the Coffs Harbour area, has been on the run for two years.

But on Saturday he was arrested in Bundaberg along with Warren Robert Holman, 51, who is accused of the murder of Nigel Pettet at a remote north-west NSW property on Wednesday last week.

Jones and Holman were allegedly in Mr Pettet's four-wheel-drive and came to police attention during a routine breath-testing operation.

Police allege a rifle was seized from the blood-stained vehicle, and both men were extradited to NSW on Tuesday.

A police document tendered to Sydney's Central Local Court on Wednesday said Holman, an itinerant farmhand, shot Mr Pettet in the back then watched as the wounded 31-year-old overseer tried to drive away from the homestead on Ottley Station, near Warialda, 80km south of the Queensland border .

But the four-wheel drive left the track and stopped in a paddock after travelling just 200 metres, the court was told.

Holman, from the Queensland border town of Texas, almost directly north of Ottley Station, dragged Mr Pettet from the vehicle and drove towards his home state, the court was told.

Mr Pettet's body was found by police after the property's owner Steven Hamilton became concerned for his manager when he was unable to contact him.

The police document said Mr Pettet had told Holman on August 12 that he could continue camping at a remote cottage on the property even though the work he had been contracted to do was finished.

The next day, Mr Hamilton told Holman there would be more work for him in a few weeks, but he would have to leave the property in the meantime because Mr Pettet would be away.

Holman had told Mr Pettet and Mr Hamilton that he did not have a car and had hitchhiked to Ottley Station, the police document said.

The court was told Mr Pettet died of a gunshot wound to the back on August 17 after he suspected Holman had been in the homestead and tampered with some vehicles on the property earlier that day.

Police allege Holman was hiding outside the homestead on August 17 and shot Mr Pettet as he set out to confront Holman.

A two-state manhunt was launched for Holman and the vehicle following the discovery of Mr Pettet's body.

Some time after the murder, Holman picked up Jones, who was living at a Texas caravan park.

Jones had been convicted in 2002 of four counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child.

NSW authorities issued warrants for his arrest in 2003 after he failed to appear in court to answer alleged breaches of an eight-month good behaviour bond by failing to seek proper psychological treatment for his sexual behaviour.

On Wednesday, magistrate Allan Moore refused Holman bail and remanded him into custody to reappear in Central Local Court on October 25. He is charged with murder and the theft of Mr Pettet's vehicle.

Mr Moore also refused Jones bail and remanded him in custody to reappear in Coffs Harbour Local Court to answer his warrants on Monday. ? AAP



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