Caroline Stuttle was killed after being thrown from a bridge in Bundaberg in 2002. Photo: Contributed
Caroline Stuttle was killed after being thrown from a bridge in Bundaberg in 2002. Photo: Contributed

Caroline Stuttle's murderer wins freedom

EIGHTEEN years after British backpacker Caroline Stuttle was thrown from Bundaberg's Burnett Traffic Bridge and killed, her murderer is set to walk free from jail.

In 2002, Caroline and a friend were travelling around Australia on a gap year, Bundaberg was her final destination.

Ian Douglas Previte, who was 32 at the time of sentencing, was found guilty of the murder in the Bundaberg Supreme Court in 2004.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 years.

Today, he is expected to be released on parole.

 

27 Sept 2004 Ian Douglas Previte being driven to Bundaberg Court to be tried for the murder of Caroline Stuttle. PicPeter/Wallis crime qld
27 Sept 2004 Ian Douglas Previte being driven to Bundaberg Court to be tried for the murder of Caroline Stuttle. PicPeter/Wallis crime qld

 

In a statement provided to the NewsMail Caroline's brother Richard Stuttle said the release had hit the family harder than they thought.

"The release of the man who stole my sister's life has hit our family harder than we thought, it's been nearly 18 years since we lost Caroline and life without her still hurts everyday," he said.

"We are heartbroken with Caroline's loss, no matter how much time has passed there is still a big hole in our hearts. Its devastating to think of all the things in life that were stolen from her. 

"We knew this day would come, his life sentence is over but ours will last forever.

"We strive to stay positive, reminding ourselves of Caroline's Rainbow Foundation and all the work we have done to support backpackers and young travellers, helping to keep them safe when travelling.

"This is Caroline's legacy and how she will always be with us."

 

Marjorie Marks, the mother of murdered British backpacker Caroline Stuttle, visits her daughter's memorial in Bundaberg Botanic Gardens with her husband David Marks in 2008. Picture: Paul Beutel
Marjorie Marks, the mother of murdered British backpacker Caroline Stuttle, visits her daughter's memorial in Bundaberg Botanic Gardens with her husband David Marks in 2008. Picture: Paul Beutel

 

Caroline's Rainbow Foundation was set up by Richard and his mother Marjorie Marks-Stuttle after Caroline's death.

The charity promotes travel safety awareness for anyone going abroad.

The charity's website has comprehensive safer travel information, safety tips and travel stories to highlight the benefits and pitfalls of world travel.

In 2012 for the charity's 10 year anniversary they launched the 'Safer Travel App' a comprehensive city specific safety guide covering over 350 world destinations.

Richard visits schools, colleges and universities around the UK talking to students about his travelling experiences, offering safety advice and awareness strategies to help them stay safe when entering potentially high risk situations.

Richard has recently finished writing a book about Caroline, which includes stories from his travels, founding the charity and attending the trial for his sister's death.

He also goes into detail about dealing with grief and coming to terms with life without his sister.

 

27 Sept 2004 Richard Stuttle visits the scene where his sister Caroline died under the Burnett Bridge in Bundaberg. PicPeter/Wallis
27 Sept 2004 Richard Stuttle visits the scene where his sister Caroline died under the Burnett Bridge in Bundaberg. PicPeter/Wallis

 

There are contributions from Caroline's mother and father as well as some of her close friends and people who worked on Caroline's murder investigation.

He is now working with Pegasus Publishers, although no release date has been set Richard

is hoping the book will be released towards the end of this year.

Richard hopes to return to Australia in the future and visit Bundaberg again.

"I have visited Bundaberg a number of times, some visits have been incredibly difficult," he said.

"I have always felt moved by the place and people in a positive way.

"Everyone has always been so kind and generous. A lovely memory I have is visiting the Botanic Gardens with my father and seeing the tree planted for Caroline.

"I have seen photographs of the rainbow mosaic that was created in 2010 and would like one day to see it in person."



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