Police take Brock Wall into custody pic: ABC Gold Coast Tom Forbes
Police take Brock Wall into custody pic: ABC Gold Coast Tom Forbes

Power ‘obsessed’ manl took time killing ex-partner

THE horrific scene that confronted detectives who worked the killings of Fabiana Palhares and her unborn child is not one they will forget.

This week Brock Wall was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the brutal tomahawk slaying of Ms Palhares in February 2015. So shocking was his crime, Justice Ann Lyons described it as "the stuff of nightmares."

Detective Inspector Marc Hogan told the Gold Coast Bulletin the killing was a horrific and prolonged attack on a pregnant woman, by a man obsessed with power and control.

Months before her murder Wall had attacked Ms Palhares on Christmas Day, 2014. He kicked her and spat on her. Trying to protect her unborn child, she hid under a coffee table. She ended the relationship following the assault.

Domestic Violence Orders (DVO) were put in place, but Wall would not stay away.

Pregnant Gold Coast woman Fabiana Palhares died from head injuries inflicted by former partner Brock Wall.
Pregnant Gold Coast woman Fabiana Palhares died from head injuries inflicted by former partner Brock Wall.

Days before he killed his ex-partner and the mother of his unborn child, Wall told a co-worker, "I am going to f---ing kill her. I might punch her in the guts first."

Five days later on February 2, 2015, Wall was issued with another variation on his DVO about 12.30pm.

Hours later Ms Palhares was dead, at the age of just 34, an expectant mother. The brutality of her murder will stay with the detectives. Wall had jumped on her stomach so hard the soles of his shoes were identifiable as bruises on her skin. He hit her with the tomahawk he found in her garage with such force her scalp exploded.

It took police just 17 minutes to arrive. They found Ms Palhares with a faint pulse. She was rushed to hospital, but could not be saved.

Wall was found a few streets over, covered in blood. He told police: "I have done something bad."

Detectives seize items from the Surfers Paradise unit of murder accused Brock Wall. Pic: Jack Houghton
Detectives seize items from the Surfers Paradise unit of murder accused Brock Wall. Pic: Jack Houghton


A medical examination of Ms Palhares' body found she had fractured ribs, a split jaw and boot marks on her stomach.

"I remember going there and turning up to the place and you realise this was all done with intent," Insp Hogan said.

"It didn't take long to realise it was something that he obviously intended to do.

"He showed absolutely no remorse of any kind in terms of taking the life of the child as well. "It was pretty clear that the assault took place in spurts, so to speak, where you have a break in the violence and then they go back to it. You start questioning how that sort of thing can happen.

"I would say it was a prolonged, very brutal attack, where an implement was used.

"The assault wasn't over in seconds. When you see it you can only imagine what would have been going on during the event and how much the victim would have suffered."

Wall was obsessed with power and control, he said.

"What we know now about that person was that he was all about power and control.

"The events leading up on that day, to what happened in that house, were events that we would now call, perhaps triggers, in terms of that person and his beliefs and how he thought.

"She was in a protective frame of mind and that was enough, for whatever reason, to trigger him on that day to attack the way that he did."

The brother of Fabiana Palhares, Raphael Palhares, is seen leaving the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Monday, August 6, 2018. Brock Wall has been handed two life sentences for the murder of Brazilian national Fabiana Palhares and her unborn child on the Gold Coast in 2015. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
The brother of Fabiana Palhares, Raphael Palhares, is seen leaving the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Monday, August 6, 2018. Brock Wall has been handed two life sentences for the murder of Brazilian national Fabiana Palhares and her unborn child on the Gold Coast in 2015. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Insp Hogan said police had learnt lessons from the murder of Ms Palhares and others - like that of Tara Brown - on the Gold Coast.

"In terms of impact these sorts of offences are horrific for the family, friends and all the people close to them," he said. "It has a big impact socially as well and this case in particular did because of the fact that she was pregnant at the time.

"It later had a big impact in terms of high end domestic violence matters. When we look back at those things now, the way that we approach domestic and family violence is a lot different and much work goes into identifying this level of offender and preventing them from carrying out these sorts of acts."

Pregnant Gold Coast woman Fabiana Palhares died from head injuries inflicted by former partner Brock Wall.
Pregnant Gold Coast woman Fabiana Palhares died from head injuries inflicted by former partner Brock Wall.

He said police have worked hard to look at high end offenders and their triggers, before it comes to murder.

"This person and this sort of crime, is, in terms of high end offending, what we are trying to have vision over and prevent," he said.

"We looked at this matter, not in any real special way, but having been involved in it, is enough to understand a bit better about the type of person he was and how he lived. He had history that wasn't in Queensland, now we can see those sorts of things a lot better through national programs.

"A lot changed around recognising indicators for offenders like this and taking action so we can protect people.

Detectives seize items from the Surfers Paradise unit of murder accused Brock Wall. Pic: Jack Houghton
Detectives seize items from the Surfers Paradise unit of murder accused Brock Wall. Pic: Jack Houghton

"Any of these high end domestic violence offenders are fixated with power and control. A lot of them are very good image managers, fixated on portraying something that they're not. If they are jilted in anyway they feel like they should be compensated in some way and how that looks can vary.

"We look at things now, in what we term as overinvestment, if someone for example is doing things like stalking, has relocated from one area to here that's a classic isolation behaviour. "We look for all those things now to identify people like Brock Wall."

Insp Hogan said while attending jobs like these were hard for detectives, the service did well to support officers through any issues they have when going through a case similar to the investigation into Brock Wall.

"When police first respond to these types of cases, as you can imagine, it can be pretty horrendous," he said.

"That's normal. Police officers will always have those jobs that they've done and put a lot of time and effort into, which they will always remember, it's just the experience they've been through.

"The organisation does a lot to keep avenues open for anyone who may be impacted by this sort of thing, so they're not alone in this by any means."



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