Family of hitchhiking teen, 17, lured into a ute and then murdered by a rapist burst into tears in court for being found NOT GUILTY of her murder
- The family of 17-year-old Hayley Dodd burst into tears in court on Wednesday
- In 2018, Wark was found guilty of murdering the teen after luring her into an ute
- The decision was overturned on appeal. Today he was found guilty of manslaughter
The convicted rapist accused of murdering teenage Hayley Dodd has been found not guilty of her murder, but guilty of manslaughter.
Francis John Wark, 65, was charged with the murder of the 17-year-old before a six-week retrial in the Western Australian Supreme Court.
Hayley was last seen alive in 1999 walking along a road near rural Badgingarra, about 200 kilometers north of Perth.
After 11 and a half hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Wark of murder, but found him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
17-year-old Hayley Dodd’s family burst into tears in court after her killer Francis John Wark was found not guilty of murder
In 2018, Wark was found guilty of murdering the hitchhiker after luring her to an ute near rural Badgingarra on July 29, 1999. This decision was subsequently overturned on appeal.
Wark was charged in 2015 after a cold case review and then served a 12-year sentence for raping a woman he picked up in a remote part of Queensland in 2007.
The convicted rapist, who owned a property in Badgingarra near where Ms. Dodd was last seen, denied involvement in the teen’s disappearance.
During the most recent retrial for the murder of Ms. Dodd, the prosecutor, Amanda Forrester SC, claimed that Wark had sexual intentions when he lured Ms. Dodd to a borrowed Holden ute.
‘(The opportunity) was short and it was unexpected, but it was there and he grabbed it. He took Hayley Dodd and he killed her, ”she said.
The jury was told that Wark subsequently dumped her body, which has never been found.
Wark claimed he had an alibi for the last time Ms. Dodd was seen alive – he claimed he was a 40-minute drive to run errands in Moora.
Wark’s attorney argued that his client was physically incapable of committing the crime due to the time frame.
Wark claimed to have an alibi for the last time Ms Dodd was seen alive – he claimed he was a 40-minute drive away to run errands in Moora
Mrs. Dodd’s mother, Margaret, appeared in court accompanied by family, friends and detectives.
The murdered teen’s lovers gasped and broke down as the verdict was read, as her sister ran out of the courtroom in tears.
Out of court, Hayley’s mother Margaret Dodd – who has been fighting for justice for her daughter for 20 years – urged Wark to reveal the location of Hayley’s body.
“Ideally, we would have wanted murder, but we got manslaughter, so at least he won’t come out for a long time,” she told reporters.
“Now I hope he tells us where Hayley is.”
Ms. Dodd said going through two trials had taken a heavy toll on the family.
“Frankly, it’s a torment for the whole family,” she said.
“It’s not just me, it’s my kids, they’re my grandchildren, they’re my great-grandchildren. We have suffered for generations.
They all know who Hayley is. She will never be forgotten. ‘
Wark was taken into custody to be sentenced on April 13.
Western Australia police are looking for a site in Badgingarra, north of Perth, on November 27, 2013