Kelly Anne JONES

John William Bennett seeks release on parole from his life sentence for  killing Kelly Anne Jones | Daily Mail Online

Mother of murdered girl Kelly Anne Jones wants Queensland Parole Board to  reject killer John William Bennett's application | The Chronicle



Mother of murdered girl Kelly Anne Jones wants Queensland Parole Board to reject killer John William Bennett’s application

Caroline Jones lived through the worst pain a parent can feel after her daughter was murdered during Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers. Now her killer has started his bid for parole, despite never telling police where he dumped her body.

Michael Nolan Toowoomba Chronicle

For the past 34 years, John William Bennett has been languishing in a jail cell for the cold-blooded murder of three-year-old Kelly Anne Jones during Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers.

At the same time, Kelly’s mother Caroline Jones has been trapped in her own hell, unable to get the closure she so desperately needs.

This is because Bennett has never told the police where he dumped Kelly’s body.

On Friday, Bennett will make an application to the Queensland Parole Board, asking it to waive its “no body, no parole” clause.

Ms Jones has made an impassioned plea to the board to reject that application.

“All I have now is memories of her, a few pictures and a plaque at the Worrall Cemetery Park,” the Ipswich woman said

“A body has never been found to put her to peace.”

In the months leading up to the 1989 murder, Bennett was friends with Caroline’s sister Suzanna Jones and was known to visit her Hampton home, north of Toowoomba.

Kelly was visiting her aunt and cousin during the Carnival of Flowers when Bennett took her from that house.

She was last seen at 8.30am on September 24, 1989, standing in the back seat of Bennett’s car near a Hampton shop.

Court reports of his sentencing state that Bennett was located the following Wednesday, lying on top of a knife.

He confessed to Toowoomba detectives that he killed Kelly.

“I’ve done something terrible to her,” he was reported to have said.

“I killed her. I killed her. She wouldn’t let up. She annoyed me so I killed her.”

Bennett later took police and about 160 volunteers to the area where he thought he left Kelly’s body, but could not recall the exact spot. Her remains have never been found.

Bennett would later face Toowoomba Supreme Court where he pleaded guilty to murdering the three-year-old.

During sentencing, prosecutors submitted a map drawn by Bennett which indicated that the body had been dumped in the Yarraman tip.

The court heard a witness claimed later to have seen Bennett’s car 11km north of Yarraman on the Monday after she was abducted.

The Yarraman dump was excavated in an attempt to find the body, but the court heard rubbish was burnt off every Monday and Kelly’s body would have been destroyed.

Justice Paul de Jersey sentenced Bennett to life imprisonment with hard labour and described the murder as senseless and brutal.

“After you killed her you imposed on her the ultimate indignity of dumping her dead body in a bag at a rubbish tip,” he said.

“You denied her for no reason the very right which you ironically continue to enjoy. You caused her parents untold misery and I pity you for your callous disregard of human life.”

Prior to the sentence, Ms Jones said she met with Bennett and what he said still brings her to tears.

“All he told me was that she was crying so he put his hand over her mouth but I do not believe him,” she said.

“If she had lived, she would have been 38 this year.”

Bennett’s parole hearing has been set down for Friday in Brisbane Magistrates Court, where the board will determine whether he has given satisfactory co-operation. If it is decided that Bennett has co-operated with the “no body, no parole” process, the parole board can still decide to apply a restricted prisoner declaration.

When asked about the Bennett application, Police Minister Mark Ryan described the crime as heinous.

“(It is) a significant lifelong tragedy which still impacts that family and I think the hearts of all Queenslanders break for that family,” he said.

“What a disgraceful, disgusting human being that person is.

“The Parole Board will look at all the matters in accordance with the law.

We have very robust laws around ‘no body, no parole’ so I’m sure the Parole Board will consider all the evidence and make a decision in accordance with this heinous crime.

I’m hopeful like all Queenslanders would be that the Parole Board gets the decision right.

“All the evidence needs to be considered by the Parole Board, they consider that independently, but I’m sure they’ll be very thorough in their consideration.”


Parole hearing told killer John Bennett says he's been dreaming of where Kelly Anne Jones' body was left

By Antonia O'Flaherty ABC

The mother of murdered three-year-old Kelly Anne Jones says she was shocked and distraught to discover the convicted killer claimed he dreamt about a new location where the child's body might be.

John William Bennett, is applying for the no body, no parole law to be waived, after serving 34 years of a life sentence for the murder of the child in 1989.

The Queensland Parole Board heard Mr Bennett had claimed he had started dreaming he had possibly left the girls' body at Ma Ma Creek near Toowoomba, 30 years after her death.

Kelly's mother Caroline Jones said she first heard about Mr Bennett's claims at the hearing at Brisbane Magistrates Court today.

Speaking after the hearing, Ms Jones said it was a "big shock, a total big shock" to hear the new location but urged authorities not to release Mr Bennet until Kelly's body was found.

"There has to be more, they can't stop, they've got to keep going until we find the body, and answers," she said.

"I hope they don't give up, it's just taken so long, it's the not knowing that's the hard part that I'm going through.

"I don't believe anything he says."

Parole application under special circumstances

Mr Bennett, 71, applied for parole in 2022, under special circumstances that his health is declining and he has multiple comorbidities.

Kelly Anne Jones' remains have never been found despite large scale searches of dumps and other locations near Toowoomba.

Mr Bennett had been staying in the same house as Kelly Anne Jones' aunt in Toowoomba, when they discovered the child and Mr Bennett were missing on September 24.

The search was focused on Mr Bennett as he was identified as being the last person to have contact with her, the parole board heard.

Two days later, police arrested Mr Bennett, after finding him asleep on the side of a road near his car in Cooyar. During interviews he admitted to killing the child.

Mr Bennett told police in interviews he had left Kelly's body in a hessian bag at a rubbish dump, but his memory of the location of the dump was poor because he had been intoxicated, barrister Sally Robb said.

'He thought the dreams were improving his memory'

But Ms Robb said Mr Bennett had disclosed in 2020 he had been having recurring dreams about the child's body being located at Ma Ma Creek.

"He said that he started having the dreams after 30 years and that he thought the dreams were improving his memory," she said.

After the claims, homicide detectives showed Mr Bennett a satellite image of the area taken in 1988, but he was unable to identify specific features of the location.

Detective Inspector Chris Knight, who prepared a report for the parole hearing, said he was not satisfied Mr Bennett's version about Ma Ma Creek could be advanced.

Ms Robb said there was no great congruence in the proximity between Ma Ma Creek and the areas searched in 1989.

"Although it is important to note that Mr Bennett did not identify those areas in 1989 with any great specificity or by reference to location," she said.

Mr Knight said he failed to acknowledge how any of the information provided by Mr Bennett could be considered significant or useful.

"The impact of the passage of time may have had on locating the deceased's remains cannot be quantified," he said.

The hearing was adjourned as written submissions are prepared for the Queensland Parole Board, which Mr Bennett will be given time to respond to.

The board will continue assessing his application, including whether Mr Bennett has satisfactorily cooperated to identify the location of the child's remains.

There have been more than 600 signatures on an online petition to prevent Mr Bennett's release.