Police look for evidence in February 2007.
Police look for evidence in February 2007. Jacklyn Wagner

Cop suspension 'no problem'

FEARS that the absence of the lead investigator into Simone Strobel's 2005 Lismore murder could hamper any follow-up investigation have been dismissed by fellow case investigator, Detective Wayne Hayes from the State Crime Command.

Det Hayes appeared on Channel Seven's Sunday Night this week as the program revealed that Simone Strobel's boyfriend and prime suspect in her murder, Tobias Suckfuell, had returned to live in Australia, despite refusing to return to give evidence the 2007 Coronial Inquest into her death.

Det Hayes told the program he believed Mr Suckfuell killed Simone.

The lead investigator, Detective Inspector Shane Diehm has been suspended from duty and Det Hayes said this might be an inconvenience but had no bearing on ongoing investigations.

"There is no problem - it just gets allocated to someone else, the documents exist, the physical evidence exists so there's no problem," he said.

While the revelations of Suckfuell's return have again opened old wounds, Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Moore confirmed the investigation was still ongoing.

"This is an inquiry close to the hearts of investigators and we would be very keen to resolve the matter," he said.

Despite the Deputy State Coroner naming Suckfuell as the most likely suspect and leaving Mr Suckfuell an open invitation to return to give evidence, lawyers say it would require Supreme Court approval to reopen the inquest and was unlikely.

Officers from the NSW State Coroner and the Director of Public Prosecutions were snowed under dealing with the Quakers Hill nursing home fire yesterday and were not available to comment.

Though he no longer worked in homicide, Detective Hayes was confident the case would not be filed away.

"We'll wait and see where it goes - it's a matter of whether the local Lismore cops or the Homicide Squad give it another run but one thing about homicides is they don't go away - they get re-looked at and reworked all the time and if something comes up they look at it again," he said.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said the news would rekindle painful memories in Lismore.

"I think a lot of people who still remember it would hope at some stage the mystery would be solved," she said.

"I still think about Simone's parents and the need for her family to know what happened - it is every parent's worst nightmare to lose a child that way, so violently, and I'd hope that soon, while they're still with us, they get the answers that they need."

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