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Matthew Grant WEBSTER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 3, 1989
Date of birth: 1971
Victim profile: Leigh Leigh, 14
Method of murder: Bludgeoned to death with a lump of concrete
Location: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Status: Sentenced to 20 years in prison in November 1990. Paroled in June 2004. Parole revoked in November 2004

SchoolGirl Killer Released


May 20, 2005

THE man who raped and murdered Newcastle schoolgirl Leigh Leigh was freed today after his second stint in prison.

Matthew Webster, 33, was initially paroled in June last year after serving 14 years of a 20-year sentence for 14-year-old Leigh's murder after a party at Newcastle's North Stockton Surf Club in 1989.

But while on parole in October last year he was charged over an assault and his parole was revoked.

He was sent back to prison while the assault prosecution progressed, but the charges were dismissed in April this year because of a lack of evidence.

Today, Webster walked free from Sydney's Silverwater Jail but he will remain on parole until March, 29, 2010.

His new release is on the condition he does not live in the Stockton or Newcastle area, nor is he to visit either area without the permission of his parole officer.

Webster made no comment as he was driven past an assembled media throng following his release just after 10am (AEST).

A Corrective Services spokesman said Webster would live in private accommodation in Sydney's west in the short term.


Evidence Lacking- Killer Sees Assault Charges Dismissed


April 1, 2005

ASSAULT charges against the killer of Newcastle schoolgirl Leigh Leigh were dismissed today after a magistrate said the evidence against him was "lacking".

Matthew Webster, 33, had been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm following an alleged attack on Woodberry man Craig Drew last October.

Webster was on parole at the time, having served 14 years of a 20-year jail sentence for Leigh's murder.

Fourteen-year-old Leigh was sexually assaulted and murdered at a party at the North Stockton Surf Club in 1989.

Webster's parole was revoked last November and the New South Wales Parole Board ruled in January Webster would remain behind bars pending the outcome of the assault charges against him.

Webster, of Seven Hills, could now be released from custody after the three charges were dismissed in Maitland Local Court today.

Police had alleged Webster was involved in a fight with Mr Drew, the former partner of Webster's lover Belinda Lowe.

Mr Drew suffered a broken jaw and cracked ribs as a result of the alleged altercation.

Webster had pleaded not guilty to the charges and Magistrate Stephen Jackson today dismissed them.

"The evidence is lacking," Magistrate Jackson said.

"I dismiss all the matters."

Mr Drew had told police Webster punched him twice in the head and kicked him in the stomach in the kitchen of the house he continued to share with Lowe.

He also alleged Webster pulled a knife during the fight.

Webster's solicitor, Paul Rosser, QC, said Mr Drew's evidence was unreliable.

He said Webster punched Mr Drew "five to six times" to the head and body, but denied kicking him and rejected the allegation of the knife.

"Drew himself says he instigated the fight," Mr Rosser said.

But Police Prosecutor Daniel Maher urged the court to consider the circumstances leading up to the physical altercation.

He said Webster became aware there was "something going on" between Mr Drew and a 17-year-old girl known to Webster, and came to Woodberry to "sort it out".

"The key in this case is the defendant goes up there to sort out Craig Drew for sending inappropriate messages to (the girl)," Mr Maher said.

"I say the presence of Webster in the circumstances of what is effectively a love triangle is going to cause friction, it's going to cause conflict."

Mr Rosser said he would now instigate proceedings with the NSW Parole Board to release Webster from custody.

Comment was being sought from the board.



Freed Killer Accused

Adelaide Advertiser

November 18, 2004

MATTHEW Webster, who killed Newcastle girl Leigh Leigh in 1989, was granted bail on assault charges five months after being released from jail, the NSW Parliament was told yesterday.

The Opposition's Andrew Humpherson said Webster appeared in court on Tuesday charged with common assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He said there should have been an immediate presumption against bail in Webster's case.



Leigh Leigh Killer Granted Bail

Tamara McLean - Herald Sun

November 17, 2004

THE killer of Newcastle girl Leigh Leigh was granted bail on assault charges only five months after being released from jail, New South Wales parliament was told today.

Matthew Webster was 18 years old when he was jailed for the sexual assault and. murder of the 14-year-old after a birthday party at the North Stockton Surf Club, near Newcastle, on Novembers, 1989.

She had been bludgeoned to death with a lump of concrete. Webster was released on parole in June after 14 years in jail.

His release came six years shy of his full 20-year sentence and was granted on the grounds he was unlikely to re-offend.

He said the man was the partner of a woman Webster befriended while in Parklea prison.
Mr Humpherson today said there should have been an immediate presumption against bail in Webster's case.

"What the opposition wants to know is why - when the government promised a presumption against bail for violent repeat offenders - Webster is back on the streets this afternoon?" Mr Humpherson said.

"It is a dangerous game the Carr Government is playing with public safety when it allows bail for the likes of Matthew Webster," he said.

Premier Bob Carr said Webster had been granted strict, conditional bail.

"I'm advised that the accused, who handed himself into police, was granted strict, conditional bail," Mr Carr told parliament.

He said there had been a "markedly higher" number of cases where bail has been refused since new bail legislation was introduced.

But the new laws had, in this case, removed the presumption in favour of bail being granted to the accused, Mr Carr said.

"Factors that may have been persuasive in this case would include the strength of the case against the accused," he said.

"As this matter is still before the courts, it would not be appropriate to go into further detail."

NSW Justice Minister John Hatzistergos had supported Webster's release in June, saying the prisoner had fulfilled all the requirements to make him eligible for parole, and would live in a halfway house.

Any breach would result in Webster being sent back to jail. Mr Hatzistergos said in June.
"1 wish him well, but his activities will be closely monitored and he will be brought to account if the need arises," he was quoted as saying at the time.



Explicit Photos Prompt Incident


November 17, 2004

Sexually explicit pictures sent to a 17-year-old girl's mobile phone led to an alleged attack on a Woodberry man, a court heard yesterday.

Matthew Grant Webster faced Maitland Local Court charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault after voluntarily handing himself in to Maitland Police yesterday morning.

Mr Webster, 33, of Seven Hills, Sydney pleaded not guilty to the charges that relate to an incident in Woodberry on October 11.

Solicitor Steve Churches, for Mr Webster, said the allegations would be "strenuously denied' and claimed his client had acted in self defence.

He said Mr Webster had been "set up" by the alleged victim, pointing to a message he received on his mobile phone that read "gotcha big boy".

Mr Churches said the message had been sent two weeks after the incident by the alleged victim.

"This (message) is a very strong attack on the credibility of the alleged victim in this matter," he said.

The court heard Mr Webster went to the Woodberry home after being told by a childhood friend, who was also the ex-wife of the alleged victim, that her former husband had sent photos "of a disgusting nature" to the mobile phone of a 17-year-old girl.

It was alleged these photos were of the victim's penis.

"She (the ex-wife) told him to come to the house to get (the 17-year-old) out of there," Mr Churches said.

"The only reason he was in Woodberry that day was in an attempt to protect the 17-year- old girl."

He said the girl had already left the home when Mr Webster arrived and claimed his client was attacked by the victim and acted in self defence as a result.

Police prosecutor Chris Shields opposed the defence's request for bail, claiming the prosecution had a strong case based on statements provided by the alleged victim and a second person and strong medical evidence consistent with the statements.

"The charge is a serious charge and these injuries are serious injuries," Mr Shields said.

Magistrate Stephen Jackson adjourned the matter to December 13. Mr Webster was granted bail on the condition he reside at his Seven Hills address, report daily to Blacktown Police Station, stay away from Woodberry and refrain from contacting the alleged victim.

A $5000 cash bond, which was posted by his mother, and an agreement to forfeit an additional $5000 for any breach of the bail conditions were also required.


14-year-old Leigh Leigh, the victim.



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