PHOTO: Murdered man Peter Keeley (image NSW Police)
Two teenagers who lured 56-year-old Canberra-based real estate agent Peter Keeley on gay dating app Grindr to the bushlands on the NSW South Coast, were found not guilty of killing him.
Trigger Warning: This story discusses a brutal murder, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
Keeley was a real estate agent, an auctioneer and past president of West Belconnen Junior Rugby League Football Club.
Keeley’s, bound, gagged and battered body was found in bushland at Broulee on February 2, 2020. Keeley had suffered extensive head and facial injuries, but the postmortem examination about the cause of death remained inconclusive.
Teens Pleaded Not Guilty To Murder
Three 17-year-old boys were charged with Keeley’s murder. Two of the boys faced trial before the NSW Supreme Court, while the trial of the third boy was separated.
The boys, now aged 19 and 20, who cannot be identified because of their age at the time of arrest, pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to detaining with the intention of occasioning actual bodily harm.
Justice Michael Walton on Thursday acquitted the two teenagers of murder charges, but convicted them of aggravated kidnapping, the ABC reported. They will be sentenced at a later date.
Lured On Grindr
According to the police, one of the teenagers communicated with Keeley on Grindr and arranged to meet him at Broulee. The police said that the teen searched online with the phrase “does holding a metal object in your hand make a difference to your punch”.
He then met up with two others and discussed a plan to tie up Keeley and bash him, the police said. The first teenager then met Keeley, who then drove with him to the nearby bushland, where the two others were waiting.
The boys tied Keeley’s wrists and ankles, gagged his mouth with a tape and beat him. One of the boys claimed that he thought Keeley was a paedophile, but later admitted to the police that he had just heard about it.
Cause Of Death Inconclusive
The prosecution’s case was that Keeley’s death was due to trauma to the head and suffocation. The defence brought in an expert who said that death could have been due to methamphetamine toxicity.
The court said that there was no conclusive proof that the death was due to “craniofacial trauma combined with airway obstruction” and the defence’s case that it was due to methamphetamine toxicity could not be ruled out.
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
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