Perth man charged over historic NSW backpacker murder

The man long suspected to have been involved in the murder of his backpacker girlfriend in New South Wales has sensationally been charged with her murder – nearly 20 years after her naked body was found.

Tobias Moran, who changed his name from Suckfuell, left Australia soon after Simone Strobel’s body was found near a Lismore caravan park, and refused to return to testify at a 2007 coronial inquest into the 25-year-old’s murder.

He has since lived in Perth with his wife Samantha – and has consistently denied he was involved with his former girlfriend’s death.

But on Tuesday, he appeared in court – after being arrested on Monday on a warrant which accused him of the killing.

The arresting officer was Detective Cameron Blaine, who was centrally involved in the successful search for missing girl Cleo Smith last year.

Camera IconA $1 million reward was being offered for information about the murder of backpacker Simone Strobel. Credit: AAP

An extradition application was made and granted by magistrate Sandra De Maio – with two NSW detectives on hand and awaiting to take him into their custody.

Mr Moran is due on a flight to NSW on Wednesday, and is due then to appear in a Sydney court the following day.

The shocking twist comes after years of investigation into the death of Ms Strobel, who was found on February 17, 2005, five days after she was reported missing by Mr Suckfuell.

She was covered in palm fronds 90m from the caravan park where the couple and two friends had been staying. The kindergarten teacher had been suffocated with a pillow or plastic bag.

In a statement, NSW Police confirmed the arrest of the 42 year-old.

“Detectives attached to Richmond Police District – assisted by officers from Western Australia Police Force – have arrested a 42-year-old man in relation to an ongoing investigation,” they said.

“More information will be provided when it is available.”

More to come

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