Storm Smith, father of Leisl Smith who went missing in 2012 in what is one of Australia’s most famous cold cases, said outside court on Friday he believes his daughter is still alive

Storm Smith, father of Leisl Smith who went missing in 2012 in what is one of Australia’s most famous cold cases, said outside court on Friday he believes his daughter is still alive

The father of a lady who disappeared ten years ago maintains that her alleged killer is innocent, despite the fact that he killed himself just before the verdict in his murder trial.

The 68-day trial of James Scott Church, 53, who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Leisl Smith in 2012, ended on Friday without a verdict being announced.

Due to Church’s unexpected passing, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton informed the NSW Supreme Court that she would no longer be able to find him guilty or not guilty.

However, Ms. Smith’s father has vehemently argued that Church was not the murderer since he still thinks his daughter is alive.

After his daughter first vanished, Storm Smith claimed to have seen her and that he would now be “very, very sorry” that Church was dead.

Mr. Smith remarked, “I don’t think he killed my daughter by killing himself.

She and he were both madly in love with one another.

She was mature enough to make her own judgments, but he wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Ms. Smith was last seen climbing into a white truck in surveillance film, and her bank accounts have not been accessed since she vanished.

On August 19, 2012, she disappeared from Tuggerah Railway Station on the NSW Central Coast.

The search for her killer has become one of Australia’s most well-known cold cases because her body was never located.

However, Mr. Smith is confident that he saw his daughter in Windsor after she went missing and that Church was unrelated to her abduction.

Church’s body was discovered on Thursday at his residence in the state’s northern town of Inverell. It is thought that he committed suicide.

Church’s passing put an end to all legal proceedings, which the judge noted would be upsetting to Ms. Smith’s friends.

Justice Fullerton stated, “The law simply does not permit me to return a verdict, to publicly proclaim it, or to publish the extremely extensive reasons which were prepared for publication this morning.”

Both the mother of Ms. Smith and Church’s supporters sobbed in court.

In January of this year, Church, a farrier, entered a not guilty plea to Ms. Smith’s murder and was granted bail.

Without a jury, he was put on trial before Justice Fullerton in a hearing that ended on May 24 while he awaited the outcome on Friday.

The Crown said that after Ms. Smith revealed to others that she was carrying his child, Church murdered her and dumped her body in the Upper Hunter Valley.

According to the prosecution, he killed Ms. Smith in order to maintain his connection to his new partner, Belinda Lees.

In his opening remarks, defense attorney Manny Conditsis suggested that there may be further causes for Ms. Smith’s absence.

According to Mr. Conditsis, “There are alternate hypotheses that are inconsistent with his guilt and consistent with his innocence.”

Mr. Conditsis said that it was impossible to rule out alternative possibilities, such as the involvement of Ms. Smith’s violent ex-boyfriend, the late Craig Elkin, or the possibility that she had intentionally vanished.

He asserted that there was a chance she needed to flee without being discovered. “If I choose to disappear, no one will find me,” she had remarked to people, among other things.

The notion that Ms. Smith was murdered by a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang over a drug debt was also brought up by Mr. Conditsis.

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton retorted, “When drug traffickers don’t get paid they normally get a little irritated.”

In 2015, Elkin’s body was discovered floating in the Hunter River. There didn’t seem to be any unusual circumstances, according to police at the time.

According to the ABC, Sandra Harvey, Ms. Smith’s mother, testified that Ms. Smith had told her that Elkins had been dealing drugs for a motorcycle gang.

Ms. Harvey testified in court, “I was stunned and I told her she needed to get away.”

Additionally, the defense had asserted that Ms. Smith killed herself after having a difficult childhood.

the judge At the time of her disappearance, Ms. Smith was living with her father, Storm Smith, who had also just received a distressing text message from his daughter.

The note said, “I can’t do this and I’m not going to keep your secret any longer.”

While the Crown said the message was sent to falsely imply Ms. Smith was still alive, Mr. Smith claimed he had not understood it.