AN AUSTRALIAN IS standing trial for a fourth time over the death of a Moray woman who disappeared in Australia two years after she left her native Elgin in 1990.
The remains of Cariad Anderson-Slater were found in the garden of the former home of 86-year-old Ronald Pennington, who now faces manslaughter charges.
Pennington was found guilty of killing Mrs Anderson-Slater in 2012 – however, that conviction was quashed at a court of appeal on the grounds that a judge had misdirected the jury.
Further trials were held in 2013 and 2014 after jurors first failed to reach a verdict and then members of the jury were discovered to have discussed information about the previous trials.
Mrs Anderson-Slater moved from Elgin to Perth, Australia in 1990 – but the 42-year-old vanished two years later. What had become of her remained a mystery until workmen digging the garden at Pennington’s former home in 2011 discovered her body.
At the latest trial this week the West Australian Supreme Court heard that Mrs Anderson-Slater and her husband David had befriended Pennington when they arrived in Perth, and that the three had dinner on the night before her disappearance but that ended after an argument.
After having a second argument with her husband, the court was told that she telephone Pennington and then caught a taxi to the street where he lived. A taxi driver saw here going into Pennington’s home but she was never seen again.
In an opening statement to the court Pennington’s defence lawyer blamed Mrs Anderson-Slater’s husband for her death, citing his self-published book “Cry from an Unholy Grave” in which he said he was back on the dating scene just a few days after the disappearance of his wife.
The trial continues.