COLD CASE: Police launch fresh appeal into 1992 murder of Gold Coast man

HOMICIDE detectives have launched a fresh public appeal into the horrific murder of an elderly man at his Gold Coast home 27-years ago.

Hugo Benscher was found bound and gagged on the floor at his canal-front Paradise Point home on the morning of Sunday, June 21 1992.

The 89-year-old also had a head injury, with police revealing that at the time of the murder there were several burglary and home invasion offences in nearby Gold Coast canal estates.

A full review into the unsolved murder began earlier this year, involving investigators from the Cold Case Investigation Team, with the assistance of the Gold Coast Criminal Investigation Branch.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell of the Cold Case Investigation Team said investigators were confident the renewed focus would see people come forward with new information.

“Police firmly believe that with public assistance, irrespective of the passage of time, the offenders will be brought to justice, giving Hugo’s friends and family some closure,” Detective Senior Sergeant Kentwell said.

Hugo’s canal-front Paradise Point home | Qld Police

In the coming weeks, detectives will travel to New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania to reinterview original witnesses and to approach new witnesses identified during the review.

“It is our intention through today’s appeal to urge anyone with information to come forward,” Detective Senior Sergeant Kentwell said.

Hugo’s canal-front Paradise Point home | Qld Police

Hugo was the inventor of an inflatable ball bladder and valve for sporting equipment and was born in Hamburg in 1903 before immigrating to Australia in 1948.

He lived most of his life in Sydney with his wife and sons, retiring to the Gold Coast in 1986 after his wife died.

During his six years living on the Gold Coast, he was a regular attendee of the Runaway Bay Yacht Club.

Police are hoping to speak with anyone who interacted with Hugo at the Runaway Bay Yacht Club, or knew of those who did around 1992.

“We are seeking information from anyone who has knowledge of a boat in the canal around the time of Hugo’s murder, as neighbours at the time recalled waking late in the evening on Saturday, June 20 1992 to the sound of a high revving outboard motor,” police said.

“We are also wanting further information received during the initial investigation about a beige Datsun and male driver reported as being seen around Hugo’s home around the time of his murder.”

PHOTO: Comfit image of the man seen driving a Datsun outside Hugo’s home | Qld Police

PHOTO: Datsun car of interest | Qld Police

Hugo was last seen alive on the morning of Saturday, June 20 1992 and last known to be alive when he received a phone call at approximately 8:00 pm on that night.

A $250,000 reward remains in place for information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for their murders.

In addition, an appropriate indemnity from prosecution will be recommended for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the crime, who first gives such information.

If you have information for Police, please contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day.

You can also report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

Luther Cora Northerly SWELL

Local indigenous legend immortalised in SWELL sculpture

A stirring tribute to a local indigenous legend is providing northern Gold Coasters with a taste of the artistic splendor set to be unleashed at next month’s 17th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival.

Titled ‘Totem’, the imposing bust of Luther Cora by award-winning sculptor Ivan Lovatt has been unveiled at Helensvale Library and Cultural Centre as part of Northerly SWELL, which connects the famed Currumbin Beach exhibition with the northern end of the city.

Sculpted in chicken wire, the 1m tall artwork immortalises Mr Cora who is a traditional dancer, artist, performer, educator, leader and proud member of the Gold Coast’s Yugambeh language group.

‘Totem’ will remain at Helensvale until September 12 before making its way to Currumbin Beach for Queensland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition from September 13-22.

Mr Lovatt, who credits his People’s Choice Award at the 2004 SWELL Sculpture Festival as a turning point in his artistic career, said it was a privilege and honor to be invited by event co-founder Natasha Edwards to create the tribute to the indigenous icon.

“It was exactly the kind of project I was looking for – a portrait of someone with such an interesting background, look and features,” said Mr Lovatt, who has won five People’s Choice Awards at the hugely popular event since his debut in 2004.

“My intention was to capture Luther’s pride, dignity and power. I had done some work with Aboriginal culture but nothing to this degree and I’m pleased to say that Luther is very happy with the sculpture.

“I hope the portrait honours the significance, importance and sovereignty of Australia’s first people and it is offered in the spirit of reconciliation.”

Launched six years ago, Northerly SWELL is a collaboration with City of Gold Coast Division 2 that spreads the celebration of art, culture and community to both ends of the Gold Coast and provides visitors with a glimpse of what they can expect when the main event hits town next month.

Division 2 Councillor William Owen-Jones said ‘Totem’ was the perfect piece to showcase the magic of sculpture to both lovers of the artform and newcomers.

“Ivan has an incredible talent for his craft and we are thrilled his latest creation will have pride of place at Helensvale Library and Cultural Centre during Northerly SWELL,” he said.

“We founded this free event to not only allow northern locals to get up close to such impressive works but celebrate how public art can excite, tell stories and leave a mark on both a community and its people.

“This artistic celebration of the remarkable Luther Cora ticks all those boxes and I’m sure it will have many people looking forward to next month’s SWELL Sculpture Festival.”

For more information, visit swellsculpture.com.au

Petrol

Gold Coasters urged to fill up as petrol prices skyrocket

Motorists are being urged to fill up the tank as soon as possible with petrol prices on the rise once again.

It’s understood fuel prices are currently already soaring by around 40-cents a litre at many Gold Coast service stations.

The RACQ says almost half of all servos on the coast now have petrol selling for more than $1.60.

However, it’s not all bad news…

Some service stations are still selling fuel for around $1.25 – but you better be quick!

Local drivers are being told to fill up as soon as they see petrol for $1.34 or less.

For the latest, up-to-date fuel prices on the Gold Coast, click here.

Baby Crying

Doctors urge Gold Coast parents to ‘take a break’ from crying babies

New mums and dads who sometimes struggle to soothe a crying baby, are being urged to take a break and seek help.

Gold Coast doctors issued the plea overnight, in a bid to stop the cause of Shaken Baby or Abusive Head Trauma, a form of non-accidental brain injury.

Local paediatrician Dr Susan Moloney said while it was rare for a person to shake a baby with the intent to hurt them, sometimes they may be overcome with frustration and tiredness.

“Other worries and frustrations in life can make matters worse, but this should never be taken out on infants and children. Infants and even small children can be seriously injured by shaking,” Dr Moloney said.

Gold Coast Health says an infant’s head is “big and heavy” compared to the rest of their body and unless supported, the head flops around because the neck muscles aren’t yet strong enough to hold it still.

“When a baby is shaken, their head is thrown back and forth very quickly with great force,” they said.

“This force may cause tiny blood vessels inside the baby’s brain to tear and bleed and may result in very serious health conditions, including brain swelling and irreversible brain damage.”

Dr Moloney said infants can cry up to two to three hours a day and whilst most parents will try anything to stop their baby from crying, sometimes it’s best to just walk away.

“All babies cry. It is the main way babies can tell us what they need. Finding out what your baby needs is not always easy.

“If you think you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or extremely exhausted in caring for your child please take a break.”

Resources for parents who feel overwhelmed and/or exhausted include:

  • Parent Line QLD 1300 301 300 from 8am-10pm daily or web chat available daily from 8am-9pm
  • 13HEALTH 13 43 25 84 available 24 hours, seven days a week
  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby helpline 1800 882 436 from 7am to midnight
  • Raising Children’s Network website: raisingchildren.net.au
Safer Schoolies

Volunteers needed for Safer Schoolies support team

With thousands of school leavers set to descend on the Gold Coast for schoolies celebrations this November, the call has gone out to locals to volunteer their time to help make Schoolies 2019 as safe as possible.

The Safer Schoolies Gold Coast Response team is on the hunt for dedicated and caring volunteers to fulfil a number of roles in Surfers Paradise from Saturday 16 November to Friday 22 November.

People who step forward will patrol in groups of four, help support and assist emergency service personnel, and be a friendly face Schoolies can trust with the right advice or support when needed.

The Safer Schoolies Gold Coast Response is a coordinated program of support and safety services delivered by state and local government in conjunction with community groups to enhance safety during the Schoolies holiday season.

It includes the organisation of free nightly activities and entertainment in the Schoolies Hub and access to a range of free support services.

Safer Schoolies

PHOTO: Supplied by Safer Schoolies

Volunteers must be over 18, be able to work in a team environment and hold a current Blue Card issued by Blue Card Services. Applicants who don’t have a Blue Card will be provided with all the information they need to apply for one.

Safer Schoolies

PHOTO: Supplied by Safer Schoolies

People wanting to apply can visit saferschoolies.qld.gov.au/information/volunteers and general enquiries about volunteering at Schoolies can be emailed to SaferSchoolies@csyw.qld.gov.au.

Safer Schoolies Volunteers

PHOTO: Supplied by Safer Schoolies

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by Safer Schoolies.