Former prison guard charged over cold case murders

A 63-YEAR-OLD former prison guard has been charged with three counts of murder over the deaths of three people in outback Queensland four decades ago.

The bodies of Karen Edwards, 23, her boyfriend Tim Thomson, 31, and their friend Gordon Twaddle, 21, were found dumped in remote bushland after an ill-fated road trip at Spear Creek, north of Mt Isa in October, 1978.

The trio were just three days into a trip around Australia when they were lured into bushland and gunned down.


Bruce John Preston, a father-of-two and former prison guard from Goulburn in NSW, flew into Queensland last night for questioning over the brutal deaths and was formally charged with three counts of murder this afternoon.

Preston was always a suspect in the case and previously admitted to stealing one of the victims’ motorbikes.

The 63-year-old man, originally from Mount Isa, worked as a prison unit commander at Goulburn’s supermax jail for several years and, at one stage, was appointed head of the elite Special Emergency Response Team.

After issuing a public appeal to help catch the killer, Queensland Police said investigators received 50 pieces of new information.

“While police have received significant information following their renewed appeal for information, they continue to urge anyone with information to contact police,” Queensland Police said in a statement.

A $250,000 reward remains on offer for any information which leads to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murders.

An indemnity from prosecution also remains in place for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the crime, who first gives information to police.

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 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.