A CONVICTED rapist has been found guilty of murdering West Australian teenager Hayley Dodd almost 20 years ago.
Francis John Wark, 61, was granted a judge-alone trial in the WA Supreme Court last year and Justice Lindy Jenkins today handed down her judgment. Hayley, 17, was last seen walking along a road near rural Badgingarra, where Wark had lived for 15 years, on July 29, 1999.
Under Western Australian law, Wark had been charged with wilful murder but was instead found guilty of murder.
Justice Jenkins was visibly shaken as she handed down her verdict. Wark showed no emotion as Hayley's family wiped away tears. He will face a sentencing hearing on January 30.
Prosecutors had alleged Wark lured Hayley into his ute between 11.40am and midday, murdered her and disposed of her body before 1.36pm when he paid an account at Badgingarra roadhouse while riding his motorcycle to Perth.
Wark's lawyer Darryl Ryan argued it was possible an ankh-shaped earring matching a description of the style Hayley was wearing when she went missing could have been planted by police.
The key piece of evidence was only found in September 2013 when a car bench seat cover that police seized one week after Hayley vanished was examined at the state forensic laboratory.
Prosecutors argued the fact the hook on the earring was bent suggested a violent struggle, but there was no DNA recovered from it.
More to come.
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