Murdered girl's mother holds on to spark of hope

TWENTY three years after police found 15-year-old Annette Mason's battered body, the schoolgirl's mother is still no closer to finding out who was responsible for the heinous murder.

Brisbane District Court Judge Hugh Botting directed a jury on Thursday to find Karen Leslie Symonds not guilty of providing a false statement to the Crime Commission about moving Annette's body in 1989.

A friend found Annette's body in the bed of Annette's Anzac Ave home on November 19, 1989.

No one has ever been charged with her death.

Symonds has been on trial this week for perjury for allegedly lying to a closed star chamber hearing about what she knew of Annette's death.

Symonds lived a few doors down from Annette in 1989.

The Crown and defence were scheduled to close their cases on Thursday after a delayed lengthy trial.

But due to a juror being sick, Judge Botting discharged the jury.

He also directed the jury to find Symonds not guilty on one perjury charge because of insufficient evidence.

Symonds, who now lives on the Gold Coast, is expected to face trial next year for the remaining perjury charge.

After sitting through days of evidence about her daughter's murder, mother Judith Clarke wanted to thank the witnesses who came forward.

"I really appreciate the support I have had from the people that have forward. I appreciate their courage," she said.

Mrs Clarke said she was getting to the end of her tether after 20 years and no resolve.

"Then it sparked it up and I became hopeful," she said.

"I am still holding onto that spark."

The born-and-bred Toowoomba woman, who now lives in South Australia, said she was not sure whether it was closure she needed or simply justice served.

"I am not sure closure is the word or knowing the people responsible have not had to face justice over it," she said.

"We have lost our little girl and never get to see her again. I would hate to meet her in an after life and say 'sorry, it's never been solved."

The trial is scheduled for June 11.


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