Former teacher on trial for the murder of Adelaide schoolgirl Louise Bell

September 29, 2015 3:36 am


was abducted while she was sleeping.

A 67-year-old man on trial for the murder of Adelaide schoolgirl
Louise Bell more than 30 years ago admitted killing the 10-year-old, a
court has heard.
Dieter Pfennig pleaded not guilty at the start
of his trial in the South Australian Supreme Court on Monday with
prosecutor Sandi McDonald telling the court it was alleged Pfennig had
admitted taking and killing Louise to fellow prison inmates on two
separate occasions while in jail for other offences.
Ms McDonald said in a conversation with one inmate, Pfennig said: “I did it. I took her. It was an accident. I killed her.”
He indicated to another inmate that “I know where she is.”
court also heard that a comprehensive review of the case in 2012
resulted in DNA samples taken at the time the girl went missing in 1983
being subjected to testing both in Australia and in the Netherlands.

Ms McDonald said that DNA evidence would link Pfennig to the
girl with a “substantial component” of samples obtained from a pyjama
top that Louise had been wearing when she went missing matching the DNA
profile of the accused.
She said the chances of a random male providing such a match were greater than one in one billion.
crown’s opening on Monday included details of how a neighbour to the
Bells took a phone call from a man not long after Louise went missing
which led police to find the girl’s earrings which had been placed under
a brick near where she went to school.
The same neighbour found the girl’s pyjama top, which had been left folded near her home.
is alleged to have taken Louise from the bedroom of her parents’ home
at Hackham West on the night of January 4, 1983, but was not charged
until 2013.
Ms McDonald said while the girl’s body had never been
found, after more than three decades it was not possible she was still
“Louise Bell is dead, she was murdered, she was taken from
her bedroom in the middle of the night, in the most brazen and
audacious way,” she said.
The trial continues.


• The disappearance of 10-year-old Louise Bell in 1983 is one of SA’s most enduring cold cases.
• Former maths and science teacher Dieter Pfennig, 67, has pleaded not guilty.
• The Crown says it has DNA evidence linking Pfennig to the girl.
• The Crown alleges that while Pfennig was in jail for other offences he told fellow inmates he had killed the girl.

The court has heard how a phone call made by a man after Louise went
missing led them to find her earrings under a brick near where she went
to school.
• Louise’s father Colin Bell has told the court how he
last saw his daughter after he put her to bed on the night she went
• The Supreme Court trial before Justice Michael David is sitting without a jury.

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