Man accused of murdering Mandurah teen Hayley Dodd to have trial heard by judge

Hayley Dodd disappeared on July 29, 1999.
Hayley Dodd disappeared on July 29, 1999.

THE trial of Francis John Wark (61), accused of murdering Mandurah teenager Hayley Dodd, will be heard by judge alone the Supreme Court decided.

Wark pleaded not guilty to Ms Dodd’s murder and the case will go to trial in October.

His lawyer lodged an application to have a judge only trial due to the publicity surrounding the case.

Court documents reveal that prosecutors will be able to use evidence given by a woman known as Ms D, a hitchhiker who was raped and assaulted by Wark in Queensland.

The assault was described as ‘humiliating, denigrating and violent’.

Wark was sent to prison in relation to her assault in 2007.

The State’s case relies in part on an earring and a hair found in Wark’s ute following Ms Dodd’s disappearance on July 29, 1999.

In the document, Justice Janine Pritchard called the State’s case circumstantial, considering Ms Dodd disappeared and her body had never been found.

Justice Pritchard said Ms D’s evidence showed a propensity on the part of Wark to commit crimes of violence against women in circumstances where he had given a lift to that woman.

The State will be able to use Ms D’s evidence Justice Pritchard ruled.

Evidence the State intended to use, where Wark told an associate “well if it was me I’d throw her under here”, was rejected by Justice Pritchard.

It was also ruled the State will be able to use evidence submitted by five witnesses who have since died.

Wark was extradited from Queensland in 2015 and charged with the murder of Ms Dodd.

His Badgingarra home was searched after Ms Dodd went missing and again in 2013, though Wark no longer owned the home.

Ms Dodd’s mother Margaret started a petition to have no body, no parole legislation introduced to Parliament.

She received support from Sarah Spiers and Craig Puddy’s families, whose bodies have also never been found.

The State Government fulfilled an election promise by introducing the legislation to Parliament.

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