Australian jailed for life over mystery murder
SYDNEY, Aug 9: An Australian man was sentenced to life in prison today for the mystery murder of a rich Sydney woman whose body has never been found, a case that has gripped the country's largest city for almost 10 years.
New South Wales state Supreme Court Judge Graham Barr jailed Bruce Burrell, 53, for life for the 1997 murder of mother-of-three Kerry Whelan. He was handed another 16-year sentence for kidnapping Whelan.
Burrell, once a friend of Whelan, kidnapped and killed her before hiding her body ''well enough to defeat a series of thorough police searches'', Barr told the court.
''His motive was the cold desire to enrich himself,'' he said.
Whelan was last seen on May 6, 1997, at a hotel car park in Sydney's western suburb of Parramatta.
The next day, her husband Bernie Whelan received a ransom note demanding 1 million dollars for her safe return. Her body has never been found and no evidence has been uncovered about how or where she died.
''I'd like to remind everybody that there's still a substantial reward available for information leading to the recovery of her remains,'' Bernie Whelan told reporters.