Convicted rapist Francis John Wark has been convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering 17-year-old Hayley Dodd in 1999, putting an end to a missing person case that has been haunting her friends and family for decades. Dodd disappeared while walking on a remote road in Western Australia, and has been missing for the past 18 years.
The Supreme Court heard that Wark, 61, lured the teenager into a borrowed ute on July 29, 1999, where he killed her during a sexual assault. Her body has never been found.
Justice Lindy Jenkins delivered her verdict to a packed courtroom, saying,
“I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused picked up Ms Dodd and killed her on 29 July, 1999 by some unknown means.”
Wark was charged with Dodd’s murder in 2015, while he was in jail serving a 12-year sentence for physically and sexually assaulting a 31-year-old woman he’d picked up on a road in north Queensland.
A single earring discovered in the ute Wark had been driving was what tied him to Dodd’s murder. It matched the description given by one of Dodd’s friends of a pair of earrings she’d bought just a few days before she disappeared, and which she had likely been wearing.
The court heard that during the assault on the 31-year-old woman in Queensland, Wark had demanded she give him an earring, telling her “I want to keep it“.
Wark will face sentencing next week for the crime of wilful murder – a crime that no longer exists, but was current in 1999. Hayley Dodd’s family are still searching for her body.