Wark jailed for life over Dodd teen murder

WARKTeenager Hayley Dodd dreamed of setting up a lolly shop before she was abducted and murdered in a sexually motivated attack almost 20 years ago by a man later convicted of raping another woman.

The 17-year-old’s family says it has been a “living hell” not knowing what happened to her, with their painful wound growing deeper every year justice eluded them.

Justice finally arrived on Tuesday when Francis John Wark was jailed for life, with a minimum of 21 years, for murdering the hitchhiker after luring her into a ute on a road near rural Badgingarra on July 29, 1999.

Hayley’s mother Margaret Dodd smiled as she left the WA Supreme Court with her family, including two of her 15 grandchildren.

“He’s 61, the same age as me. We’ve already served 18-and-a-half-years, his (sentence) is only just going to begin,” she said.

“We go to bed with pain and we’ll wake up with pain every single day.

“When Hayley went missing, we received a deep, deep wound. That wound got wider and wider over the years.

“Maybe now it will start to close up. We will never get rid of the scars but at least we can start healing.”

Ms Dodd’s grandchildren, aged five and eight, carried a “no body, no parole” banner and she renewed calls for her daughter’s “coward” killer to reveal the location of Hayley’s body.

“Be a man for once in your life. Tell us where Hayley is,” she said.

“I hope that he gets a conscience and he turns around and says ‘no, I’ve done enough, I have to accept responsibility for what I’ve done. I will tell the family what I’ve done with their daughter so they can have some rest and get on with the rest of their lives’.”

Wark showed little emotion as Justice Lindy Jenkins sentenced him, but some people in the packed public gallery clapped.

Justice Jenkins, who presided over Wark’s trial without a jury, said the way he disposed of Hayley’s body “prolonged and increased the suffering” for her loved ones.

The victim impact statements from Hayley’s family were “highly personal” and Justice Jenkins said she could “feel the pain and despair” they suffered, which had ruined their lives.

Hayley’s sister likened it to being a prisoner in her own body.

Prosecutor Amanda Burrows described Hayley’s murder as “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

Wark was convicted largely on the evidence of an ankh-shaped earring found in 2013 when a car bench seat cover that police seized one week after Hayley vanished was examined at the state forensic laboratory.

Justice Jenkins also found Wark had a propensity to pick up lone female hitchhikers then overpower and rape them.

Wark was charged in 2015 following a cold case review, and was serving a 12-year prison term at the time for raping a woman he picked up on a remote Queensland road in 2007.

Given his age, it is possible Wark will spend the rest of his life in prison.

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