true crime

Louise Bell trial: Dieter Pfennig found guilty of murder.

Dieter Pfennig has been found guilty of murdering 10-year-old Louise Bell more than 30 years ago, in one of South Australia’s most notorious cold cases.

The schoolgirl was abducted from her Hackham West bedroom, south of Adelaide, in January 1983 and her body has never been found.

Her disappearance prompted a police search of then unprecedented proportions.

Raymond John Geesing was initially tried and convicted of her murder but that conviction was quashed on appeal in 1985.

Pfennig was arrested and charged with Louise’s murder in 2013 after advances in DNA technology led to a breakthrough during a review of the cold case.

The 68-year-old is already serving a life sentence with a non-parole period of 38 years for murdering Murray Bridge boy Michael Black in 1989 and later abducting and raping a 13-year-old boy.

Justice Michael David announced his guilty verdict to a packed public gallery full of family members, detectives and others.

He said in court that he wanted to “bring this whole ghastly thing to an end”.

“I’m going to say something that’s quite unusual, but I thought a lot about it.

“During this period of time, between now and the sixth [of December], I say to your client through you: If he could tell the authorities where the bodies of Michael Black and Louise Bell are … then that may or may not affect my sentence.”

Sentencing submissions will be heard on December 6.

In a statement, South Australian Police said the case was “not closed” and appealed for any information which could lead to the recovery of Louise Bell’s remains.

“I would appeal for anyone with information that might assist us to find her, to search your conscience and come forward now,” Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

“It is time to do the right thing.”

This story originally appeared on ABC News. 

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