In January of 1996, Robert Marr wed Corinna. They had a home on Howard Street, in the Collinsville neighbourhood of Adelaide, South Australia.
Corinna Marr, a 25-year-old native Firle resident, was a real estate sales professional for Weeks and Macklin. By way of a regional modelling agency, she also undertook promotional work.
Corinna left the real estate agency at 2:30 p.m. on July 4, 1997, and drove home to get ready for a publicity event at the Woodville Hotel, located about six miles from her house.
At roughly 3:15 p.m., a neighbour passing by the Marr residence heard the hum of a hair dryer and saw that the front door was open but the screen door was drawn.
By the time Robert Marr got home at 4 o’clock, Corinna was already dead on the bed.
A close-range gunshot to the left breast area and a second to the left side of the head were found in Corinna’s autopsy results. The murder weapon was probably a.22 calibre handgun.
Colin Todd, Corinna’s boss in the real estate industry, allegedly informed the police that Corinna was unhappy in her marriage, had multiple relationships, and intended to leave her spouse. He also claimed that Corinna frequently showed up to work bruised, but authorities never questioned her husband about the alleged bruises.
Photographer Derick Sands is named as one of the guys with whom Corinna supposedly had an affair. Sands was employed at News Limited’s (NWLS) sub-division Messenger Newspapers at the time of her death. In 2004, he was a person of interest in her murder investigation.
As part of her work for Weeks & Macklin, Sands had photographed Corinna at promotional events. Initially questioned by police in 2002, he was officially labelled a suspect in her murder in 2004.
Both the affair and the murder of Corinna were denied by Sands. In 2004, he sued Channel Seven and ABC for defamation, and in 2012, he sued the state of South Australia for the same.
A report to Channel Seven in January 2004 suggested that former Liberal Party candidate Trish Draper had falsely claimed that her boyfriend, Sands, was her husband in order to send him on a $10,000 taxpayer-funded study tour to numerous European nations.
In a promotional segment for Draper that appeared on Today Tonight in May 2004, the production company named Sands as a possible murder victim.
Sands sued Channel Seven and ABC for defamation, and the case dragged on for five years. The phoney murder accusations, he said, had destroyed his career and personal life.
On air in July 2009, Graham Archer of Channel Seven said that an investigation into Corinna’s murder had been conducted because of the lawsuit, with Sands being the only suspect based on the available evidence.
Archer mentioned that Sands had lied to the police multiple times and was unable to explain where he was around the time of Corinna’s murder. However, Sands’s colleagues at the time disproved of his claim that he had been at the studio’s darkroom on July 4, 1997. It’s hard to understand why Sands would fabricate a story if he knew his coworkers wouldn’t believe him.
The defamation claim that Sands filed against Channel Seven and ABC was unsuccessful. The judge found that Sands had lied to authorities about where he was on the day Corinna was murdered, and that the evidence “constituted reasonable grounds on which the plaintiff, as of May 2004, could rightly have been accused of the murder of Corinna Marr.”
“Under the totality of the circumstances,” the court said, “I cannot accept the plaintiff as a witness of truth.” The judge emphasised that his decision in favour of the media outlets should not be regarded as evidence that Sands was responsible for Corinna’s death. An article on Crikey.com.au stated.
In 2012, Sands’ attorney Paul Heywood-Smith, QC, attempted to depict a bungled murder investigation on the verge of a cover-up during court proceedings for Sands’ defamation action against the state of South Australia.
He testified that in 2004, his client was told by Detective Senior Sergeant John Keane that there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges for the murder of Corinna. No evidence of Sands’s presence at the Marr home was discovered by the police. In addition, there were no calls to or from Corinna in the weeks before her murder, as shown by a review of Sands’s phone records.
According to Heywood-Smith, Corinna had an affair with a different photographer who drove a black Mercedes. It has been claimed the photographer took sexually explicit photos of Corinna. The male suspect’s true identity has yet to be determined. Heywood-Smith maintained that the police had wrongfully identified Sands as the mysterious photographer.
In addition, Sands’s lawyer claimed that the police had refused to turn over witness testimony, Corinna’s journal, and telephone intercepts.
Only Corinna’s husband, according to Heywood-Smith, had motive to kill her, so he accused Marr of paying off one of his biker friends to do it. Robert, according to anonymous witness “Mr. X,” was a member of the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club.
In an interview with Ms. Marr’s boss, real estate agent Colin Todd, on July 22, 1998, “Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Crameri, who fronted a Major Crime team probing the murder, confirmed the claims made by Mr. X were passed on,” as reported by PerthNow.com.au.
Unfortunately, Mr. X was never interviewed by investigators.
Crameri stated that he looked into the allegations of Marr’s membership in the motorcycle gang but found no proof that Marr was actually a member.
Corinna was unhappy in her marriage, according to Heywood-Smith, who also cited statements from her relatives and friends as evidence. Corinna and her husband had a history of fighting, and their friends and neighbours had seen them get physical on multiple occasions.
Paula Petrunic, Corinna’s best friend, testified that she did not remember any problems between the marriage and that Corinna would have notified her about any abuse if it had occurred.
According to Petrunic, “we shared a lot of personal information with each other and spent a lot of time together.”
In addition, Petrunic said that she had never heard of Sands before Corinna’s death and that she believed Corinna may have had affairs without telling her.
At trial, Detective Keane testified that he had interviewed Marr about the murder of Corinna many hours after it had occurred.
Marr claimed he got home around 3:50 p.m. on July 4, 1997, but it wasn’t until he went to get the mail and made a couple of phone calls that he realised his wife was dead in the bedroom. He said he entered a dark bedroom.
Justice Kelly: “Why did you so quickly discount the possibility that this was not just a man setting up a false trail?”
Keane: “It was just unusual the way he said he found his wife, how he walked into the bedroom and didn’t see her and went about the house and went outside and came back in again and made the phone calls.”
Keane thought Robert’s story of finding Corinna’s body “so bizarre it had to be genuine.”
Marr’s “efforts to resuscitate Corinna while he was on the phone to paramedics further demonstrated he was not participating,” as Keane put it.
It was said that Marr’s bedroom was quite cramped. Combine that with the fact that it was daylight and it’s hard to imagine that Marr didn’t notice his wife’s body when he walked in.
Keane stated that witnesses corroborated his account of Marr’s whereabouts on the afternoon of Corinna’s murder. However, one witness directly contradicted Keane’s testimony.
A neighbour who saw Marr’s picture in the news shortly after Corrina’s murder alerted the local Crimestoppers. On the day of Corinna’s murder, she claimed to have seen two guys exiting a car that was either orange or red and parked in front of her house. Over an hour passed before the men finally got up and left, at about 3:40 in the afternoon. They were two men, and she named Robert Marr as one of them.
As soon as Keane found out that the woman had confused Marr for the culprit, he let her know that she was wrong because Marr had been at work during the sighting.
She called lately through Crime Stoppers with information, and Keane said that “we spoke to her to convince her that her information is not correct.”
Marr’s father was a police chaplain, according to testimony provided by Heywood-Smith, and Marr was never asked to provide an alibi. He lobbied hard for Marr to get more attention in court rather than Sands. In 2013, Sands’ slander claim against the company was unsuccessful.
Curiously, he was never charged with Corinna’s death, and the investigation has stalled.
A little over five months after Corinna’s murder, Marr upped and moved to Las Vegas to join Cirque du Soleil. Corinna’s murder remains unsolved.