Jesse Baird death: NSW commissioner sparks backlash

The head of NSW police has sparked furious backlash after describing the alleged murders of a TV star and his boyfriend as a “crime of passion”.

In a shocking update on the investigation into the deaths of Sydney couple Jesse Baird, 26, and Luke Davies, 29, on Monday morning, it was revealed that NSW police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon allegedly bought an angle grinder and weight prior to travelling to a rural property.

Former celebrity blogger Lamarre-Condon, 28, has not assisted police since turning himself in on Friday morning and the bodies of his alleged victims have not been found.

When addressing the media after the update, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb described the alleged murders as “a crime of passion”.

Ms Webb made the statement when asked about whether police officers should attend Sydney’s upcoming Mardi Gras celebrations.

“My view, yes… we have been participating in Mardi Gras for the last 20 years and haven’t missed a year,” she said.

“And I would hate to see that this is the year that we are excluded because of the actions of one person that is not gay hate-related. This is a crime of passion, we will allege. It is domestic related, we allege, and that would be a real travesty for this organisation to be excluded.”

Many were quick to express their shock over what some viewed as an “extremely problematic” term on social media.

“This was the most appalling press conference, I gasped when she said it was a crime of passion,” one person wrote.

“Using the phrase ‘crime of passion’ is extremely problematic,” another wrote.

Police outline timeline of alleged double murder

Assistant Commissioner David Hudson outlined the timeline of the alleged murder, revealing neighbours reported hearing gunshots in Paddington about 9.50am on February 19.

That had not been reported to police at the time and the number of shots fired is yet to be determined.

It will be alleged in court Lamarre-Condon signed out a service weapon from Miranda police station on Thursday – four days before the alleged murders – and returned it the day after it was allegedly used to kill Mr Baird and Mr Davies.

A triple-0 call was allegedly made from Mr Baird’s phone on Monday about 9.54am but the call disconnected without any words being spoken.

On Tuesday text messages were allegedly sent from Mr Baird’s phone to his housemates purporting that he was moving to Perth and instructing them to put his items in storage.

Police allege the messages were sent by Lamarre-Condon, Mr Baird’s former boyfriend, who had previously displayed “predatory” behaviour during their relationship which ended late last year.

Asst Commissioner Hudson also alleged the accused killer purchased an angle grinder and padlock on Wednesday from a local hardware store before driving to the rural property.

“The angle grinder was used to sever a padlock from the gate of that particular rural property and subsequently that padlock was replaced with a padlock purchased from the hardware store,” he alleged.

Lamarre-Condon and an acquaintance, who has not been named, allegedly returned to Sydney later that afternoon.

The acquaintance was described as a “long term friend” of the accused who was unaware of why they made the journey.

Police allege a “suspicious” Lamarre-Condon returned to the property alone later to move the bodies.

At 11pm on Wednesday, police allege weights were purchased from a department store.

“It is believed that the accused returned to that rural property during – overnight and during that evening, having acquired two torches from the acquaintance,” Asst Commissioner Hudson said.

“We can indicate at 4.30am on Thursday morning, we can place the accused leaving the Bungonia area again.

Police divers are today searching a farm with multiple dams in Bungonia, regional NSW, as the search for the bodies continues.

Police uninivited from Mardi Gras

On Monday evening NSW Police revealed that officers had been uninvited from marching at Saturday’s Mardi Gras parade in Sydney.

“The NSW Police Force has been advised that the board of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras decided to withdraw the invitation … to participate in this year’s event,” a police spokesperson said.

“While disappointed with this outcome, NSW Police will continue to work closely with the LGBTIQA+ community and remain committed to working with organisers to provide a safe environment for all those participating in and supporting this Saturday’s parade.”

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said she was “disappointed and dismayed” by the decision.

“We are humans, we are representative of the community we serve and so we should be there,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

“Conversations we’ve been having are around the under reporting of crimes in the queer community. How is this going to help that?”

NSW Police have marched in the parade for 20 years with Ms Webb taking part for many years.

However, their inclusion was already being called into question after an inquiry into the unsolved murders and deaths of dozens of the LGBTI community over 40 years.

Justice John Sackar, who led the inquiry, pointed at the “shameful homophobia, transphobia and prejudice” within NSW Police.

Ms Webb apologised to families of gay hate crimes on Sunday.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich previously said the number of unsolved murders the report has recommended needed further investigation was “harrowing”.

“The hard truth of this report is, if someone like me — a gay man — was murdered in the 70s, 80s or 90s, it was highly likely the police would not care,” he told the ABC.

The first Mardi Gras parade in Sydney in 1978 was broken up by brutal police action.

Around 500 people marched in support of New York’s Stonewall movement, calling for an end to the criminalisation of homosexual acts and discrimination against homosexuals.

But the peaceful protest ended in police violence and mass arrests.

Twenty years later police began marching at Mardi Gras in solidarity with the LGBTI community but many have had mixed feelings about their involvement.

Anger within the LGBTI community has also been stoked by pictures of Lamarre-Condon taking part in the Mardi Gras parade in full uniform in 2020.

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