Stephanie Scott murder: Killer brought his 'rape kit'

By Sarah Crawford

Bride-to-be Stephanie Scott was 26 when she was murdered. Photo: Facebook
Bride-to-be Stephanie Scott was 26 when she was murdered. Photo: Facebook

The cleaner who murdered teacher Stephanie Scott had prepared a "rape kit" which he used when he sexually assaulted and killed the bride-to-be, documents tendered to the Supreme Court in Australia have revealed.

For the first time, the details of the 26-year-old's shocking rape and murder by cleaner Vincent Stanford (then 24) on Easter Sunday last year at Leeton in central NSW have been revealed in court, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Facts tendered by the Crown reveal Vincent Stanford went to the school on April 5 last year and was surprised to find Ms Scott at work.

Ms Scott was preparing lessons for her students ahead of her wedding and honeymoon.

Court documents state when he saw Ms Scott he went home to collect his "rape kit" and returned to wait for her.

Documents revealed Stanford's kit included an Am-Tech knife with a 35cm-40cm blade.

The court has previously heard that evidence against Stanford included the erectile disfunction medication Viagra, plastic handcuffs and cleaning products.

"As she walked along the corridor after exiting the administration building Stephanie encountered Vincent Stanford who had been waiting for her, she said to him, 'I'm going home now, have a Happy Easter'."

Ms Scott went to unlock a steel gate and Vincent Stanford grabbed her from behind, around the waist, covered her mouth and began dragging her into a storeroom.

"Stephanie Scott was struggling and trying to yell as Vincent Stanford was dragging her towards the store room," the facts read.

Vincent Stanford pulled her into the storeroom, locked the door and raped her.

Afterwards, Vincent Stanford punched Ms Scott several times in the face and stabbed her in the neck - killing her.

He then drove her red Mazda car to a secluded part of the school before removing her body from the storeroom and placing it in the vehicle.

He then went back to the storeroom to clean the scene of the crime.

Vincent Stanford drove her car to his home that he shared with his mother Anneke Noort and brother Luke, leaving the vehicle behind the shed.

In the early hours of the morning, he drove Ms Scott's car to Cocoparra National Park, 70km from Leeton.

"(He) removed Stephanie's naked body from the boot of her car and placed her on the ground. He then placed tree branches of differing sizes over her lower torso before pouring petrol onto the branches and setting her alight."

Vincent Stanford was arrested and charged for her murder several days later.

On April 11, a day after police found Stephanie's body, he confessed to his horrific crime in a recorded interview with police.

He told police that he had "struck her in the carotid artery" with an AM-Tech USA knife that had a 35cm to 40cm blade.

When police asked him why he did so Vincent Stanford replied, "to make sure she was dead".

Vincent Stanford has pleaded guilty to Ms Scott murder and is set to be sentenced in the Supreme Court in October.

"Burnt beyond recognition"

Ms Scott's mother has told the court how her family went to the site where her body had been "burnt beyond recognition" to search for her engagement ring.

Merrilyn Scott told a court she had given the jewellery and another crossover ring to her daughter following her graduation from university.

She said after her daughter's death the family had gone to the site where her body had been "burnt beyond recognition" to search for the rings.

"It was confronting to see the ground charred and disturbed," Stephanie's mum said.

She said they used metal detectors but did not recover the rings.

The sentence hearing was told today the twin brother of a man who murdered Stephanie before her marriage sold the rings for $705.

The murdered woman's mother told the hearing Stephanie represented, "all that was good about human kind."

"Losing Stephanie has turned our lives upside down ... a day has not passed that we have not shed a tear for our beautiful daughter."

Vince Stanford's twin brother faces sentencing

Marcus Stanford is facing a sentence hearing after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact to the murder of Ms Scott, who was raped and murdered by his twin brother Vincent Stanford.

The court heard that after the murder, Vincent Stanford posted an envelope to Marcus which contained two rings and her driver's licence.

The officer in charge of the investigation gave evidence at the sentence hearing on what police found when they searched Marcus's Adelaide Hills home in South Australia.

"You learnt eventually that the envelope contained rings and a driver's licence that belonged to Stephanie Scott - an engagement ring and a crossover ring given to her by her mother," the Crown Prosecutor Paul Kerr asked.

"That's correct," the officer in charge replied.

Detective Sergeant Timothy Clark told the court police found a business card for Adelaide Exchange Jewellers at Marcus Stanford's home.

The business confirmed they bought the two rings from Stanford for $705.

In a later interview, Marcus Stanford told police that he had burnt Stephanie Scott's driver's licence but had taken photos of the item beforehand.

"He said (he took the photos) just in case one day he needed to show the police," Sgt Clark said.

Stanford pleads guilty to rape and murder

Vincent Stanford has pleaded guilty to raping and murdering the 26-year-old teacher in Leeton on April 5 last year, days before her wedding.

The Leeton High School cleaner, attacked Ms Scott when she went into the school on Easter Sunday to prepare English and drama lessons for her students for when she was on her honeymoon in Tahiti.

Stanford had been planning to attack a 12-year-old student who lived close to the school and would regularly visit after hours but he came across Ms Scott instead.

Sometime after midday, just after Ms Scott had emailed a bus company to confirm a booking for her wedding guests, he attacked her, raping her in a staffroom.

Vincent Stanford then dumped her red Mazda in a field and took her body to Cocoparra National Park where he set it on fire.

Her body was found on April 10, the day before she was set to be married to partner of five years Aaron Leeson-Woolley.

In the days after the murder, Vincent Stanford posted Ms Scott's personal belongings, including her engagement ring, to his twin brother Marcus in South Australia.

Marcus was arrested and extradited to NSW where he was formally charged with being an accessory after the fact to Ms Scott's murder.

Sgt Clark told the hearing that after Ms Scott's disappearance Vincent Stanford became a focus of their investigation because his alibi did not check out.

He told the hearing Vincent Stanford provided a statement to police on April 8 that he went to a supermarket to buy groceries on Easter Sunday.

But the supermarket was in fact closed on that day.

Sgt Clark said police then went to Vincent's home where he lived with his mother Anneke and older brother Luke.

Vincent was not at home but his mother gave officers permission to search Vincent's bedroom and they found keys for Leeton High School.

Sgt Clark said further inquiries revealed the set of keys were given to Ms Scott by another teacher so she could access the school.

After that, Vincent returned home and told police he had been out "taking photographs".

"We found the last two photos taken on the camera were of a burnt deceased body," Sgt Clark said.

When he was asked what the photos were of Sgt Clark said Stanford told him, "that he had downloaded them from a horror movie onto his camera."

Sgt Clark said in a further search of Vincent Stanford's bedroom they found Ms Scott's red bra in a backpack and, in a search of the shed, officers found the boot liner of Ms Scott's car.

A further examination on Vincent's car revealed blood on a laminated board in the back of the vehicle.

When Vincent was initially arrested and interviewed he denied the crime or even knowing Ms Scott.

He later made a full admission.

Teacher's jewellery pawned for $705

Stephanie Scott's mother has told of her sorrow that she will never recover two precious reminders of her lost daughter.

The murdered teacher's diamond engagement ring, given to her by fiance Aaron Leeson-Woolley, and a graduation ring from her proud parents were pawned for A$705 and melted down, the Supreme Court has been told.

Merrilyn Scott yesterday described her sadness at the loss of the "treasured little rings," and told how police used metal detectors to search for the jewellery on the charred ground where murderer Vincent Stanford had burnt Stephanie's body.

Mrs Scott read her victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing of Stanford's identical twin brother Marcus, 25, who pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of Stephanie's murder by receiving the rings from his brother in the post and pawning them.

Mrs Scott told the court how she and husband Rob bought a crossover ring for Stephanie on her graduation from university, "as we had done with her sisters".

She said the engagement ring "held the promise of a lifetime" with her fiance.

"Two little rings. How significant they were in life, and now in death," Mrs Scott read in a quavering voice.

She said police went to great lengths to try to recover the rings for her family.

"They could see that having them returned to us would be a great help, when so much had been taken away."

A month after Ms Scott's body was found, Marcus Stanford sold the rings to Adelaide Exchange Jewellers for $705 cash. The rings were then scrapped.

"The vision of them being removed from Stephanie's hands sickens us and fills us with despair," she said.

- The Daily Telegraph

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