Murdered singer Joanne Howell’s ex-boyfriend opens up about being a suspect in her death.
Murdered singer Joanne Howell’s ex-boyfriend opens up about being a suspect in her death.

Howell’s ex reveals what it’s like being a murder suspect

The former boyfriend of Melbourne TV singer and mum Joanne Howell says he accepts he will never shake off being a suspect in her death.

Paul Charlton said he did not kill Ms Howell but, 13 years on from the tragedy, he could still not prove that to police ­investigators.

"I'm concerned that I'll never reach that point. I feel like I'm a victim of circumstances," Mr Charlton said.

"I've resigned myself to being in this situation for the rest of my life. I'm not able to prove anything."

The former pub karaoke event singer has never been charged but said he understood why he had been of interest to police, given what is known of the events of April 21, 2007.

Mr Charlton told investigators he had argued with Ms Howell that night at their ­Hughesdale house and went for a two-hour walk in the rain with their dog Bundy.

He said on his return he towelled Bundy dry before finding Ms Howell, whom a pathologist later said had been bashed then strangled.

In 2011, coroner Paresa Spanos found Mr Charlton had caused or contributed to her death.

The finding said: "(It was) highly improbable that on … the day when a difficult relationship broke down … an unknown assailant forced his/her way into the unit, inflicted fatal injuries on Ms Howell and left without leaving any sign of a struggle or taking anything."

Mr Charlton did not give evidence at the inquest but said this week the killing was the work of an unknown intruder who came through the garage to enter the Poath Road house. He said he had no idea who that person was.

"I know there's someone out there who did this," Mr Charlton said. "I know I didn't do it."

Ms Howell was an accomplished singer who worked with former Countdown star Jon St Peters in the 1970s.

Mr Charlton said she had asked him to move into ­another bedroom in the period before the tragedy. They never had a physical altercation.

After the inquest the case was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but no charges were laid.

Ms Howell's sister Lisa Hennessy said: "It's as plain as day who's done it. I know in my heart that it's going to be solved."

Victoria Police said: "The investigation remains open. Police will thoroughly investigate any new information. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000."

mark.buttler@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Howell's ex reveals what it's like being a murder suspect


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