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Pfennig sentenced to 35 years' jail for Louise Bell murder


Dieter Pfennig has been jailed for at least 35 years for the abduction and murder of Adelaide schoolgirl Louise Bell in 1983.

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Pfennig, 68, is already in jail for the murder of another child.

In the South Australian Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Michael David added the 35 years for the Bell killing to his existing non-parole period, giving him a new minimum term of 60 years, from when he was first jailed in 1989.

The imposing sentence means Pfennig would be more than 100 if he were to come up for release, effectively meaning he will die in prison.

Ten-year-old Louise was taken from the bedroom of her parents’ home at Hackham West and while presumed dead, her body has not been found.

Pfennig was charged in 2013 after DNA scientists in the Netherlands linked him to the girl’s pyjama top, which was left folded on a neighbour’s lawn.

During the trial, Prosecutor Sandi McDonald said the chance of a random male providing such a DNA match was greater than one in one billion.

The neighbour who found the top also received a call from a man who told her to look under a broken brick at a nearby corner, where police found Louise’s earrings.

In sentencing submissions today, McDonald urged Justice David to give Pfennig no hope of freedom.

“Your honour should impose a non-parole period that would make it clear to the community and this man that he has no expectation of any life after prison,” she said.

But defence counsel asked the judge to be lenient, telling the court Pfennig maintained his innocence.


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