Police charge man over cold case murder of two Kiwis, Australian

The man charged with killing two Kiwi men and an Australian woman has faced court for the first time.

For four decades, Bruce Preston lived out of the spotlight - but now the 63-year-old is at the centre of a cold case investigation and charged with three counts of murder.

Preston was 23 years-old when three young friends - Australian Karen Edwards, and Kiwis Timothy Thomson, 29, and Gordon Twaddle, 21 - were shot dead in Queensland.

Preston was on the police radar at the time after being fined for stealing Thomson's motorbike. Now back in police custody, he's accused of a far more serious crime: killing the three friends.

Twaddle's brother John says after so long, it's hard to believe.

"I'm still digesting it," he told Newshub.

"[I] don't feel over-excited or elated or 'thank God they caught him'. It's just getting it in their brain that after 40 years, they got someone." 

It was in 1978 that Twaddle and his two friends were last seen alive at a small campground near Mount Isa. More than two weeks later, their bodies were discovered in remote bushland at Spear Creek, 12km away.

It was a grisly end to a motorbike journey that should have been the trip of a lifetime.

"It was a big adventure because Gordon hadn't been out of the country before," John Twaddle says. "He was full of life. Loved motorbikes."

The mystery of how his life came to such a tragic end had remained unsolved until this weekend.

Police believe Preston was known to the trio, but won't say what led to his arrest.

For now he remains in police custody, leaving three families to continue to wait patiently for justice as they have done for 41 years.


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