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Betty Dixon's family call for answers over 1982 murder of Northern Ireland woman on Australia

Betty Dixon
Betty Dixon
Her twin brother William outside court in Australia
Ex-cricketer Rodney Lawrence

By Cate McCurry

The family of a Northern Ireland woman brutally murdered in 1982 say they just want to know why she was attacked and stabbed 27 times.

Betty Dixon's twin brother and her sister made a heartfelt plea in an Australian court after Rodney Lawrence, a former cricketer, admitted tying the Holywood woman up after she was killed.

Her body was discovered in her car in bushland north of Sydney three days after she disappeared.

Betty's twin William Dixon said that after 35 years of asking why, the family will have to move on with their lives.

Speaking outside court, the Bangor man said: "We wanted to know why - why she was singled out, why it happened.

"Rodney Lawrence has got away with not saying a thing about this.

"We haven't got the answers that we searched for and we'll probably never get them."

Lawrence (66) had originally been charged with knifing the Co Down woman to death but pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the crime.

He claimed another man, now dead, killed her.

"The impact on the family, both here in Australia and Northern Ireland, has been devastating," William said.

"[He] has not yet passed on any information that would give us closure."

In a victim impact statement read to the New South Wales Supreme Court, Betty's sister Ann Martin said: "It's the 'why' that hurts so much." She said that Lawrence's guilty plea left the family with even more unanswered questions.

Ms Martin said her sister, a 31-year-old squash centre worker, had hoped to get married and have children after moving from Northern Ireland to start a new life in Australia before she was murdered.

Lawrence, who was arrested in October 2015, was due to face trial for her murder last month but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to the accessory charge.

A judge suppressed the name of a man, who died in late 2010, who prosecutors and Lawrence say was the actual killer.

Lawrence told his son the man had killed Betty because she wouldn't have sex with him, telling him he was old.

He admitted helping the unknown man shift the body to bushland and throwing her car keys away.

Ms Martin told the court last Wednesday that her sister had been too young to die and did not deserve to be killed.

Lawrence will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Belfast Telegraph


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