Chappell case: call for inquest

TASMANIA'S Chief Magistrate has been asked to conduct an inquest into the death of a Hobart medical scientist whose former partner is serving a 23-year sentence for his murder. 

Radiation physicist Bob Chappell, 65, was last seen alive on his yacht Four Winds on January 26, 2009. 

His partner, Sue Neill-Fraser, was convicted of his murder in October 2010 but has steadfastly maintained her innocence. 

Mr Chappell's body was never found. 

The sabotaged yacht was partially submerged but still on its mooring at Sandy Bay the day after he disappeared. 

Ms Neill-Fraser's representative, former Integrity Commission chief executive  Barbara Etter, made the request for the inquest  on the four-year anniversary of Mr Chappell's disappearance. 

She said there had never been a completed formal inquest into his death. 

``Ms Neill-Fraser's conviction was based entirely on a circumstantial case, with no body, no weapon, no forensic evidence linking her to the crime scene, no plausible motive, no admissions or confessions and no eyewitnesses to the actual crime,'' Mrs Etter said yesterday. 

Neill-Fraser's daughter Sarah Bowles has likened her mother's case to that of Lindy Chamberlain and the death of her baby Azaria at Uluru in 1980. 

``There is a palpable and continuing sense of unease and disquiet in the community about the case and the soundness of our mother's conviction,'' Mrs Bowles said.