Blood spots found on yacht

Mrs Neill-Fraser's former husband Brett Meeker leaves court with daughter Sarah Bowles.*(1/2)
Mrs Neill-Fraser's former husband Brett Meeker leaves court with daughter Sarah Bowles.*(1/2)


THERE were spots of blood on board the sinking yacht where medical scientist Bob Chappell was allegedly seen alive for the last time, the Supreme Court in Hobart heard yesterday.

Susan Neill-Fraser, 56, of West Hobart, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Chappell, who went missing from the couple's yacht Four Winds in January 2009.

Mr Chappell's body has never been found.

Sandy Bay Rowing Club coach Daryl Balding told a jury that he had taken a police officer out to Four Winds about 7am on January 27, 2009, in his dinghy after he and those he was training noticed that the ketch "looked like it was sinking".

He and Constable Craig Stockdale were the first to arrive at the yacht, which was taking on water.

After an initial search, Constable Stockdale asked Mr Balding to board the vessel because he had gumboots on and could help determine whether anyone was on board.

Mr Balding said he saw blood.

"Police told me to avoid a couple of spots of blood on the steps," Mr Balding said.

In other evidence, Detective Constable Marissa Milazzo said that Ms Neill-Fraser was worried that drugs had been smuggled aboard Four Winds.

Constable Milazzo read to the jury notes that she took in a conversation with Ms Neill-Fraser at the home of the accused on February 5.

She said that Ms Neill-Fraser and her long-term partner had two "rows" in the lead-up to his disappearance.

The couple believed their yacht had been broken into in early January.

Ms Neill-Fraser wanted sniffer dogs to search the yacht but Mr Chappell did not.

"She said Bob was petrified of the boat getting a bad name and people not wanting to go on it," Constable Milazzo said.

Constable Milazzo inspected Four Winds on January 27 alongside Ms Neill-Fraser, who was called to outline whether anything was missing or had been disturbed.

Ms Neill-Fraser had pointed out a number of things on the boat that were out of place but touched "lots of things" despite being told not to do so, Constable Milazzo said.