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Molly Ticehurst: NSW Government seeks advice on whether to overhaul bail laws after mum’s tragic death

Remy Varga, Georgina Noack
The Nightly
NSW Premier Chris Minns said he would seek advice on how Ticehurst’s alleged murderer, her ex-boyfriend Daniel Billings, had been bailed in the weeks before her death over charges of raping and stalking the 28-year-old childcare worker.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said he would seek advice on how Ticehurst’s alleged murderer, her ex-boyfriend Daniel Billings, had been bailed in the weeks before her death over charges of raping and stalking the 28-year-old childcare worker. Credit: Supplied

The NSW government is seeking urgent advice on whether to overhaul the state’s bail laws after the alleged murder of mum Molly Ticehurst by her former partner who was on bail over charges he had raped and stalked her in the months before her death.

Women’s Minister Katy Gallagher on Wednesday said the prevalence and extent of violence against women was a national crisis while rallies decrying the issue are planned in cities across Australia this week.

Victorian homicide detectives confirmed they were interviewing a 38-year-old man after the body of a woman was found in the town of Cobram that straddles the NSW and Victorian border just days after Ticehurst’s alleged murder.

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Ticehurst, a childcare worker and mother-of-one, became at least the 25th woman allegedly killed by a man in Australia this year was found in the early hours of Monday morning at her home in the town of Forbes in central NSW, about 370km west of Sydney.

Her former partner Daniel Billings, a 28-year-old amateur boxer, has been charged over her alleged murder after being released on an interim apprehended violence order and a $5,000 bail by a registrar at Dubbo Local Court on April 6.

Billings had been charged with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent and four charges of stalking and intimidation as well as recklessly destroying Ticehurst’s car window and a pedestal fan as well as aggravated animal cruelty against her 12-week-old dachshund puppy.

NSW Premier Chris Minns on Wednesday said the state government was seeking advice on how Billings had been bailed that would also consider whether state bail laws required urgent reform and examine the power of registrars to grant bail.

“This was a terrible, terrible death,” he said.

“An alleged murder of a young mum in a town that’s deeply traumatized as a result.

“The terrible scourge of domestic violence leaves a deep and lasting impact.

“And the death of these women, often at the hands of a family member is escalating and of course, horrifying to the people of New South Wales.

“To put it simply, there are serious questions for the New South Wales Government to answer as to how this alleged offender was out on bail.”

NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley is seeking urgent advice from Crown Advocate David Kell and the NSW Bail Act Monitoring Group, which is comprised of representatives from police, the community and justice department and court services.

“The Crown Advocate will look at the legal aspects of the granting of bail [while] the Bail Act Monitoring Group will look at operational aspects,” he said.

The advice will examine bail laws in the state, including on the role of registrars in regional communities over the weekend and explore whether magistrates could use audiovisual links.

Violence against women advocacy group What Were You Wearing Australia is planning rallies in cities across Australia over Friday, Saturday and Sunday including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Ballarat.

Earlier this month Hannah McGuire became the third women killed in Ballarat in about two months after she was allegedly murdered by her former partner Lachlan Young, who was on bail at the time of the alleged offending over unrelated charges.

Womens Minister Katy Gallagher on Wednesday said it was depressing her daughters were facing the same issues she had when she was a young woman.

“You take action against violent perpetrators, you do all the right things and we still have these cases,” said Senator Gallagher.

“I don’t think there’s one easy answer. There’s not. And there’s not one government that can solve it because the problem is deeper than that and it requires all of us.

“It requires, I think, a conversation with men about what’s happening and relationships with women and, you know, supporting women in this country.”

Senator Gallagher, who is also Finance Minister, said preventing violence against was not just a question of money and said the problem ran much deeper.

“That’s why I think we need to think about the role that we ask men to play in this debate and how we make sure that we’re all working together to keep women safe,” she said.

In Victoria, police confirmed that homicide detectives were investigating the death of a woman in the town of Cobram whose body was found at a home in Campbell Road.

The woman has yet to be formally identified and on Wednesday a 39-year-old man was assisting police with their inquiries. The parties are believed to be known to each other.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan on Wednesday said more work needed to be done to strengthen support provided by state, territory and federal governments but said every individual had a role to play in calling out the disrespect of women.

“We have seen too many women already in 2024 lose their lives,” she said.

“They’ve lost their life either at the hands of a current or former partner or they’ve lost their life at the hands of a complete stranger who seemed intent on inflicting harm against women.

“This has to stop.”

Molly Ticehurst's body was found at a house in Forbes.
Molly Ticehurst's body was found at a house in Forbes. Credit: Supplied

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