ON BAIL: Rhianna Jade Fing leaves Toowoomba Courthouse after entering a plea of not guilty to murder arising from the death of Debbie Combarngo.
ON BAIL: Rhianna Jade Fing leaves Toowoomba Courthouse after entering a plea of not guilty to murder arising from the death of Debbie Combarngo.

Three women plead not guilty to murder of Debbie Combarngo

THREE women accused of murder arising from the death of Toowoomba mother Debbie Combarngo have formally pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Rhonda Ann Hall, 31, Shiralee Fernando, 32, and Rhianna Jade Fing, 31, made separate appearances before Toowoomba Supreme Court this morning.

Each pleaded not guilty to the murder of Debbie Maree Combarngo, 37, who sustained fatal injuries during an assault at a McGregor St unit on Sunday, May 6, 2018.

The trio also pleaded not guilty to charges of entering the unit with intent while armed and in company that same day, the assault occasioning bodily harm of Claudia Combarngo while armed and in company, and the assault occasioning bodily harm of Claudia’s boyfriend Tristan Hooper while armed and in company.

Claudia Combarngo, Debbie’s daughter, and Tristan Hooper had been staying at the unit.

During the sentence hearing on Tuesday of six other people who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter arising from Debbie Combarngo’s death, the same court heard she had sustained multiple injuries after being allegedly struck by objects such as a hammer, golf club and metal pole, though she had primarily died of a stab wound to the chest.

Justice Peter Callaghan adjourned the murder trial to January 18 next year and remanded Rhonda Hall and Shiralee Fernando in custody while Rhianna Fing, who has been on Supreme Court bail, had that bail enlarged.

Justice Callaghan said due to COVID restrictions and the size of courtrooms in Toowoomba, there could be issues with holding the trial in Toowoomba.

He said if possible the trial should be held in the Toowoomba jurisdiction but if wasn’t possible the expected three-week trial could be moved to Brisbane.

However, he said he would ask the court registrar to investigate the matter and report back when next the Supreme Court sits in Toowoomba on December 7.

Originally published as Three women plead not guilty to murder of Debbie Combarngo