Worlds collide: two dead, town in shock
A SCENE from Romper Stomper visited this idyllic beachside hamlet in far north Queensland, and nearly one year on there's only one fact everyone will agree on - no one's life will be the same.
The truth in Alva Beach is so extraordinary, it would scarcely have been believed - except it was captured in a frantic triple-0 call made by a scared young man in a darkened house, crouching in fear of the terrors of the night.
Family and friends believe without the audio of that call, this wisp of a lad, Dean Webber, would almost certainly be in jail, accused of double murder.
What happened was a blur of movement, of screams - sounds he'll never forget.
When dawn broke after NRL grand final night, two men were dead and a town was suffering wounds that locals say will take decades to heal.
Loved ones of Mr Webber, a 20-year-old diesel fitter, have exclusively told The Sunday Mail they fear he'd be in jail without the 50-minute tape.
In one of the nation's most bizarre double fatalities, the former air force cadet is ruled to have acted in self-defence to protect himself and an injured young woman, Candice Locke - a stranger to Mr Webber - who had banged on his door, crying in pain, in the dead of the night.
No charges have been laid against Mr Webber, and there is no suggestion he will be charged.
Families of the two victims, Ms Locke's boyfriend, Tom Davy, 27, and Alva Beach father-of-three Corey Christensen, 37, are demanding answers over the tragic circumstances that have torn the sleepy coastal town apart.
Hard to escape
The Sunday Mail, in a special investigation, has found police are yet to hand up a final brief of evidence and forensic reports to the coroner on the two stabbing deaths on September 30 last year.
Detectives have provided the triple-0 recording to the victims' families and interviewed scores of revellers who attended a booze-fuelled post-grand final party, to piece together the final moments of the puzzling stabbings.
Dean's father, Brett Webber, a well-respected builder and former Ayr surf club president, said there was still "a lot of raw emotion".
He spoke publicly for the first time to express his family's support for those affected as his son grapples with the night's horror.
"Everyone's still on edge,'' the father said. "It's almost a year and it'll all come up again on NRL grand final night.
"Everybody knows everybody in our little town. It's hard to escape it. Hopefully time will come soon for closure, and answers."
He said his son was fortunate the emergency call was left open by the operator and recorded the entire incident - almost an hour of terror - as it unfolded.
"We only had the phone transmitter installed three days earlier - before, you had to stand out the front of the house to get mobile phone reception. He's incredibly lucky that way, but very unlucky the other way. It's a lot for a young bloke to deal with.''
Dean Webber has been in therapy since the ordeal and has been trying to get on with life as best he can.
Recently he was seen around Alva Beach - looking thinner than usual - and at the local boat ramp, going fishing with his mates.
Family friend Neil Green said it was good to see him out and about.
That night of terror
Queensland police and the Queensland Ambulance Service are likely to face criticism over the response and 50-minute delay to attend the violent home invasion before the two stabbing victims bled to death in the street.
Ms Locke, 30, an animal rescue volunteer, had banged on Mr Webber's door before midnight begging for help after breaking her shoulder in a high-speed fall off a four-wheel buggy on the beach.
A drunk Ms Locke, crying and screaming in pain, reportedly told him, "don't let them get me, they are bad people" as a group of men twice turned up at the house rattling the windows and yelling at her to come out.
Mr Webber made two desperate calls for help and was first told to "see how it goes" by a solo officer at the closest police station - in Ayr, 15 minutes away - before he called the Triple-0 hotline.
In the unexplained violent home invasion, three men ripped the front door off its hinges and stormed the house, reportedly saying, "we've got you now, you little prick" as they throttled and punched Mr Webber.
Police have alleged Mr Webber picked up a 15cm knife in the melee, but told investigators he was unaware he'd stabbed anyone until he saw "blood on his hands".
According to police, NSW aircraft mechanic Mr Davy and Mr Christensen were stabbed inside before both staggered outside.
It is understood Mr Davy still had signs of life when the ambulance arrived, even after paramedics had waited for a police escort to respond.
The third man
Meanwhile, detectives have unmasked the identity of the mystery third man who stormed the house - a local amateur pig hunter. It is understood the man, who hasn't been charged, told investigators he saw nothing of the stabbings before he fled.
Member for Burdekin Dale Last said delays were only fuelling anger between families and "rumour and innuendo" in the community to "give the community the answers they want".
He said some relatives of the dead men wanted police action against Mr Webber.
"The families of the victims are looking for blood. They want to see the young fella in the clink,'' the ex-policeman said.
"But there's nothing that points to anything other than what has been portrayed. That's an act of self-defence to protect his own life and that of an injured female stranger as these men burst into his house and attacked him in the dark of night.
"Why the men did that - unless it was something really sinister other than them full of booze and bad manners - is the big unexplained question.
"Candice's evidence about what happened at the party and beach will be crucial to solving that piece of the puzzle."
Mr Last demanded the police investigation and inquest be fast-tracked.
"It has destroyed four families, shattered the tiny coastal hamlet of 250 people in Alva Beach, and rocked the entire community of the Burdekin district to its soul,'' he said.
The families are waiting
Ms Locke's father, Martin Locke, a prominent Townsville businessman and former Cowboys player, said they too were waiting for the inquest.
"Candice and our family will do everything we can to help the other families through this, they are hurting more than us,'' he said.
Mr Davy's family spoke to The Sunday Mail, but on legal advice, declined to make a public statement.
Mr Christensen's devastated wife, Jaye, has pleaded for answers over why her three young sons have been left without a father.
One source close to the investigation said: "It was crazy s--t. Dean was asleep at home.
"Candice was injured looking for help to call an ambulance.
"It's like something out of (the film) Romper Stomper. Why did the men bash down a door to get at them?"
Queensland's Department of Justice and Attorney-General said the deaths were first reported to northern coroner Nerida Wilson on October 2, 2018.
"The coroner is awaiting the provision of forensic reports and the police brief of evidence before considering any date for the inquest,'' a spokeswoman said.