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Lead us to Louise's body: judge to Pfennig

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Rick Goodman

The judge who found Dieter Pfennig guilty of Louise Bell's murder has urged him to reveal where the Adelaide schoolgirl's body lies, saying he wants to bring the "whole ghastly thing" to an end.

He has also asked him to reveal the whereabouts of the body of another child he killed.

Supreme Court Justice Michael David delivered his verdict in Pfennig's trial on Friday, ruling the 68-year-old murdered the 10-year-old girl more than 30 years ago.

Louise was snatched through her bedroom window in Hackham West at night in January 1983 and her body has never been found.

Justice David urged Pfennig to tell police where Louise's body is so her family and authorities could have closure.

"That may or may not affect my sentencing," he told the court in Adelaide.

'"But I want to bring this whole ghastly thing to an end."

He also urged the killer to reveal the location of the body of 10-year-old Michael Black, who Pfennig was convicted of murdering in 1989.

Pfennig was charged with Louise's murder in 2013 after DNA scientists in the Netherlands linked him to her pyjama top, which was found folded on a neighbour's lawn.

The evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Pfennig was the murderer, the judge said.

The courtroom overflowed with family, supporters, police and journalists for the verdict, with some forced to sit on the floor.

Pfennig, a former maths and science teacher, appeared in a blue prison-issue tracksuit and showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

The Bell family released a statement to the media, read outside court by Brevet Sergeant Anthony van der Stelt with the family standing alongside.

"Today's verdict leaves us feeling relieved and while it is a significant outcome, it is not the end of this difficult journey," the family said.

"Our beloved 10-year-old daughter was taken from her own bedroom, a place where she should be safe, and has never come home.

"Today is the culmination of our struggles to find answers for Louise. It is a small victory for Louise."

Louise's disappearance sparked a police search of unprecedented scale in suburban Adelaide and it remained one of South Australia's most enduring cold cases.

Another man, Raymond Geesing, was originally sentenced to life in prison for Louise's murder but that decision was quashed on appeal in 1985.

Pfennig did not give evidence at his trial, which ran for several months over 2015 and 2016.

During the trial, prosecutor Sandi McDonald said the chances of a random male providing the DNA match on the top were greater than one in one billion.

Defence lawyer Paul Charman argued the evidence fell short, saying the DNA could have transferred to the pyjama top through contact with Pfennig's daughter, who played basketball with Louise.

The neighbour who found the top also received a phone call from a man who told her to look under a broken brick at a nearby corner, where police found the Louise's earrings.

Prosecutors said Prennig admitted killing Louise to his fellow inmates on two separate occasions while he was in jail for Michael's murder.

Witnesses at the trial included Pfennig's daughter, a librarian, a student, police officers and forensic specialists.

Pfennig will return to court in December for sentencing submissions.

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