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Townsville murder accused faces court

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016 Stuart Layt

A 19-year-old man has appeared briefly in court, charged with the murder of a woman in her North Queensland home.

Rosemary Russo, 59, was bashed to death in the Townsville suburb of Deeragun on Thursday morning, in what police believe was a break-and-enter gone wrong.

Her alleged killer, James Mabo, was brought to police on Thursday afternoon by local indigenous elders and questioned by detectives for three hours before being charged with Ms Russo's murder on Thursday night.

He faced Townsville Magistrates Court on Friday and was remanded in custody until his next appearance on February 24.

Ms Russo, a well-known local figure, ran a family daycare centre from her home.

Regional Crime Co-ordinator Superintendent Ray Rohweder said she suffered traumatic head injuries in the attack.

"It was a terrible scene, very grisly," Superintendent Rohweder told reporters on Thursday morning.

A neighbour said it was a shocking incident.

"It's terrible. She's looked after kids for a number of years. I used to drop off egg cartons for Easter stuff. It's just a shocking incident which you'd never see coming," the man told ABC radio.

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