– He got away with murdering his wife for more than 20 years until he started talking about it. To himself.
Cold Case Unit detectives had bugged John Vincent McDonald’s home in 2007 and recorded the conversations he was having with himself about the murder.
McDonald, 72, of Sunbury, was found guilty in 2011 of murdering his wife Marlene in December 1986, after he recruited three men to kidnap her from her Reservoir home before he killed her or had her killed. The 36-year-old mother of five has not been seen since.
On Monday, McDonald lost his application for leave to appeal the conviction. The Court of Appeal’s Justice Peter Buchanan, Justice Philip Priest and Justice Paul Coghlan unanimously dismissed the application.
In his overview of the case, Justice Priest said Marlene McDonald had disappeared during the weekend of December 13th and 14th, 1986. Her car was found at the Truck City cafe on the Hume Highway at Campbellfield where she had been working as a waitress.
Police had investigated Mrs McDonald’s disappearance as a missing persons case.
“The case was not investigated with the thoroughness it deserved,” Justice Priest said.
The case was later reopened as a cold case in 2003 and again in 2007 and, as part of the investigation, McDonald was questioned and listening devices were installed in his car and his house.
In 2008, a fingerprint from McDonald’s car was identified as that of Gregory Bone. Bone was one of three men who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Ms McDonald.
During McDonald’s trial, the court heard the couple had separated 13 months before Mrs McDonald vanished, following what had been a violent relationship. McDonald became furious when his estranged wanted custody of their children and developed a “jealous obsession” about her seeing other men.
“Perhaps the most unusual feature of this case was that the applicant (McDonald) frequently conversed with himself out loud,” Justice Priest said. “Subjects of his discourse with himself included his wife’s disappearance and what might have happened to her.
“He rehearsed and role-played conversations he might have with the police, and he speculated as to the nature of the evidence they may find that could implicate him.
“Since listening devices had been installed in his car and his home, the jury were able to listen to these ruminations.”
Justice Priest said excerpts of the recordings played to the jury included soliloquies in which:
– McDonald demonstrated his animosity towards Mrs McDonald.
– McDonald displayed knowledge of the abduction.
– McDonald referred to “Bino” (Donald Binion, one of the kidnappers) when police had no idea Bino was involved in the abduction.
– McDonald expressed concern about the possibility of his DNA being found on items linked to the kidnapping.
The appeal judges said they did not believe there had been a miscarriage of justice.
“In the circumstances, any suggestion that he did not kill her (Mrs McDonald), or arrange for her death, is fanciful,” Justice Priest concluded – Mark Russell


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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