A man has been charged with murder after a body was discovered near the jungle camp used for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
The body of the 56-year-old male was found by dog walkers on November 22 at Jack Evans Boat Harbour Park in Tweed Heads, New South Wales (NSW), which is located about an hour away from the show’s Australian jungle location.
The victim has not yet been identified but he is believed to have been homeless and sleeping rough in Tweed Heads. His body was found in his sleeping bag.
Hear more about the crime below:
Police launched a manhunt after the discovery and the I’m A Celeb camp was put on lockdown to protect the contestants, which include Caitlyn Jenner, James Haskell, Kate Garraway and Roman Kemp.
Five days after finding the body, NSW detectives arrested 34-year-old Kevin James Pettiford, who is also homeless, after catching him on a Sydney-bound bus at Tweed Heads on the NSW side of the interstate border.
Pettiford was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with murder in relation to the death of the 56-year-old before appearing at Tweed Heads Local Court on November 28. He did not apply for bail.
Speaking to reporters, as per Yahoo!, Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen described the murder as a ‘random attack on a homeless man’.
It is a particularly brutal and violent attack on someone who is essentially helpless.
Following the arrest, Queensland Police revealed Pettiford is also wanted over a second alleged murder involving another homeless man named David Collin on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Collin, 53, was allegedly murdered in September as he slept behind the Millwell Road East community centre in Maroochydore. The 53-year-old had suffered severe head injuries and, like the latest victim, his body was found in his sleeping bag.
Acting Inspector Daren Edwards explained local detectives have issued an arrest warrant for Pettiford and he will be extradited to Queensland on a second murder charge as soon as possible, pending the progress of the NSW case, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Edwards said the suspect has been difficult to track down, explaining:
The man charged by NSW police was of interest to us; we’d engaged a lot of resources to try and track that male down.He moved to Sydney for some time, then back up to the border area of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads, and he moved around and wasn’t easy to track.He did go to extreme methods to take flight, evade police, change his description and discard clothing. Fortunately, we were able to recover some of those items.
The Acting Inspector said ‘psychopath’ may be a fitting description for Pettiford as he ‘simply had a desire to kill somebody’.
Pettiford is due back in court on January 22.