Man charged as part of investigation into murder of Bernd Lehmann

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 02:40:26 PM

Unsolved Homicide Squad detectives have charged a man as part of an investigation into the murder of Bernd Lehmann more than 13 years ago.

The body of 66-year-old German national, Bernd Lehmann, was found inside a home unit at Alt Street, Ashfield, about 7pm on Thursday 14 February 2008.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died from severe head injuries.

Strike Force Navala, comprised of detectives from Burwood Police Area Command and the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, was formed to investigate his death.

Following a Coronial Inquest in 2012, the matter was referred to the Unsolved Homicide Unit.

In 2018, DNA samples obtained during the initial crime scene were re-examined by the Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Technology Command.

The samples were then sent to the Genetic Ancestry Laboratory, and analysis revealed the DNA samples did not belong to Bernd Lehmann.

Last month, the NSW Government offered a $1 million reward for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Bernd’s death.

Following extensive investigations, Strike Force Navala detectives arrested a 66-year-old man outside a home in Arncliffe, about 7.30am today (Wednesday 17 March 2021).

He was taken to Kogarah Police Station and charged with murder.

The man was bail refused to appear at Sutherland Local Court today (Wednesday 17 March 2021).

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, said the re-investigation was building on well-established lines of inquiry.

“Bernd’s murder was a horrific crime, he was a well-respected member of the community who had been working as a disability carer prior to his murder,” Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

“An advancement in DNA technology assisted detectives in using the evidence gathered from the incident help solve Mr Lehmann’s brutal murder.

“After 13 years of searching for answers, we hope this result will provide Bernd’s family and loved ones with some peace.”

Bernd’s family friend, Claudia Wolf, said she is pleased and relieved with this outcome, and very grateful that the police continued investigating this case.

“For Bernd to die in such a violent way, after spending his life caring and helping others, this senseless murder has been a great source of sadness for us all,” Wolf said.

“We hope that this will be the first step for his friends here and family in Germany to get some closure, and to find out why this happened.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said it is pleasing to see an arrest so soon after the announcement of a $1 million reward.

“I hope today’s arrest will bring comfort to the family of Bernd Lehmann. It reinforces that even after 13 years, NSW Police Force investigators remain committed to finding justice for victims,” Minister Elliott said.

“I congratulate Strike Force Navala investigators for their perseverance and professionalism which has led to these charges being laid today.”