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Author Topic: A sorry state of affairs  (Read 1128 times)

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Offline fearless

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A sorry state of affairs
« on: November 28, 2006, 12:46:47 AM »
Killed lover did not have HIV, police reveal

A man allegedly murdered by his lover's son because he was believed to be infected with HIV did not have the deadly virus, NSW police have revealed.

Police allege Jason Podesta, 19, of Liverpool, stabbed  24-year-old Steven Bannister within hours of hearing a claim that Mr Bannister carried the AIDS virus.

Podesta's mother, Cathy, had been in a relationship with Mr Bannister for the past four years, police said.

A jogger found Mr Bannister's body on a footpath beside the Hume Highway at Casula, in Sydney's south-west, last Wednesday.

Documents tendered to Liverpool Local Court have revealed Ms Podesta received five phone calls from an unidentified male last Tuesday night alleging Mr Bannister had HIV.

But Acting Liverpool Local Area Commander Nick Bingham today said Mr Bannister was not infected with the AIDS causing virus.

"I can categorically state right now that Mr Bannister did not have AIDS,'' Acting Superintendent Nick Bingham told reporters.

Court documents allege Ms Podesta received the phone calls while she drank with a group of people, including her two sons, at a house in Moorebank, in Sydney's south-west.

Jason Podesta allegedly told officers the group went to the Pop Inn Hotel, about 100 metres from where Mr Bannister was attacked, to confront his mother's lover about the HIV claim.

He also allegedly told police that, after an argument, Mr Bannister ran towards the Hume Highway with the two brothers chasing him.

The brothers returned to the hotel after Mr Bannister got into a white utility with an unidentified person and drove off, Jason Podesta is alleged to have told police.

Acting Supt Bingham today said detectives would seize Ms Podesta's phone records in a bid to identify the anonymous caller.

Mr Bannister's older brother, Anthony, said the death had "ripped the heart out of the family'' and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"It is important for us that the people responsible for his death are brought to justice,'' he told reporters.

Detectives attached to Strike Force Gilwarney, established to investigate the slaying, are appealing for help from anyone who saw a two-door red Hyundai Accent near the scene.

Jason Podesta has been charged with one count of murder. He was refused bail in Liverpool Local Court last Thursday and ordered to appear in the same court on January 31.
AAP

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