Advisers warned husband was a predator

Geesche Jacobsen
May 2, 2007


"THIS bloke Campbell is going to get all of Janet's money. Isn't there something you can do?" Janet Campbell's financial planner, Paul Marshall, asked her solicitor.

This was six days after the couple had secretly married, and the new Mrs Campbell was just about to make a new will.

While the two men were among few in Deniliquin to know of the wedding, it appeared they were among many in the town who had concerns about Desmond Campbell wooing the local woman. This week Mr Campbell, a disgraced former Victorian police officer, has been named as a person of interest in her death. She was found at the bottom of a cliff in the Royal National Park in March 2005.

Yesterday the State Coroner's Court in Glebe heard Mr Campbell described as a "predator" and accused of killing his wife.

Mr Marshall admitted he had been trying to discourage the relationship between the two for some months. A local concerned that Mr Campbell appeared to be "on the scene" had rung his office.

But the new Mrs Campbell believed the couple were "made for one another" and she "closed up" when he probed for too much information about her plans.

The solicitor David Grant also believed there was little he could do to warn the "simple" and "very naive" woman without losing her confidence. "She appeared very happy and excited by her marriage," David Grant said. Days before Mrs Campbell made her new will, her solicitor had been told of Mr Campbell's reputation for "bonking wealthy widows", and his secretary had said: "Des Campbell is after what he can get out of Janet. He's got a name for this sort of thing and he's done it to a number of other women."

The marriage made an earlier will leaving everything to her son, Stephen Fisicaro, invalid. In the new will she left Mr Campbell half of everything, after a $100,000 legacy Mr Grant persuaded her to set up for her son.

Within a week of her death six months later, Mr Grant received a letter from Mr Campbell's solicitor asking for his share of the estate. When her son, who was "traumatised" by his mother's death, failed to apply for probate, Mr Campbell launched legal action, Mr Grant said. Eventually, Mr Campbell received a share of a house in Otford, which had been bought with Mrs Campbell's money, but, Mr Grant said, no other payments had yet been made.

"We don't believe in a moral sense he's entitled to any share of the estate. We believe he's a predator who has targeted a pleasant, simple, but naive woman and it's inappropriate for him to receive any benefit."

Asked what he thought when he heard about Mrs Campbell's death, he said: "I thought he killed her."