Snowtown accomplice released into community

Abe Maddison |

Mark Ray Haydon was given a 25-year prison sentence for helping to cover up the Snowtown murders.
Mark Ray Haydon was given a 25-year prison sentence for helping to cover up the Snowtown murders.

Snowtown murders accomplice Mark Ray Haydon has been released into the community, days ahead of the end of his 25-year sentence for helping cover up Australia’s most prolific serial killing crime.  

The Department of Correctional Services said Haydon, 65, was moved to an address in the community on Thursday. 

An interim extended supervision order was imposed in the South Australian Supreme Court on Wednesday and takes effect when Haydon’s parole expires next week.

He has been at the Adelaide Pre-Release Centre while serving parole, which was granted in February, and was allowed into the community on day release. 

Haydon’s prison sentence expires on May 21, exactly 25 years after he was taken into custody with convicted killers John Bunting and Robert Wagner, who are both serving life sentences without possibility of parole.

The state government is continuing its bid to have Haydon declared a high-risk offender, and is awaiting a report on his mental health.

Haydon will live at an undisclosed location.

Parole Board chair Frances Nelson told the ABC the new address had been “very carefully vetted” by SA Police, Community Corrections and the Parole Board.

“It is best that he is settled into the community whilst he is still subject to parole because his head sentence finishes early next week,” she said.

The interim supervision order imposes conditions modelled on his parole order, including living at an approved address, reporting weekly to a community corrections officer, abstaining from alcohol and illegal drugs, not contacting victims or their families, not communicating with the media or co-offenders, and undertaking recommended treatment after a psychological assessment.

Haydon must also wear an electronic transmitter and adhere to a 9pm-6am curfew.

The serial killings were exposed in May 1999 when police found eight dismembered bodies in acid-filled barrels in the vault of a disused bank at Snowtown, north of Adelaide.

Two more bodies were found buried in a backyard at suburban Salisbury North, while detectives later linked two further deaths to Bunting and Wagner.

Haydon was found to have assisted his friends cover up their crimes by storing the bodies of murder victims in barrels in his shed, and later renting the infamous Snowtown bank.