Come fly JetStar....
Police hunt good Samaritan Luke Mitchell's killers overseas
JETSTAR was not told they were carrying a suspect in a good Samaritan's murder until the flight was outside Aussie airspace.
Earlier today, police said they powerless to stop two men fleeing the country over a brutal good Samaritan murder.
The suspect in the death of Luke Mitchell bought a ticket on JQ flight 29, which was five hours into its journey to Bangkok when Jetstar’s operations centre was told someone of interest to police was on board.
Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway said would have put the plane well out of Australian airspace and it was his understanding no arrest warrants had been issued at that point.
The eight-hour service flies direct to Bangkok and Mr Westaway said the passenger in question did nothing to arouse suspicion about his voyage when paying cash for his ticket.
Sources have told 3AW that one of the men paid cash for a seat on an international Jetstar flight.
3AW reported that federal police alerted the plane, which was still in Australian airspace, but the decision was made not to turn it around because of safety fears.
Chief Commissioner Simon Overland on the radio this morning police were still trying to track down the men, but as of last night investigators still did not have sufficient evidence to make any arrests.
And Mr Overland said he was unaware of reports that Federal Police had been alerted to the men's flight, but authorities were not in a position to turn any flights back to Australia.
“It is a very significant step to turn an aircraft around, we would need … to be in a position to arrest the people that we’re after. As of last night, we still weren’t in that position."
"I know people … watch CSI and it all happens in 45 minutes, but in real life it’s a bit different."
But the flights out of the country have made catching the fugitives more difficult, with Mr Overland conceding extradition procedures would be complex.
“There’s nothing we could do, or could have done, to stop them. In one case we didn’t even know who they were until they left the country,” Mr Overland said.
He said police were doing everything possible to track down the pair.
Mr Overland confirmed this morning that police knew the identity of two suspects.
“It is a continuing investigation. I’ve got to be careful in that I don’t prejudice the investigation or any subsequent prosecutions.
“We do have a couple of people in particular that we’re looking for, and they are overseas, we do know that."
He said police knew when the pair left the country.
“They’d actually left the country before - in one case before we knew anything about them.
“In the other case, we were looking to speak to one of them but we had no evidence against them … to tie them into the crimes. We weren’t even at a position where we could even think about trying to stop them from leaving the country.
“We had no basis to do so, no power of arrest.
We will track them down - Brumby
Premier John Brumby said it was a huge disappointment the suspects in the Luke Mitchell murder have fled the country and every resource will be used to bring them to justice.
``It was a shocking and appaling and cowardly act,'' Mr Brumby said.
``But I know the chief commissioner is devoting every possible resource to tracking down and bringing to justice those that are responsible.''
Despite Victoria spending less per head of population than in any other state on police officers, Mr Brumby said Victoria Police was well resourced but there were serious challenges in the fight against late-night crime.
"Crime has always been a fact of life in civilisations around the world.. but we aim to minimise it,'' he said.
"In some areas we have had challenges such as the CBD but I believe we are getting on top of those challenges we have put more police there, more technology, more video screens and banning notices.
"This is a matter very much at the heart of what the new chief comissioner wants to achieve and minimise any crimes of this type.''
In 2007-08, the Labor government invested only $305 a Victorian on policing services, the nation's lowest level for the fifth consecutive year and down from $308 in 2006-07.
Earlier, Mr Overland declared catching the killers was a priority as Victoria reeled from the senseless violence.
And Luke Mitchell's grieving family last night demanded action to enforce zero tolerance to violence in public, including the death penalty for murder.
"They (the killers) are wimps. They're only tough together. They're just cowards," Luke's father John told the Herald Sun.
"You don't rehabilitate people like that. If you could rehabilitate them, they'd have stayed in the country. They wouldn't have run. They're just blutig animals."
Luke's mum Carol said those responsible deserved harsh justice: "They're dead meat. They're going to get caught."
Multiple law enforcement agencies have joined the hunt for the fugitives wanted for killing Luke, who stepped in to defend a stranger under attack early on Sunday.
Two of the wanted men flew to Bangkok in Thailand later on Sunday afternoon; a third suspect is believed to have remained in Australia.
Mr Overland promised police were doing everything possible: "It's important for the family and the public of Victoria that we do that."