A sex worker charged over the death of a married businessman went missing from the NSW central coast less than a year before her dramatic arrest in north Queensland – 2,000 kilometres away.
Madeleine Joan Lewin, 32, was allegedly with Brisbane businessman Anthony Brady, 52, in a room at the Sunshine Tower Hotel when he died last Wednesday, August 12.
Mr Brady had been in Cairns on a business trip but failed to catch a return flight home on Thursday, leading his family to raise the alarm.
Hotel staff and police discovered his body about 4pm on Friday, with Lewin arrested on Sunday morning.
Lewin was on parole at the time of the arrest, a court heard on Monday.
Lewin briefly faced Cairns Magistrates Court for the first time on Monday, where her history was mentioned The Cairns Post reported.
Originally from Gladesville on Sydney’s lower north shore, Lewin was known to move throughout the central coast and far north Queensland.
Lewin was reported missing in mid-2019, with NSW police releasing a picture of her with long hair.
Queensland police allege that Lewin and Mr Brady met on Wednesday night and that sometime between then and Friday he was killed.
CCTV footage from a Caltex petrol station shows him buying items before returning to his hotel.
Exactly what happened next remains unclear, however when he did not arrive home in Brisbane the next day his family raised the alarm.
It led Queensland Police officers to comb through drains and shrubs close to where he was last sighted.
Lewin was arrested on Sunday morning at Manoora, a suburb of Cairns, and fronted Cairns Magistrates Court on Monday.
She had previously been named only as a person of interest on Saturday, with police releasing images of her as part of a public information campaign.
Mr Brady had been staying at the Cairns Plaza Hotel on the city’s esplanade, close to 650 metres away from the Sunshine Tower Hotel where his body was discovered.
Cairns Police Detective Senior Sergeant Ed Kinbacher told media that Mr Brady was a ‘family man’ and that his death had shocked his loved ones.
‘He was last seen on Wednesday night. We have managed to track his movements to about 9pm that night where he was on Sheridan Street,’ Det Snr Sgt Kinbacher said.
‘It appears that he was just going about his business inside the service station, he has obtained some items and then left.
‘This man is a person of regular habits, he is a family man, he had flights back to south Queensland the following day and he didn’t attend the flight, not did he attend the business arrangements he had the following day.
‘My understanding is this is only the second time he had been in Cairns on business, and that was in the last few months. He’d attended functions in the days prior to his disappearance.’
Mr Brady’s cousin Ian Brady posted on Facebook that he hopes those responsible for ‘taking his life away’ are brought to justice.
‘Unfortunately Tony’s body was found yesterday,’ he wrote.
‘We don’t have much more information yet, hopefully the investigation will quickly bring justice to those responsible for taking his life away.’
Detectives from State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad have travelled to Cairns to assist with the investigation.
Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith said a post-mortem examination was being carried out that would ‘reveal more information to police’ about the death.
‘The circumstances of the death appear suspicious at this stage, however we’re keeping an open mind.
‘We currently have four homicide investigation officers here in Cairns assisting with the investigation,’ he said.
Queensland Police believe a number of people could have seen Mr Brady on the streets of Cairns on the night he was last seen.
Anyone with information regarding Mr Brady’s death have been urged to call Policelink on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.