Najma Carroll’s brutally beaten and burnt body lay in a quarry in Sydney’s south for 15 days before a man walking his dog found her in July last year.
The 33-year-old former Sydney Girls High School student, who made the HSC “distinguished achiever” list in 2004, had the world at her feet. But a drug addiction saw it spiral down.
Ms Carroll’s body was found in a quarry in Sydney’s south just before 5.15pm on July 29, 2020 near Sandy Point Quarry off Heathcote Road at Menai, in the Sutherland Shire. The area is known by locals as White Rock.
Her burnt-out car was located nearby a few days later.
Following extensive investigations, homicide squad detectives arrested Robert Sloan, 57, on Tuesday and 43-year-old Benjamin Troy Parkes on Wednesday morning.
Both men have been charged with murder and faced Sutherland Local Court via video link on Wednesday. Neither of the men applied for bail and it was formally refused. Their matter will return to the same court on June 7.
Police will allege in court that the two men were involved in the drug industry and knew Ms Carroll.
The trio had been staying at a hotel in Casula, in Sydney’s south west, where Ms Carroll had last been seen around 7.30pm on July 11, 2020, Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said.
“Police will allege the murder happened on July 14, some 15 days prior to the body being found, and the actual murder happened at Menai, where she was located,” Superintendent Doherty said.
In the time between the last sighting of Ms Carroll and the discovery of her body, no one reported her missing.
Police will allege the men took Ms Carroll to Menai and used a baseball bat and a rock to strike her multiple times, causing significant head injuries.
“Then her body was set on fire and, we believe, that was probably an attempt to try to hide any evidence in relation to the body. It’s a horrific crime,” he said.
“Najma was a top honours’ student, and very well regarded by her friends, [a] very smart, young woman … unfortunately her world spiralled downwards as a result of drug use.”
Ms Carroll’s mother thanked the dog walker for finding her daughter and the police for their efforts.
“Najma was my beloved daughter who has a loving, generous and courageous spirit,” her mother who did not give her name, said in a statement. “Najma struggled with addiction from her teenage years, but she never resorted to crime to feed that addiction.”
Inquiries into Ms Carroll’s death continue.
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