murder anniversary
murder anniversary

Sibling’s plea to killers: ‘Where’s my brother’s body?’

The Barwon Heads brother of a murdered suburban lawyer is appealing for the trio of men jailed for his killing to ­finally reveal where the body was dumped.

On the 20th anniversary of their cruel act, Lyle Allan this week admitted he was losing hope the last resting place of his younger brother Keith William Allan would be discovered, and des­cribed the toll it had taken on his life in the decades since Keith was last seen alive on May 28, 2000.

"It's just terrible. I can't have a funeral," Mr Allan said.

"We had a memorial service about seven years later, but it's just not knowing where the body might be … it's really awful.

"I've had to see a psychologist through post-traumatic stress … I still get headaches, it's very distressing."

Mr Allan suffered a stroke in 2016 and he said the stress could have been a contributing factor.

Barwon Heads resident Lyle Allan is calling on the killers of his brother Keith Allan to finally reveal where they dumped his body. Picture: Alison Wynd
Barwon Heads resident Lyle Allan is calling on the killers of his brother Keith Allan to finally reveal where they dumped his body. Picture: Alison Wynd

Despite his doubts, the 76-year-old Barwon Heads resident continues to hold on to the hope that one of the three men convicted of his brother's cold-blooded murder will finally tell authorities where the body was dumped.

And with the men's minimum sentences approaching in coming years, Mr Allan revealed he would be supportive of the men receiving parole if they reveal their tightly held secret.

"I've said before that I'd be happy for a reduction in their sentence if they revealed where the body was - but I have my doubts that the body will be found," he said.

Former Belmont High School student Julian Clarke, Costas Athanasi and Sudo Cavkic were found guilty of Keith Allan's murder in 2007, and handed minimum sentences ranging from 21 years to 25½ years.

 

Barwon Heads resident Lyle Allan is calling on the killers of his brother Keith Allan to finally reveal where they dumped his body. Picture: Alison Wynd
Barwon Heads resident Lyle Allan is calling on the killers of his brother Keith Allan to finally reveal where they dumped his body. Picture: Alison Wynd

 

IN MAY 2000, Keith Allan was a 53-year-old solicitor in Avondale Heights in Melbourne's western suburbs. Five years earlier he had hired a young clerk from Geelong named Julian Clarke.

Unfortunately for Mr Allan, Clarke was a gambler with a taste for Crown Casino's high-roller Mahogany Room who had decided to siphon large sums of money from the law firm's accounts to prop up both his and his associates' gambling habits.

Accountant and disgraced former Geelong mayor Frank De Stefano was one gambling buddy who enjoyed playing with Mr Allan's money, using cheques pinched by Clarke to maintain his casino credit line.

De Stefano was eventually jailed for 10 years for stealing $8.6 million of his own clients' money for his gambling pleasure.

Barwon Heads resident Lyle Allan is calling on the killers of his brother Keith Allan to finally reveal where they dumped his body. Picture: Alison Wynd
Barwon Heads resident Lyle Allan is calling on the killers of his brother Keith Allan to finally reveal where they dumped his body. Picture: Alison Wynd

Later investigations would find Clarke misused the law firm's trust accounts to misappropriate about $1 million and prop up about $5 million in debts owed by others.

By 1999 the Law Institute of Victoria came calling following a complaint about a $75,000 cheque possibly stolen from the trust, leaving Clarke scrambling to cover his tracks.

Clarke's cold-blooded plan was to have Mr Clarke mysteriously disappear so authorities would focus their blame on the solicitor.

In one of his final insults to his boss, Clarke siphoned more cash from the law firm's trust account to pay Athanasi to kill Mr Allan.

He used Mr Allan's money to pay Mr Allan's killer.

Copy pix of Keith Allan with his brother Lyle. Picture: Alison Wynd
Copy pix of Keith Allan with his brother Lyle. Picture: Alison Wynd

Athanasi, a convicted drug trafficker, former nightclub owner and gambling buddy of Clarke, then hired his unemployed buddy Cavkic to kill Mr Allan.

Mr Allan was last seen on the evening of May 28, 2000. CCTV footage showed him with Clarke at 9.45pm at an East Keilor service station, after Clarke had lured him there to discuss the firm's ­financial difficulties.

At 2.20am the next day police came upon Cavkic sitting in Mr Allan's Mercedes Benz, parked in a dead-end street in Laverton alongside Athanasi in his Jaguar.

In the back seat of Mr Allan's car lay a dirty shovel, hoe and can of petrol, while the solicitor's wallet and phone were also found in the car - along with a gun and specks of his blood on Cavkic' pants leg.

 

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Phone records showed Clarke spoke to Athanasi within four minutes of Mr Allan's 9.45pm disappearance, and that Cavkic called Athanasi a number of times that evening between 9.20pm and the pair's 2.20am discovery by police.

Cavkic's calls originated from the Mount Macedon area, where Mr Allan's body was most likely dumped.

 

IT TOOK TWO YEARS for the first charges to be laid - with a little help from DNA evidence from Keith Allan's razor and the blood on Cavkic's clothing. Cavkic was charged with murder in February 2002, then Clarke and Athanasi later that year.

Copy pix of Keith Allan with his mother Mavis and brother Lyle. Picture: Alison Wynd
Copy pix of Keith Allan with his mother Mavis and brother Lyle. Picture: Alison Wynd

The trio were found guilty in 2004, but successfully appealed their convictions the following year.

A 2006 retrial led to a hung jury, but by 2007 all three were once more found guilty of murder.

The Supreme Court sentenced Cavkic to 25½ years' jail with a minimum term of 21½ years, Athanasi to 24 years with a minimum of 19, and Clarke to 28½ years with a minimum of 23½.

A 2012 coroner's report found police had concluded Cavkic killed Mr Allan at an "unknown location probably in the Mount Macedon region between 11pm on 28 May and 2am on May 29".

Originally published as Sibling's plea to killers: 'Where's my brother's body?'


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