Sisters Shannah and Shandee Blackburn.

Photo Contributed
Sisters Shannah and Shandee Blackburn. Photo Contributed Contributed

DAY 5: Peros was told of Shandee's murder via Facebook

UPDATE 3.40PM: WHEN John Peros was asked in court if he and Shandee Blackburn used to take drugs, he said "sh** yeah".

He told a coronial inquest into the 23 year old's death they used to take "speed, ecstasy, acid".

Mr Peros, who was acquitted of Shandee's murder in 2017, said he did not hate his former girlfriend when he allegedly made comments to a number of people during an Australia Day party in 2013.

"Did you want to stab her?" Peros' barrister Craig Eberhardt asked.

"No," Mr Peros said.

Mr Peros denies any involvement in Shandee's death in the early hours of February 9, 2013.

Mr Eberhardt asked if Shandee had been jealous of Mr Peros during and after their relationship.

"During, yes. After … I don't know, possibly, I can't remember," he said.

Mr Eberhardt asked if Shandee would accuse Mr Peros of wanting to sleep with other women over comments he posted on social media and he agreed.

The inquest so far: 

Day One: What happened to Shandee Blackburn? 

Day Two: "Someone was murdered up there. I-did-it."

Day Three: Video shows the last time Shandee was seen alive

Day Four: Security beefed up as key witness appears

"Do you remember it was you who wanted to break up with Shandee?" Mr Eberhardt asked, and Mr Peros said yes.

He told the inquest that he did not believe she wanted to break up with him and did not take no for an answer.

The inquest heard that after the pair had broken up, Mr Peros helped Ms Blackburn relocate to the Gold Coast and also gave her $500 a week for the first four weeks she was there.

"I told her to get a second job and save but she didn't do that," he told the inquest.

The inquest heard that after Shandee had moved to the Gold Coast, Mr Peros visited her once and the pair went to Dreamworld.

Mr Eberhardt also questioned Mr Peros about his vehicle which police seized  twice - once not long after Shandee was killed, it was then returned before being seized again and remains in the custody of the Central Queensland Coroner.

"When was the last time you saw your car … in real life?" Mr Eberhardt asked.

"I don't know," Mr Peros said, adding that during the time it had been returned to him the vehicle was mostly parked out the front of his Evan St unit.

Coroner David O'Connell questioned Mr Peros about some comparison images between a vehicle of interest captured on CCTV footage the night Shandee was killed and police re-enactment images using his seized vehicle.

"You said you can't tell whether it is or isn't … 'it looks like the same shape as my vehicle but the picture is poor'," Mr O'Connell said.

Mr O'Connell questioned if there were any features about the vehicle that made him say it looked like his vehicle.

"It's white and it's a dual cab, it's got a ute rear," Mr Peros said.
"It just looks like the same shape as my vehicle … it's got black tyres."

However Mr Peros pointed out a black mark or line across the back of the tray that he did not believe was in his vehicle, but said it may have been the poor image.

Mr O'Connell stepped Mr Peros through some of the features that police had identified, including the snorkel at the vehicle's front.

"I can see a line there," Mr Peros said.

Mr O'Connell said there were white mag tyres with Sunraysia rims. Mr Peros said he could see they were white but could not tell if they were Sunraysia or not.

"You can see some sort of black moulding strip along the side of the passenger doors," he said.

"Yes," Mr Peros said.

"And can you see the vehicle appears to have the white flare on the front guard," Mr O'Connell said.

"I can't tell if it's a flare … it's not a clear photo," Mr Peros said.

Mr O'Connell directed Mr Peros to the rear step of the vehicle on image pointing out the bumper bar appeared to have an "unusual twin pipe configuration".

"If that's what it is," Mr Peros said.

Mr O'Connell told Mr Peros to look at the image of the photo of his car that had been taken in the daylight.

Mr Peros said that feature in the image taken in the daylight appeared to be "a lot bigger" than shown in the vehicle captured on CCTV the night Shandee died.

Witness Trina Brown, who knew both Mr Peros and Ms Blackburn, said she sent Mr Peros a message over Facebook informing him that his former girlfriend had been murdered sometime between 7am and 9am on February 9.

"I think he did read it and then it took a bit for him to reply," Ms Brown said, after Mr O'Connell asked if she remembered what time the message had been read.

More to come.


UPDATE 2.01PM: SHANDEE Blackburn's former boyfriend can't remember telling people "I hate the c***" and "would love to stab the c***".

John Peros was questioned at the inquest into Blackburn's death about comments made to a number of people at an Australia Day party in 2013.

"Do you recall saying … I hate the c***?" Nick Dore asked. He is representing Shandee's mother Vicki Blackburn at the inquest into her daughter's death.

"Do you recall saying… I hate her and would love to stab the c***?

"Do you recall saying … I f***ing hate that c*** she would be better off dead?"

Mackay woman Shandee Blackburn was murdered in 2013.
Mackay woman Shandee Blackburn was murdered in 2013. News Australia

Mr Peros said, no, he did not recall saying that.

He was charged but later acquitted of Shandee's murder after a supreme court trial in 2017. He denies any involvement.

The inquest heard he had been upset after the tumultuous relationship broke down in 2012.

Shandee had relocated to the Gold Coast but returned to Mackay a few months before she was stabbed to death about 12.15am on February 9, 2013.

Mr Peros told the inquest he can't remember who told him that his former girlfriend had been killed.

He said he didn't not know that Shandee had returned to Mackay until someone told him on February 9 that she was dead.

"Mr Peros are you honestly saying that you cannot recall when someone told you that your ex-girlfriend had been murdered," Mr Dore asked.

Mr Peros said: "Precisely yeah … day and time, yeah. I can't remember."

"How did you feel when you found out?" Mr Dore asked.

"I would have been sad but I can't tell you exactly how I felt," Mr Peros said.

Mr Dore asked if it was the case Mr Peros was happy when Shandee relocated to the Gold Coast.

Mr Peros said it did not phase him where she was as long as they were not in a relationship anymore.

The inquest heard Mr Peros had trust issues over things Shandee had done to him during their relationship.

Mr Peros has previously said he could not recall if he was driving near Boddington St about midnight on February 9, 2013.

He was shown a number of slides of side by side images showing a vehicle of interest captured on CCTV around the area where Shandee was killed, a police re-enactment at the same location using his seized vehicle and a photo of his Toyota Hilux.

Mr Peros told the court he could not say whether or not the vehicle captured on CCTV cameras and the police re-enactment was his because the "picture quality is very poor".

Mr Dore asked if Mr Peros could accept he may have been near Boddington St the night Shandee was killed and he said, "no I can't … what would I be doing there?" before asking for the question to be repeated.

Mr Dore : "You've given an answer … on several things … the first is that you don't recall if you were driving that evening, is that correct?"

Mr Peros: "I don't remember, is that what I said."

Mr Dore: "It was only about an hour or so ago."

Mr Peros: "Yeah I've already forgotten."

Mr Dore: "You've already forgotten?"

Mr Peros: "Yes."

Mr Dore asked Mr Peros what type of medical treatment he was receiving for his lack of memory.

"Nothing," he said. "I don't believe the doctors or specialists have ever (gone) into doing anything about it."

Mr Peros said he could not remember who he had spoken to about it.

"Obviously seeking the seriousness of it (Mr Peros' memory loss) you must be seeking medical attention," Mr Dore asked.

Mr Peros said no.

Mr Dore asked about Mr Peros employment and he said he was a plant mechanic and diesel fitter.

"Have you raised your significant lack of memory with your employers?" Mr Dore asked.

Mr Peros asked if he meant his actual employers or the people he was contracted to. He said he had raised it with a previous supervisor.

When Mr Dore asked who, Mr Peros' barrister Craig Eberhardt objected, asking what relevance it had.

"With all due respect, your honour, Mr Peros has indicated he has significant memory problems in relation to particular circumstances. I'm trying to investigate, based on the evidence that's here today, that Mr Peros can't recall things, which is a significant line of inquiry to see just how serious his lack of memory is."

Mr Eberhardt said just about every witness who gave evidence last week had issues with memory.

More to come.

The inquest so far: 

Day One: What happened to Shandee Blackburn? 

Day Two: "Someone was murdered up there. I-did-it."

Day Three: Video shows the last time Shandee was seen alive

Day Four: Security beefed up as key witness appears

UPDATE 12.23PM: JOHN Peros told Mackay Coroners Court he did not kill Shandee Blackburn and cannot remember what he was doing the night she was stabbed to death.

"Can you tell us where you were at 12.15am?" Counsel Assisting the Coroner John Aberdeen asked Shandee's former boyfriend.

"I can't remember," Mr Peros said.

"Did you kill Shandee?" Mr Aberdeen asked.

"No," Mr Peros said.

Before he entered the witness box, Mr Peros' barrister Craig Eberhardt asked he be treated as a special witness in that the questions directed to him be kept short, simple, repeated as often as possible and kept in a conversational tone.

Mr Eberhardt said Mr Peros had been diagnosed with a number of medical issues including ADHD, social phobia, anxiety and paranoia and that this had occurred before Shandee's death in February 2013 on Boddington St.

Mr Eberhardt said Mr Peros would have difficulty concentrating.

Before Mr Aberdeen finished his first question to Mr Peros, Mr Eberhardt exercised his client's legal right to privilege before Coroner David O'Connell directed him to give evidence.

Mr Peros was charged with Shandee's murder in September 2014 and spent about two and a half years in custody before jury acquitted him after a trial in 2017. He denies any involvement in her death.

The coronial inquest into Shandee's death heard police seized Mr Peros' Toyota Hilux, returned it to him and then seized it again.

Mr Aberdeen asked if Peros had any work done on the vehicle in that time it had been returned to him, specifically if he had work done to a rust patch.

"I don't remember," Mr Peros said.

Mr Aberdeen asked if Mr Peros remembered driving his vehicle down 18th Lane passed the United Service Station, onto 12th Lane past the Outlaws clubhouse and back onto Shakespeare St.

Mr Peros said he did not remember driving at all.

The inquest heard he told police when he was interviewed shortly after Shandee's death, "I might or may have gone for a drive but I think I spent most of the night at home".

"Did you stop near Struthers? Did you leave your car for a period of about six minutes?" Mr Aberdeen asked.

"I don't remember driving my car at all," Mr Peros said.

The inquest heard Mr Peros' phone had been switched off the night Shandee was killed - it had also been switched off the two nights before as well.

Mr Peros was questioned about telling police in 2013 that he switched his phone off because he didn't wanted his mates calling him and trying to convince him to go out as he didn't have much money.

"I don't remember what I told police," he said.

"Sometimes I just didn't want to be bothered or woken up."    

"Did you turn your phone off that night so your movement would not be traced," Mr Aberdeen asked.

"No … I don't remember doing that."

"Was that something you did often back in those days," Mr Aberdeen asked.

"I can't remember. I do it regularly now."

The inquest heard Mr Peros initially told police he had spent the morning of February 8, 2013 at Seaforth, then went to a work function in the afternoon but could not recall what he did that night.

"Are you being honest with this court when you say you can't remember, Mr Peros," Mr Aberdeen asked.


Under questioning Mr Peros admitted he had significant issues with his memory.

More to come.

UPDATE 11.24AM: THE man acquitted of Shandee Blackburn's murder has claimed privilege from the witness box in the inquest into her death.

Barrister Craig Eberhardt said John Peros would exercise his legal right to claim privilege against self incrimination on any question related to Shandee's death.

"I consider that it is in the public interest that you give evidence ... so I'm going to direct that you give evidence," Coroner David O'Connell said.

This means that any answer can only be used by the coroner in his findings and cannot be used in any other proceeding relating to Ms Blackburn's death. .

Mr Peros was charged with Shandee's murder and acquitted by a jury in 2017 after a two-week supreme court trial.

A former friend of John Peros gave evidence this morning that he had spoken of harming Shandee Blackburn in the wake of their relationship break-up.

Mackay Coroners Court heard Cameron Maltby, who gave evidence over the phone, had spoken generally about "who would want to kill Shandee".

"I remember John said to me, I thought about it a couple of times," Mr Maltby had told police.

Mr Maltby gave two statements to police and had only included what John had allegedly said in the second statement.

Mr Maltby told the court it was because he "wanted to make sure it was 100 per cent said".

He said at the time "I didn't give it a great deal of thought".

Today he told the court that he did not ask what Mr Peros meant.

"I didn't go into it any further being a touchy subject," Mr Maltby said.

He told the court he did not think much of it until he and Mr Peros had an argument "and the argument seemed quite sinister".

The court heard Mr Peros had been upset and found it difficult to get over his break up from Shandee.

Under questioning by Nick Dore, for Shandee's mother Vicki Blackburn, Mr Maltby said he believed Mr Peros had been upset "like any normal person would" be.

Mr Dore asked Mr Maltby if it had been normal that other friends had expressed harm against former partners.

Mr Maltby knew Mr Peros socially through the Pioneer Valley Boxing Club and has stayed with him on a number of occasions.

Mr Peros was described as an awkward boxer, who was predominantly left handed but "could fight off both feet".

"He was fast yes," Mr Maltby said.

Craig Eberhardt asked Mr Maltby if Mr Peros had been upset because Shandee had spread rumours about him (Mr Peros) having an STI, and he agreed that "seemed to be the cause of his upset".

Mr Eberhardt asked if Mr Maltby knew that Mr Peros had ended the relationship with Shandee and he said he was not totally aware but knew she had "done something wrong by him".

Mr Maltby said Mr Peros ended their friendship over text message and he believed it had been intentional.

Mr Eberhardt asked Mr Maltby if Mr Peros was paranoid at the time and he said "to put it lightly".

Mr Peros' evidence has begun. More to come.

INITIAL: THE man acquitted of Shandee Blackburn's murder is today expected to give evidence as the inquest into her death enters the second week.

John Peros, who is Shandee's former boyfriend, denied killing the 23 year old on February 9, 2013 as she walked home from work.

He was arrested in September 2014, and found not guilty by a jury after a two week murder trial in 2017.

On February, 9 2013 Shandee was stabbed up to 25 times and left to die in a gutter on Boddington St about 12.15am.

The case has gone through an 18-month police investigation, Crime and Corruption Commission hearing, Magistrates Court committal hearing, Supreme Court trial.

LISTEN: Witness recalls night of murder in police recording

This coronial inquest is the next step in a six-and-a-half year search for the truth.

Mr Peros has never spoken about the case in open court.

He elected not to give evidence in the Supreme Court trial, which is the right of any person facing a criminal trial.

As well as the circumstances surrounding Shandee's death, the inquest will also explore whether or not increased CCTV cameras should be placed in high-risk areas in Mackay for the purposes of public safety.

A witness to be called later this week will be Crime Prevention Unit Sergeant Nigel Dalton, who will shine a light of the city's most unsafe areas.

Nineteen witnesses have already given evidence during week one of the inquest with another 33 still to be called.

The inquest is expected to wrap up on Thursday.