Prosecutor says teens, not drugs, killed Peter Keeley

Peter Keeley Grindr killing

Crown prosecutor Nerrisa Keay told the NSW Supreme Court today that injuries allegedly inflicted by three teenage boys caused the death of a Canberra man. Earlier, defence lawyers suggested that drugs contributed significantly to the death of Peter Keeley.

A dog walker found 56-year-old Peter Keeley’s body in bushland in the small NSW town of Broulee in February 2020. The body had tape on the ankles, wrists and head.

Police later arrested three 17-year-old youths. The prosecution alleges one of the defendants set up a meeting with Peter Keeley through Grindr.

“There was a number of dating apps that were used, and one of those apps was Grindr. That appears to be a method of communication linking him to one of the teenagers.”

Two of the three, now aged 19 and 20, are facing a judge-only trial in the Supreme Court.

Two forensic pathologists who previously testified at the trial gave conflicting evidence regarding the cause of death.

An expert witness called by the defence testified he did not find it plausible that suffocation and trauma to the head caused the death.


An autopsy revealed 0.42 grams of methamphetamine in Peter Keeley’s blood at the time of his death. The court heard testimony that he used the drug regularly over a period of years.

However, Nerrisa Keay urged the court to rely on the evidence of crown witness Bernard I’Ons. He found the death occurred because of suffocation and a brain injury sustained during the attack. Ms Keay described the suggestion that methamphetamine in Mr Keeley’s system caused his death as unreasonable.

“He died with methamphetamine in his system.

“It did not cause him to die that day.”

She said that but for the assault on Peter Keeley and the restraints placed on him, he would probably still be alive.

One of the accused allegedly told police the defendants left Peter Keeley covered in dirt but groaning and breathing. He maintained the three had ‘no intention to kill him’.

The trial continues on Monday.

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