The man jailed for 20 years after the horrific Childers fire that killed 15 backpackers is seeking more time behind bars.
The man jailed for 20 years after the horrific Childers fire that killed 15 backpackers is seeking more time behind bars.

Childers backpacker killer asks for more time in parole bid

Childers backpacker killer Robert Paul Long will stay behind bars until at least 2021 after seeking an extension of his parole application to provide more material in his bid to be released.

Long was jailed for 20 years after the horrific fire which killed 15 backpackers in June 2000. He has been eligible for parole for months.

Robert Paul Long
Robert Paul Long

The horrific fire sent shockwaves worldwide with backpackers from England, the Netherlands, Japan, Ireland, South Korea, Morocco and Australia killed.

The convicted killer, now aged 57, applied for parole more than 120 days ago. The board usually makes decisions within the 120-day timeframe.

"Mr Long requested time to provide further material and he has been allowed until 21 January 2021 to do so," a Queensland Parole Board spokesman said today.

"Once that material is received a final decision will be made in relation to the parole application."

It's unclear what material Long is preparing to help in his application but it could include references.

"For privacy reasons, the Parole Board Queensland cannot release information particular to a prisoner's parole application," the spokesman said.

Survivors of the horrific fire and former Isis mayor Bill Trevor handed the parole board more than 30 letters and a petition with over 17,000 signatures earlier this year in a bid to stop Long's release.

Long was charged with arson and two counts of murder of twins Kelly and Stacey Slarke but not over the 13 other deaths.

Long's estranged stepdaughter has pleaded for authorities to never let him out of jail,

describing him as the horror film character "Freddy Krueger".

In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail Lauren Campbell, 34, said Long had inflicted hell on her family - including choking her when she was just a six-year-old - when her mother was in a relationship with him in the years before the hostel fire.

Lauren Campbell, the estranged step daughter of Childers Backpacker fire killer Robert Long. Photographer: Nathan Edwards
Lauren Campbell, the estranged step daughter of Childers Backpacker fire killer Robert Long. Photographer: Nathan Edwards

 

She wrote a 12-page letter pleading for the parole board to never release him.

"Robert Paul Long is my Freddy Krueger," Ms Campbell told The Courier-Mail.

"He is the one who gets me in my sleep and even when I'm not asleep.

"The incidents that I went through … the trauma that he has left behind," she said.

"Lives were lost when I feel they shouldn't have been."

Families and survivors have called for Long to face further murder charges however this has been ruled out by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Richard Tempest is a survivor of the Childers Palace backpackers fire. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Richard Tempest is a survivor of the Childers Palace backpackers fire. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Survivor Richard Tempest last month said he hoped the parole board was seriously considering not releasing Long.

"If, God forbid, the decision is made that he is released and back into society surely the huge consideration has got to be has he rehabilitated?" he said.

"Is he a better person from 20 years ago?

"From what we now know and from what we've been told - especially from his prison conduct - he isn't. Absolutely no way is he rehabilitated.

"He's not fit or mentally stable to be put back into society, walking down the street, ultimately past you and I."

As previously revealed by The Courier-Mail, Long has worked as a carer in a geriatric unit at Wolston jail.

He has been described by an officer as a "model prisoner" whose "institutional behaviour has been perfect".

But another former prisoner who spoke to The Courier-Mail said Long stood over other prisoners and abused his role as a carer by trading their food for his own benefit.

"He's a nasty little man," the former prisoner said.

"He won't be an asset in the community because he is a snaky, snaky, little bastard."

Queensland Law Society immediate past president Bill Potts said it was better for the community that the parole board gave a thorough consideration of the matter which could include if a prisoner could still be a danger to the community, what steps they had taken to reform, their behaviour in jail and psychiatric and psychological reports.

"Where there is offences of violence and significant death the parole board has to take into account the heinous nature of the crime, the degree of suffering, harm to community, views of the people who were most affected by the crime - the loved ones, the survivors, the townspeople of Childers - but not one factor is determinative," he said.

Originally published as Why Childers killer wants more time in jail