Tobias Moran: Surfer accused of suffocating Simone Strobel in his campervan

The grieving parents of Simone Strobel (pictured) in Bavaria have been seeking answers for years since her 2005 alleged murder

A German-born surfer is charged with murdering his young backpacker girlfriend Simone Strobel by suffocating her in their campervan, stripping her body naked and dumping it with the help of others, police will allege.

Despite the allegations Tobias Moran’s lawyer claims police have ‘no evidence’ against his client, after he was charged last week with Ms Strobel’s murder in northern NSW, some 17 years ago.

Tim Game SC told Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday that the police case is a ‘weak theory’ and that his client should be bailed back to Perth on a $450,000 surety from his wife Samantha Moran’s wealthy family. 

Mr Game said Mr Moran’s trial for the alleged 2005 murder of Simone Strobel was a complex case with more than 300 witness statements, and that it won’t proceed until 2024.

Mr Moran sat with his hands clasped in front of him, staring at the screen, occasionally flexing the thumb of his left hand, but told Magistrate Margaret Quinn his name, ‘Tobias Moran’ in English, and without a foreign accent.

He asked to be allowed to return to Perth to await the trial, where he would live in a luxury beach shack he shares with his wealthy wife – as she prepares to give birth to their third child.

Mr Game argued against a letter Chief Investigating Officer, Detective Sergeant David David Mackie, which was submitted to the court by prosecutors.

Toby Moran (above when he was Tobias Suckfuell with then girlfriend Simone Strobel) has been charged with her 2005 murder in Lismore

Toby Moran (above when he was Tobias Suckfuell with then girlfriend Simone Strobel) has been charged with her 2005 murder in Lismore

Defence lawyers said there was 'no evidence' to suggest Moran murdered Ms Strobel in the couple's campervan (pictured) after a night out at Lismore's Gollan Hotel in February 2005

Defence lawyers said there was ‘no evidence’ to suggest Moran murdered Ms Strobel in the couple’s campervan (pictured) after a night out at Lismore’s Gollan Hotel in February 2005

He repeatedly said there was ‘no evidence’ for the allegations against Mr Moran, which assert the now 42-year-old man murdered Ms Strobel in the couple’s campervan after a night out at Lismore’s Gollan Hotel in February, 2005.

Describing the police statement of facts in the case as  ‘an overstatement and exaggeration’, the lawyer said his client had supplied DNA and had been excluded from 53 samples cited in the police case.

The court also heard there was evidence in the police case to suggest there were marks visible on Ms Strobel’s neck, however, Mr Game maintained her cause of death was not certain.

‘There is no evidence to support the supposition that the cause of death is suffocation,’ he told the court.

‘There were some marks, but no evidence to suggest that was the cause of death. 

‘That cannot be relied upon as cause of death.’ 

Moran (pictured) sat with his hands clasped in front of him, staring at the screen, occasionally flexing the thumb of his left hand when he appeared in court on Wednesday

Moran (pictured) sat with his hands clasped in front of him, staring at the screen, occasionally flexing the thumb of his left hand when he appeared in court on Wednesday

As Mr Moran was led off in handcuffs to be extradited and face a Sydney court charged with murder, his wife Samantha (above, the couple together) is preparing to give birth to their third child in Perth

As Mr Moran was led off in handcuffs to be extradited and face a Sydney court charged with murder, his wife Samantha (above, the couple together) is preparing to give birth to their third child in Perth

He said the case against Mr Moran had been ‘hitched up’ by police ahead of another inquest into Ms Strobel’s death, to be held later this year.

The defence lawyer also said his client ‘had co-operated’ with police, was living ‘in plain sight’ in Perth, and that Mr Moran, his wife, and their two children were willing to offer up their passports to police.

‘Without any explanation or any attempt to explain why, he has been charged … now suddenly gets arrested one morning in Perth early last week,’ Mr Game said.

Police expressed concern the accused could take off overseas with his family – an assertion that Mr Game described that assertion as ‘outrageous’. 

The court heard Mrs Moran would put up $200,000 for he husband’s bail and that John and Sandy Moran, her parents, would be prepared to forfeit a further $250,000. 

Prosecutor Kim Gourlie, for the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, will present a case against Mr Moran getting bail on Wednedsay afternoon, saying police allegedly have DNA evidence to present at trial. 

Pictured: Simone Strobel before she was found dead

Ms Strobel's last known sighting on CCTV (right) six days before her naked body was found

Simone Strobel is pictured left and right, on CCTV six days before her naked decomposing body was found pushed through a fence near the Suckfuell siblings’ campsite

Simone Strobel and Tobias Suckfuell (right) are seen on CCTV leaving Lismore's Gollan hotel on February 11, 2005 when it is said the couple argued over tensions in their relationship

Simone Strobel and Tobias Suckfuell (right) are seen on CCTV leaving Lismore’s Gollan hotel on February 11, 2005 when it is said the couple argued over tensions in their relationship

Tobias Moran is in custody for the alleged murder of Simone Strobel, 25, whose naked body was found pushed through a fence under palm fronds at a Lismore sports court in February 2005, six days after he reported her missing.

Then known as Tobias Suckfuell, he berated local police as ‘kindergarten cops’ for taking so long to find Ms Strobel, but then refused to return to Australia in 2007 for the inquest into the slain kindergarten teacher’s death.

Mr Suckfuell met and married his yoga instructor wife in 2012 at his family’s farmhouse in southern Germany, changed his last name to Moran, and moved to the elite Perth suburb of City Beach, where the couple live with their two children.

On Tuesday last week, WA Police arrested Mr Moran at the couple’s multimillion-dollar Perth home and two NSW detectives extradited him back to Sydney where he was formally charged with Ms Strobel’s murder.

Mr Moran was flown to Sydney on Wednesday evening and charged at Mascot Police Station. He has been in prison for the last week.

He was also charged with  perverting the course of justice. 

Tobias Suckfuell (above) in a NSW Police interview following the discovery of his then girlfriend's body pushed through a fence near their campsite in Lismore

Tobias Suckfuell (above) in a NSW Police interview following the discovery of his then girlfriend’s body pushed through a fence near their campsite in Lismore

Photo of Tobias and Simone during their backpacker holiday in Australia which has been signed by him with a romantic message to his then girlfriend of more than six years

Photo of Tobias and Simone during their backpacker holiday in Australia which has been signed by him with a romantic message to his then girlfriend of more than six years

Prior to the recent charges, Mr Moran continually denied any involvement in Ms Strobel’s death.

Ms Strobel’s body was found six days after she vanished following a drinking session between the four German tourists in a local Lismore hotel. 

Her decomposed body was found covered in palm fronds and pushed through a fence 90m from where she and Mr Moran had been camping with his sister Kathrin and her friend, Jens Martin. 

A Supreme Court judge ruled in a civil case there are ‘reasonable suspicions’ that Mr Moran killed Ms Strobel at the Lismore caravan park in 2005.

Mr Moran left Australia after the alleged murder and led a carefree nomadic, existence surfing the world’s top beaches, before met Samantha in South Africa. 

Neither Mr Moran nor his sister Kathrin returned to Australia to appear at the subsequent inquest into Ms Strobel’s death.

But Jens Martin did testify and claimed that all three had lied to police at Mr Moran’s behest about their actions before Ms Strobel disappeared.

Ms Strobel’s grieving parents Gustl and Gabi Strobel have spoken to German newspapers over the years, saying they have endured ‘agonising uncertainty’ since their beloved daughter’s death.

The former Tobias Suckfuell, has been living under his new name Toby Moran with wealthy lawyer and yoga instructor wife Samantha Moran (pictured above) in the elite Perth suburb of City Beach for more than a decade

The former Tobias Suckfuell, has been living under his new name Toby Moran with wealthy lawyer and yoga instructor wife Samantha Moran (pictured above) in the elite Perth suburb of City Beach for more than a decade

Toby and Samantha met in South Africa after he left Australia following Simone's alleged murder

Toby and Samantha met in South Africa after he left Australia following Simone’s alleged murder and have lived a comfortable life with the help of her rich Perth family

Ms Strobel’s mysterious death also became the subject of a book, Have You Seen Simone? written by Virginia Peters.

In 2014, Mr Moran took out an injunction to prevent its publication, and then launched a defamation suit against Ms Peters and Schwarz Publishing, but dropped the lawsuit in 2017.

However, during the defamation suit’s process called discovery, the defence applied for the release of papers called ‘the 100-page Document’. 

In 2017, Mr Moran applied to block these documents on the grounds they were the subject of legal professional privilege and included notes written by himself and Samantha in South Africa which allegedly discuss the ­circumstances of Ms Strobel’s death.

NSW Police told the inquest they believed Ms Strobel had been killed by smothering, most likely with a pillow.

In 2020, the NSW government offered a $1 million reward for information over the homicide.   

Detective Cameron Blaine, who arrested Mr Moran on Tuesday, was among senior detectives who found missing four-year-old Perth girl, Cleo Smith, last year.

Tobias Moran is pictured being extradited back to NSW to face murder charges. Pictured: His arrival at Sydney airport

Tobias Moran is pictured being extradited back to NSW to face murder charges. Pictured: His arrival at Sydney airport

SIMONE STROBEL TRAGEDY

Simeone Strobel and Toby Moran – then known as Tobias Suckfuell – arrived in Australia for a one-year working holiday in August 2004, and travelled along the east coast.

Tobias’s sister Kathrin and Jens Martin arrived on Australia Day 2005 to join the couple for a month.

On February 11, the four young Germans arrived at Lismore Tourist Caravan Park, and adjourned to the Gollan Hotel for a drinking session.

Tensions erupted between Tobias and Simone, who argued at the campsite, after which Simone disappeared.

The next day, Jens and Kathrin began to look for Simone.

On February 13, the three checked out of the caravan park before reporting Simone’s disappearance to police.

Four days later, on February 17, 2005, a police dog handler discovered Simone’s body hidden in the grounds of the Lismore Continental Club’s bocce courts.

The three travellers laid flowers at a makeshift memorial in the club grounds with Ms Strobel’s brother who had flown out from Germany.

Both Suckfuell siblings and Jens Martin returned to Germany, but only Mr Martin flew back to Lismore for the 2007 inquest. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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