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IRISH KILLER KICKED OUT BY AUSSIES; Deportation after 7yrs in jail.

A DUBLIN-born man who killed a Qantas flight steward has been deported to Ireland from Australia.

Leo Whittaker 28, was jailed for seven years for his role in the 1991 stabbing in Sydney.

Whittaker went to Australia with his family in 1986 when he was 14. A few years later, when his family moved to Perth, Whittaker and his twin brother Roger stayed in Sydney, befriended a man called Darren Oliver and fell into a life of drug taking.

Whittaker was 18 and high on a cocktail of speed, marijuana and sedatives when he killed John Cranfield in his Sydney flat.

He was convicted of manslaughter but persistently denied his involvement in the fatal stabbing.

He admitted being present but said: "At no time did I strangle or drag Cranfield."

However an NSW judge found he did inflict a fatal stab wound which penetrated his 35-year-old victim's heart.

Co-accused Darren Oliver, who was 18 at the time, pleaded guilty to murder and was jailed for 17 years.

Whittaker and Oliver bought drugs from Cranfield, who was a drug addict and supplier, it was claimed.

Cranfield was strangled and stabbed twice - the fatal wound puncturing his heart.

The pair also stole $2,400 from the victim and went to a nearby pub where they used some of the money to buy drugs.

Three years ago, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural affairs made a decision to deport Whittaker.

He appealed successfully to the New South Wales Appeals Tribunal but the Immigration Department took the case to the Federal Court.

In June the deportation order was confirmed.

Appeals Tribunal Deputy Brian McMahon said, that while Whittaker was unlikely to reoffend, "there was nothing which outweighed the expectation of the community to be rid of someone who had committed such an abhorrent crime."

Assessing the "hardship deportation will cause", Mr McMahon said Whittaker has many relatives in Ireland and it is likely they "will provide some support."

His father Leo snr said his son left Australia before the deportation order took effect.

"It's over and done with many years ago. He did a crime, he was accused of a crime, he did his time.

"He has paid his penalty and the family has paid the penalty as well.''
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Author:Butler, Bruce
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2000
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