Man extradited from Victoria and charged with murder of Hunter man John Simpson

Police have made a breakthrough in the alleged murder of Hunter man John Simpson who was found buried in a bush grave at Laguna.

Hunter Valley Police District officers appealed for the public’s help to find the 42-year-old who was reported missing on May 10 after not being seen for almost a month. Mr Simpson had last been seen alive driving on Great North Road, southwest of Cessnock.

A week later on May 16, his body was discovered in a shallow grave on a nearby rural property and police confirmed in June they were treated the death as suspicious.

That’s when the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad took carriage of the investigation under Strike Force Blakely.

Initial inquiries suggested that Mr Simpson had suffered a fatal gunshot wound.

On Tuesday this week, strike force detectives searched the property where his body was found again and located three firearms, which were seized, before applying for and being granted an arrest warrant for a 34-year-old man in Victoria.

Later that day, with help from the Victoria Police Figurative Squad, the man was arrested in Carlton, Melbourne.

He was escorted by detectives on a flight to Sydney yesterday, before he was taken to Mascot Police Station where he was charged with murder and possessing an authorised firearm.

The man was refused bail to appear before Downing Centre Local Court today where police will allege in court the 34-year-old man fatally shot John Simpson before burying him on a property in Laguna.

Investigations under Strike Force Blakely continue.

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