Just as accused murderer Tobias Moran was set to be denied bail on Thursday, interstate saviours came to his rescue.
Mr Moran was extradited to Sydney from his home in Western Australia last week after being charged with killing his German backpacker girlfriend Simone Strobel in Lismore in 2005.
With all signs pointing to the accused killer remaining behind bars on Thursday, it seemed Mr Moran would not be returned to his pregnant wife and two children in Perth.
But just as the decision was to be passed down, the surfer’s father-in-law John Moran, who is a well-known dentist in WA, reportedly went to great lengths to get ensure his son-in-law’s release.
Mr Moran and his family are understood to have coughed up hundreds of thousands for their in-law, according to the Daily Mail.
Mr Moran’s brother-in-law Michael Moran has also entered into the bail agreement and will be required to pay $50,000 if the accused killer refuses to allow police to inspect his phone on request.
Other bail conditions include the requirement for Mr Moran to surrender his passport, to report to Wembley Police Station three days a week and to remain off encrypted communication tools such as WhatsApp.
He must not go within 500 metres of any international point of departure, unless to travel to and from NSW for the purpose of attending court, and must live at an address in City Beach in WA.
Before his release from custody on Friday, Mr Moran was held at Lismore Police Station.
Before being extradited to Sydney on murder charges, Moran was understood to be living a life of luxury by the beach in Perth with his wife Samantha and their two children.
Formerly known as Tobias Suckfuell, the accused murderer took the name of his wealthy wife when the pair were married in 2012.
Ms Moran, a lawyer, yoga instructor, children’s book author and former ski instructor, is now preparing to give birth to their third child.
The alleged killer was released from prison in Sydney on Thursday after prosecutors decided not to appeal against his bail being granted.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions released a brief statement on Thursday night.
“The ODPP has considered the matter and determined not to make a detention application in relation to Mr Moran,” they said.
The matter is next listed before the Lismore Local Court on September 28.
Mr Moran will not be required to appear.
Mr Moran is accused of suffocating Ms Strobel inside a camper van before dumping her body under some foliage nearby.
The 42-year-old was freed by a Sydney magistrate after it was determined that there was not sufficient evidence to link him with the 2005 murder.
He can now return to his home in Western Australia where he was extradited from last week.
Magistrate Margaret Quinn in the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday accepted submissions from Moran’s barrister that claimed there was no new evidence connecting him to the murder.
Police allege Mr Moran killed his girlfriend while they were staying at the Lismore Tourist Caravan Park on February 11, 2005.
Six days after Ms Strobel disappeared, the body of the 25-year-old schoolteacher was found hidden under palm fronds just 100m from the caravan park.
Police claim Mr Moran stayed at the caravan park and misled investigators as they tried to determine the cause of Ms Strobel’s death.
According to police, Mr Moran lied during the initial investigation into Ms Strobel’s death about the nature of their relationship, their consumption of alcohol, and what she was wearing when she disappeared.
More than 17 years later, he has been extradited from his home in Western Australia and charged with murder as well as acting to pervert the course of justice.
On Thursday, Mr Moran appeared via video link in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court to learn whether he would be granted conditional freedom after a lengthy bail review on Wednesday.
During the bail review, his lawyer Tim Game SC told the court that the case against Mr Moran was “non-existent”.
He argued the police allegations against his client, including the claim Ms Strobel died of suffocation, were not supported by evidence.
The crown prosecutor disagreed and categorised the circumstantial evidence as strong.
He noted there were a number of statements from new witnesses, which the court heard would bring the total number of witness statements to a staggering 300.
The prosecutor noted an inquest found Ms Strobel did not die from natural causes, but instead from the actions of a person or people.
Magistrate Margaret Quinn noted neither an Australian inquest in 2007 nor a German inquest had definitively identified the cause of death.
The court heard the couple had been drinking, doing drugs and fighting before Ms Strobel disappeared.
Witnesses heard screaming in the area of the caravan park in the hours before the young teacher disappeared.
Magistrate Quinn noted the “matters are very old” and would be difficult to prove.
She said the prosecution case was purely circumstantial.
“There doesn’t appear to be at its highest any direct evidence connecting him to the offence,” she said.
“It’s not the strongest circumstantial case I’ve seen.”
The magistrate noted Mr Moran has a clean record and his associates combined to offer $450,000 in assurances he would not flee.
Mr Moran, who was known as Tobias Suckfuell before he legally changed his name, was granted strict conditional bail after a robust discussion of how WA authorities would enforce potential bail breaches.
Magistrate Quinn determined the 42-year-old could be released if he reported to police, surrendered his phone information, surrendered his family’s passports and resided only at his City Beach home in WA.
However, crown prosecutor Scott Jaeger immediately moved to delay Mr Moran’s release by indicating he would submit a detention application to the Supreme Court.
Hours later, that decision was reversed.
The court heard the trial will likely be held in 2024 due to delays in the court system.