From the Newsroom

Yamba woman in custody over East Lismore 2020 murder

Rodney Stevens


A Yamba woman who was arrested in Maclean over the murder of a 60-year-old grandmother at East Lismore in 2020 remains in custody after appearing at Lismore Local Court following delays in the case.

Emergency services were called to a unit on Rosedale Square, East Lismore, about 10.40am on Saturday August 22, 2020, after the body of a 60-year-old woman was found.

The victim, who was allegedly found by a neighbour who had arranged to meet up with her, was identified as Elizabeth Ann Lewis, a grandmother from Goonellabah, who was described as ‘a beautiful person’ and ‘such a lovely lady’ in comments on social media.

Detectives from Richmond Police District, assisted by the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, established Strike Force Boughton to investigate the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death.

When Ms Lewis’ body was found, police allege the scene was confronting for officers and there were obvious signs that violence had occurred.

Following investigations, about 1pm on Thursday, August 27, police arrested a 32-year-old woman on McNaughton Place, Maclean.

The Yamba woman, a former Maclean High School student, was taken to Maclean police station where she was charged with murder and improperly interfere with a corpse.

She was refused bail and appeared at Lismore Local Court on August 28, where she was again refused bail and ordered by Magistrate Jeff Linden to undergo psychiatric testing.

Initially the Yamba woman’s name was published after appearing in court, but a non-publication order established on December 16, 2020, which is still in place prevents the Independent from publishing her name.

Following the Yamba woman’s arrest, Richmond Police District Superintendent Scott Tanner told media the women knew each other.

“Police will allege that both parties were known to each other, and that relationship is still being investigated,” Supt Tanner said.

“I just want to reassure the public we are alleging the parties were known to each other so there was no randomness to this crime.

“It is a very unusual incident.

“Lismore is a very safe location, it’s a safe town.”

At her funeral which was streamed online, Ms Lewis’ family said she grew up in Clontarf on Sydney’s northern beaches and went to Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School and Mackellar Girls High School.

She then studied nursing at Royal Far West in Manly, which was described as a ‘good fit for her nature’.

Family remember Ms Lewis as a loving mum, a devoted grandmother and ‘much loved sister’.

Her brother told media Ms Lewis had a ‘tough and challenging life’, but he remembered his sister as ‘such a fighter’ who never gave up.

Most recently, Ms Lewis worked for Multitask Disability Care in Lismore, with her sister describing her as having ‘such a caring and warm heart’.

The Yamba woman, now aged 35, appeared in Lismore Local Court on April 26 facing the original charges of murder and improperly interfering with a corpse plus additional charges of causing a person to take an intoxicating substance to commit an indictable offence, destroying property, intimidating a police officer and assaulting a police officer in execution of duty.

She is yet to enter pleas to any of the charges.

Both the defence and the Director of Public Prosecutions are resolving procedural issues before the matter can be committed to the Supreme Court.

The Yamba woman’s case was adjourned until May 24, and she remains in custody on remand.

*According to the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Statistical Report on Homicide in Australia 2020-21 by Samantha Bricknell released on March 28, 2023, 91 per-cent of all murders in Australia are cleared by police within 12 months of the homicide being detected.