Man charged in 2008 Valentine’s Day murder case
Thirteen years after Bernd Lehmann was allegedly bludgeoned to death in a “frenzied” attack in his Sydney home, police have charged a 66-year-old man with murder.
Naji Fakhreddine, who would have been 53 at the time of Mr Lehmann’s alleged murder, was arrested this morning in Arncliffe.
The breakthrough in a cold case that has baffled police for more than a decade was a result of DNA technology and “innovative” police investigative work, NSW Police Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said.
“We will allege that the DNA that we’ve found at the crime scene is linked to the person,” Detective Superintendent Doherty said.
“Today’s an important day for family of Bernd Lehmann.
“Through DNA technology, and good investigative strategies, we’ve been able to unravel this secret, this mystery, of who actually was responsible for the murder of Bernd Lehmann.”
Detective Superintendent Doherty described the man, who is being interviewed after his arrest this morning, as a “casual contact” of Mr Lehmann.
A member of the public had tipped police off about the identity of the man. Last month NSW Police announced a $1 million reward to help solve the cold case.
The police have announced today that they will allege Mr Lehmann’s death was not a robbery gone wrong.
The body of Mr Lehmann was found inside a home unit at Alt Street in Ashfield on the evening of February 14, 2008.
Mr Lehmann was bludgeoned to death and suffered severe and fatal head injuries.
Following a coronial inquest in 2012, the case was passed on to the Unsolved Homicide Unit in the NSW Police.
In 2018, a forensic review of DNA samples obtained during the initial crime scene was conducted by forensic experts.
The samples were then sent to the Genetic Ancestry Laboratory, managed by the University of Canberra and University of Technology Sydney for DNA phenotyping.
The analysis revealed the DNA samples did not belong to Mr Lehmann, and likely belonged to a man with a multi-racial background including European, Middle Eastern and African heritage.
The DNA phenotyping also indicated the individual most likely did not have blonde hair or blue eyes.