The case of a woman who was murdered and dumped next to a toilet block in Africa four years ago is finally being investigated by Australian authorities.
Elly Warren, from Melbourne, was on a diving and volunteering program when she was killed during a night out in the Mozambique tourist village of Tofo in November 2016.
Local police have spent the four years since doing almost nothing to solve the case, with her father Paul Warren spending $50,000 on his own search for answers.
Mr Warren has made two trips to the African nation over the last four years after taking the investigation into his own hands.
He has been assisted by former Victorian Police detective Charlie Bezzina, who says it’s unconscionable Mr Warren has been left to conduct inquiries himself.
But this week in a surprising breakthrough, Mr Warren received a phone call from the Australian Federal Police, telling him they been ordered by a coroner to travel to Mozambique to investigate his daughter’s death.
Local police have spent the four years since doing almost nothing to solve the case, leaving her father Paul Warren to spend $50,000 on his own search
The Australian Federal Police have been ordered by a coroner to travel to Mozambique to investigate Elly Warren’s death
Elly Warren (pictured), 20, from Melbourne was on a diving and volunteering program in the village of Tofo in Mozambique when she was murdered and possibly raped in 2016
‘If you had a daughter who died from suspicious circumstances in a Third World country, you would expect Australian authorities to investigate properly,’ Mr Warren told news.com.au.
‘Most Australians would expect that. Everybody I’ve spoken to asks me why the AFP didn’t go straight in. What did we get? F** all. We were on our own.’
African police ruled the 20-year-old’s death was an accident, despite her being found lying with her face in the sand and her underwear pulled down to her knees.
Police in Australia were privy to this, but didn’t take any action.
‘If this ever happens to another family, they’ve gotta get over there. I can tell you now, through diplomatic channels, it takes time and if they don’t do that you’ll lose everything,’ Mr Warren said.
He said he regrets getting his daughter’s body cremated, potentially destroying possible forensic evidence.
Mr Warren received a tip-off about a man in Tofo who ‘spikes tourists’ drinks and steals from them’ in March. He shared the information with a private investigator (Elly pictured)
Mr Warren said he regrets getting his daughter’s body cremated, potentially destroying possible forensic evidence
Victorian Coroners Court documents show Mozambique authorities will cooperate in a joint investigation.
Mr Warren said the fact it has now been confirmed that Ms Warren was murdered has given him renewed hope.
The breakthrough comes after Mr Warren late last year solicited the help of German investigator Nick Greger, who believes an African drug lord murdered Ms Warren.
Mr Greger planted a sex worker in the court of a local drug kingpin, and secretly recorded him bragging about crime and murder.
The covert operation code-named Student was carried out by Mr Greger from Germany as coronavirus travel bans prevented him from traveling to Africa.
Local sex workers were quizzed over Zoom on whether they’d be interested in cosying up to a crime lord as part of an international operation to catch a murderer.
Mr Warren believes the gang leader is a prime suspect in his daughter Elly’s murder
They launched a four-week-long undercover operation in August and a sex worker infiltrated the gang and obtained recordings of the gang leader (Elly pictured above)
‘It didn’t make sense to send a white person there because they would garner too much attention and the locals who live in fear of these gangs and are not going to say anything,’ Mr Greger said.
‘So I come up with a plan to recruit a local woman to befriend the prime suspect.’
Mr Geger gave his contact on the ground an idea of what kind of girl he was looking for but the first few women he spoke to were ‘not bad enough and not ruthless enough’.
But eventually he found the perfect candidate.
‘She comes from the kind of environment where killers and gangsters are not a rare thing,’ Mr Greger said.
‘So when I described the mission she was not scared at all. She was absolutely relaxed.’
Mr Greger was acting on a tip-off Mr Warren was given by a South African woman who holidayed in Tofu during March.
Pictured: Melbourne woman Elly Warren, who was murdered in Mozambique four years ago
She wrote to him on Facebook and said she was quietly warned to ‘stay away’ from a group of people that locals believed were responsible for Elly’s death.
Last year Mr Warren also announced a $25,000 reward for information about her murder before his plans for more visits were curbed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Another theory included speculation Ms Warren may have fallen victim to a bungled robbery attempt by the gang and been accidentally killed after she tried to resist.
Mr Warren said they could have dumped her body, which was found by the side of a toilet block, because they knew the police would try to cover-up the rape and murder of a foreign tourist.
Mr Warren explained he had handed over a full brief of intelligence on the gang leader to consular officials in the Australian embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.