Australian murder suspect Jonathon Stenberg auditioned for film part


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As one of Australia's most-wanted men, Jonathon Stenberg – suspected of a particularly gruesome murder – might have been expected to lie low.

Instead, he walked on to a movie set, auditioned for a bit part in a film starring some of the country's leading actors – and was given the role of a policeman.

The 46-year-old former army corporal had been on the run since the body of his neighbour, Edward Kelly, was found in his home in northern New South Wales last month, decapitated and with a hat placed where his head should have been.

In outback Queensland, Mr Stenberg saw a poster inviting locals to audition as extras in Mystery Road, a murder thriller being made in the small town of Winton.

Dozens of armed police were searching for him at the time and his photograph had been splashed across newspapers and was in TV bulletins. But the film crew had not seen the news for days and he told them he wanted to earn a few dollars. "He came across as a really nice guy, very well-mannered… the sort of guy you'd hire straight away," the second assistant director, Mark Ingram, said yesterday.

Mr Stenberg, who has worked as a security contractor in Iraq and as a bodyguard for one of Australia's most successful models, Miranda Kerr, gave his address on the audition sheet as "back of truck".

He offered to help out with odd jobs on the set of the movie, which stars Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten and Aaron Pedersen .

But when Mr Ingram offered him the policeman's role, Mr Stenberg emailed saying he would not to be able to take the part because he was heading to the Northern Territory. And it was in the outskirts of Darwin that he was captured by police last Sunday after six days on the run.

When the film crew saw Sunday's news reports, they realised who it was they had met.

Yesterday, Mr Ingram recalled how Mr Stenberg had bought him a cup of coffee as he waited for his audition. "For a guy who is Australia's most wanted to come through your door is most unusual," Mr Ingram said .

Mr Stenberg will appear in court in Sydney tomorrow charged with murder. The decapitation allegedly took place after a long-running dispute between the neighbours. Mr Kelly's head has not been found.