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Fly and be free: Qantas plans Mardi Gras tribute to slain cabin crew member

Qantas will pay tribute to Luke Davies on its Mardi Gras parade float after the flight attendant was allegedly murdered by a serving police officer.

Feb 29, 2024, updated Feb 29, 2024
Police are searching for Luke Davies, left, and Jesse Baird, right.(Instagram) ABC

Police are searching for Luke Davies, left, and Jesse Baird, right.(Instagram) ABC

The bodies of Mr Davies, 29, and Jesse Baird, 26, were found inside surfboard bags at the fence line of a rural property in Bungonia near Goulburn, about 200km southwest of the city, on Tuesday.

NSW Police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon, 28, is in custody after being charged with killing the couple at Mr Baird’s home in Paddington in Sydney’s east on February 19.

Police allege the murder of Mr Baird, who Lamarre-Condon briefly dated, was premeditated, while Mr Davies was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We will be strongly claiming in our case that this murder was premeditated and the second murder occurred because of, unfortunately, Luke’s presence at the house,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald told Nine News.

The Mardi Gras parade will run through Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, not far from Mr Baird’s house in Paddington, on Saturday.

Qantas routinely participates in the parade with floats themed around its aircraft, but the airline has not confirmed what form its tribute at the upcoming event will take.

NSW police will also march in the parade after reaching a compromise with organisers, having previously been uninvited after Lamarre-Condon was charged.

Officers will march out of uniform as part of the agreement.

Lamarre-Condon, who previously marched in the parade, allegedly shot the duo with his police-issued firearm before transporting their bodies to the rural area.

Two days before the killings, he allegedly bought a surfboard cover at a store at Miranda, in Sydney’s south, to carry Mr Baird’s body.

“Following the incidents and the murders, he went back and bought a further surfboard cover,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb earlier confirmed Lamarre-Condon had been served a notice for his dismissal from the force.

“I’ve actually today read a segment of his file and I have signed – and it has been served, he has been served today in custody – a show-cause notice for his dismissal,” Ms Webb told ABC’s 7.30 program on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, domestic violence rates within the LGBTQI community have been highlighted amid calls for further police training following the alleged murders.

Investigators allege the crimes followed a months-long campaign of “predatory behaviour” by the accused, culminating in the fatal shooting.

Peter Murphy, who took part in the first Mardi Gras march in 1978, said LGBTQI communities were not immune from domestic and family violence.

But many gay and lesbian people were hesitant to report it to police due to historical discrimination displayed by the force, he added.

“Personal relationships, whatever genders are involved, can have an ugly side,” Mr Murphy told AAP.

“I don’t think there’s enough training within the police on these matters and in the next few months I think we’ll see a fairly good effort from police, but it can fade off easily.

“If the police response to this is more of a public relations exercise, everyone will be disillusioned.”

NSW Greens MP Amanda Cohn said parts of the community did not feel safe reporting threats or violence to police.

“The NSW Police continuing to investigate themselves cannot deliver the meaningful change that is needed,” she said.

“Only an independent review of the institutional approach to policing can deliver the transparency and accountability the community needs to build trust.”

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