Marion Barter’s mystery lover to appear at inquest into her disappearance

Feb 14, 2022
The man believed to be a former secret lover of Marion Barter is set to speak at the inquest into her disappearance. Source: New South Wales Police

Ric Blum, the former secret lover of missing Queensland teacher Marion Barter, is set to appear at an inquest into her disappearance at Ballina Courthouse on Monday, February 14.

Barter was last seen at a Southport bus depot in Queensland, on Sunday, June 22, 1997. In the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Barter was spotted by a family member leaving a service station in Southport, in a red Honda Civic Breeze accompanied by a tall male passenger. It’s believed Barter left Australia for the United Kingdom on June 22 under the name Florabella Natalia Marion Remakel. Barter had officially changed her name to this, just a month before leaving the country.

Investigators believe Marion may have re-entered Australia on August 2, 1997, under the name of Florabella Natalia Marion Remakel with an incoming passenger card stating she was married and resided in Luxembourg. Investigations also revealed that following her disappearance, an unknown person appeared to have accessed her bank account, withdrawing a reported $80,000.

Barter’s daughter Sally Leydon told 7 News she is “really hoping that we get that information at the inquest.”

“I believe we’re the closest we’ve ever been to finding out what’s happened to Mum,” she said.

“That’s my hope and prayers that … I just want to find her.

“I care little about the rest, I just want to find her.”

The inquest heard Ric Blum, from northern NSW has had multiple aliases including ‘Richard Lloyd Westbury’, ‘Frederick de Hedervary’, ‘Willie Wouters’ and ‘Fernand Remakel’, according to 7 News. Blum admitted to having “fleeting” relationships with Barter.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, said strike force detectives have re-examined items from the original investigation in the hope that the appeal and the coronial inquest will encourage people to come forward with information.

“Marion’s behaviour leading up to June 1997, and following her departure from Australia has been described as out of character,” he said.

“We are particularly eager to hear from anyone who may have had any interaction with Marion Barter or Florabella Remakel from June 1997 onwards, particularly in late July or early August 1997.

“We are trying to piece together some of the missing links in Marion’s movements and her close connections to create a full picture of exactly what has happened.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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