Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-vanuatuan-fruit-picker-john-yalu-accused-of-amputating-kalman-tal’s-leg-with-circular-saw-ordered-to-front-court-on-murder-charge-–-two-years-since-the-mutilated-body-of-grandfather-was-found-outside-fish-‘n’-chip-shopAlert – Vanuatuan fruit picker John Yalu accused of amputating Kalman Tal’s leg with circular saw ordered to front court on murder charge – two years since the mutilated body of grandfather was found outside fish ‘n’ chip shop

A Vanuatuan fruit picker charged with murder after amputating a Queensland grandfather’s leg with a circular power saw has been ordered to face a Cairns court.

John Yalu has spent the last two years in prison since the mutilated body of much-loved pensioner Kalman Tal was found bleeding to death outside a fish and chip shop in Innisfail, 90km south of Cairns.

Mr Tal, 66, was discovered by passers-by around 4.23am on Saturday, February 19, 2022 with his leg amputated at the knee in a park near the waterfront of the town’s Johnston River.

Paramedics could not revive Mr Tal who is believed to have died from cardiac arrest due to exsanguination or bleeding out.

Police quickly arrested then 36-year-old John Yalu, a banana picker living in migrant accommodation at his nearby boarding house which overlooks the riverbank.

They alleged that at 3.48am on the same morning, Mr Tal had driven the seasonal worker in his car down to Fitzgerald Park, laid out a blue tarpaulin and injected himself with a sedative.

As a result of an alleged exchange of $5000, police claim Mr Tal brought his own battery-charged table saw for Mr Yalu to cut off Mr Tal’s leg at the knee.

Mr Yalu then helped Mt Tal back to his car and left soon afterwards, with the pensioner then leaving the vehicle some time later and being discovered by two brothers who were walking past the Innisfail Seafood shop.

Migrant fruit picker John Yalu (above), who is charged with murder after he allegedly severed the leg of pensioner Kalman Tal with a power saw, was due for arraignment in the Cairns Supreme Court on Thursday

Migrant fruit picker John Yalu (above), who is charged with murder after he allegedly severed the leg of pensioner Kalman Tal with a power saw, was due for arraignment in the Cairns Supreme Court on Thursday 

Kalman Tal (above with his daughter-in-law) was a much-loved pensioner around Innisfail before his death

Kalman Tal (above with his daughter-in-law) was a much-loved pensioner around Innisfail before his death

Mr Yalu’s subsequent arrest caused a storm among the local population of seasonal workers.

Two days later, Vanuatu’s High Commissioner to Samson Vilvil Fare flew in from Canberra to Innisfail for an urgent crisis meeting with around 300 highly emotional Vanuatuans, traumatised that a co-worker was charged with murder and behind bars.

Mr Tal’s distraught family broke their silence to Daily Mail , saying Mr Tal was a ‘lovely man’ but had been ‘ill’ and ‘desperate’ prior to his death.

It later emerged that he had been likely suffering from a condition known as ‘body integrity dysphoria’ in which the sufferer does not feel a psychological connection with a particular body part, and feels an obsessive desire to remove it.

The accused has been on remand inside Lotus Glen Correctional Centre west of Cairns, his practice of sending his wages home to his wife and three children ending with his arrest.

On Thursday, Mr Yalu was due to appear before Justice James Henry to enter a formal plea, which his lawyer said last month would be ‘not guilty’.

Solicitor Michael Rodriguez told the judge last month that he had consulted a forensic psychologist to assess Mr Yalu’s fitness to plead, and that any plea would have to be with the aid of an interpreter in the Bismali Vanuatu language.

Fitzgerald Park (above), on the banks of Innisfail's crocodile-infested Johnstone River, where police allege migrant worker John Yalu amputated the leg of retiree Kalman Tal with a power saw

Fitzgerald Park (above), on the banks of Innisfail’s crocodile-infested Johnstone River, where police allege migrant worker John Yalu amputated the leg of retiree Kalman Tal with a power saw

Police believe Kalman Tal (above) brought his own battery-charged table saw to the park where his leg was amputated at the knee leading to catastrophic blood loss and death

Police believe Kalman Tal (above) brought his own battery-charged table saw to the park where his leg was amputated at the knee leading to catastrophic blood loss and death

A frustrated Justice Henry expressed his annoyance at further dragging out of the matter that first came before the courts in February 2022, the Cairns Post reported.

However Thursday’s proposed arraignment has now been adjourned until May 9, the court told Daily Mail .

Cairns Prosecutor Aaron Dunkerton estimated a trial would last three days, but Mr Rodriguez said it would likely take two weeks and would involve expert witnesses. 

Those experts are believed to include medical specialists in the field of body integrity dysphoria or the psychotic condition ‘major self mutilation’ (MSM), in which a person wants to remove an eye, or amputate genitals or a limb.

In the months leading up to his death, Kalman Tal had been ‘asking around’ Innisfail for someone to remove his left leg.

Daily Mail spoke with several people in Innisfail who said Mr Tal had asked two fisherman and a doctor if they would carry out the task, and had requested the same from Mr Yalu on at least one occasion prior to the alleged murder.

On the night of Friday, February 18, 2022, Mr Yalu was out drinking at Innisfail’s Nite Rumours bar along with other Vanuatuan workers.

Mr Yalu had left his young family behind in Vanuata’s capital of Port Vila in June 2021, flying with a group of other workers to and entering Covid quarantine.

The men were then taken to a group of houses in the town centre known as Innisfail’s Accommodation Hub for Non-Resident Workers.

Mr Yalu became known among local businesses as a ‘nice young man who regularly sent money home’ to Vanuatu via an Innisfail newsagency.

The 66-year-old, who had been living in this southeastern Innisfail house (above) for two years with his daughter and her family, had asked a doctor, fishermen and, reportedly, Vanuatuan worker John Yalu more than once to sever his lower left leg

The 66-year-old, who had been living in this southeastern Innisfail house (above) for two years with his daughter and her family, had asked a doctor, fishermen and, reportedly, Vanuatuan worker John Yalu more than once to sever his lower left leg

His social media accounts are littered with pictures of him with his wife and young children in his native country.

For the two years prior to his death, Mr Tal had been living in a house in a southeastern Innsifail suburb with his son, daughter-in-law and his grandchild.

His ex-wife Eva Tal and daughter Carline Farrugia would later reveal that although he wasn’t diagnosed with any condition, he had an issue with part of his body ‘always the left side, and below the knee’.

Two brothers out walking found Kalman Tal in a pool of blood in a gutter near Innisfail's fish and chip shop in February 2022, but the 66-year-old could not be revived

Two brothers out walking found Kalman Tal in a pool of blood in a gutter near Innisfail’s fish and chip shop in February 2022, but the 66-year-old could not be revived

John Yalu, 36, was charged with murder after allegedly using a power saw to amputate the leg of Kalman Tal, and has spent the last two years behind bars on remand

John Yalu, 36, was charged with murder after allegedly using a power saw to amputate the leg of Kalman Tal, and has spent the last two years behind bars on remand

Ms Tal described her former husband as a loveable person who was adored by his six grandchildren and said ‘he had the biggest heart of anyone I knew’.

It is believed that Mr Tal met with Mr Yalu earlier on the Friday night in question, and then teamed up with him again around 2.30am when the pair travelled in the retiree’s blue late model Holden down to the riverfront.

The men are believed to have laid out the tarpaulin on a grassy area for about 20 minutes before Mr Yalu allegedly used a circular saw.

MSM is an extremely rare condition which mostly results in superficial mutilation, finger amputation, mutilation of the tongue, breasts, or nose, with just four case studies in which there was a fatal amputation. 

The task force investigating the incident, Operation Uniform Cremini, is headed by Cairns detective, Acting Inspector Gary Hunter.  

Inspector Hunter described the ‘the very confronting scene’ outside the fish and chip shop on the morning of the alleged murder, saying there was ‘lots of blood’. 

John Yalu has been in custody for two years on the murder charge at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre (above) near Mareeba, west of Cairns where more that 700 inmates are housed

John Yalu has been in custody for two years on the murder charge at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre (above) near Mareeba, west of Cairns where more that 700 inmates are housed

John Yalu was due for arraignment on the murder charge for allegedly amputating retiree Kalman Tal's lower left leg with a power saw

John Yalu had left Vanuatu in 2021 but regularly sent home his earnings from banana picking to his wife and children back home

John Yalu was due for arraignment on the murder charge for allegedly amputating retiree Kalman Tal’s lower left leg with a battery-operated power saw the 66-year-old reportedly carried around in his car

John Yalu was living in this migrant worker hostel (above) in Innisfail while employed on a banana plantation

It is just a short walk up a back lane from the riverfront park where Kalman Tal’s body was found to the migrant hostel (above) where John Yalu was living in Innisfail while employed on a banana plantation

READ MORE: Horrific reason cops allege a desperate dad ‘paid a banana picker $5,000 to SAW off his leg’