Ashley Gaddie: Tradie charged over Cranebrook murder of Dannielle Finlay-Jones faces court for first time

A tradie accused of murdering a teacher in Sydney has faced court for the first time after he was arrested in a dramatic 12-hour standoff with police on a cliff top.

Ashley Gaddie, 33, appeared in Penrith Local Court on Wednesday after he was arrested in the early hours of the morning in the Blue Mountains.

Police allege he murdered Dannielle Finlay-Jones, 31, at a home in Cranebrook and then fled the scene.

The pair had spent the night at the home belonging to two of the woman’s friends before he left in the morning, according to police allegations.

Her friends, who thought the couple was enjoying a sleep in, only discovered she had been lying in bed alone with horrific head injuries when they checked in on her at 2.30pm on Sunday.

Emergency services were called to the scene, but the teacher was unable to be revived. She was pronounced dead at the western Sydney home around 2.30pm.

After three days of investigations by specialist officers, Mr Gaddie was arrested just after midnight on Wednesday morning following a police operation in Wentworth Falls.

Police cornered the Five Dock resident on Tuesday afternoon at Fletcher’s Lookout, where he was standing on the cliff edge.

“Police negotiators attended and engaged the man in conversation, before he was arrested about 12am (on Wednesday),” a statement from NSW Police said.

Mr Gaddie was taken to Katoomba Police Station and charged with murder.

On Wednesday afternoon, the court heard the 33-year-old “was intent not to appear on screen” in the Penrith courtroom.

Police made an application for a forensic swab to be taken, which was opposed by Mr Gaddie’s lawyer Declan Ormachea.

Although the tradie’s consent was not given, the court heard a DNA swab will be taken to preserve the “transient” nature of the sample.

The court heard it will be a matter of debate whether the forensic evidence will be admissible in court.

The matter will be heard in the new year during a defended argument.

Mr Gaddie did not apply to be released from police custody.

He will remain behind bars on remand until his next court appearance on March 3.

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