Was the news article posted about his slip up while on video?
EXCLUSIVE by David Murray
For two hours and 21 minutes, serial conman Ric Blum calmly answered police questions about the disappearance of mother-of-two and teacher Marion Barter.
Then with the interview officially over, the last officer in the room reached for the camera positioned directly in front of Mr Blum as if to turn it off. Momentarily left alone, with the camera in fact still recording, Mr Blum dropped his head and appeared to utter a single audible word: “F. k.”
Seconds later, the same officer who’d just stepped away could be heard speaking to homicide detectives behind Mr Blum’s back.
“I haven’t stopped it, did you want me to stop the tapes, or you’re happy to do it?” she asked.
Mr Blum’s head lifted and officers returned to the room, this time actually stopping the tape.
It had happened in a blink of an eye, possibly explaining why Blum’s comment in a seemingly unguarded moment was missed in the official police transcript.
Mr Blum had good reason to be stressed and worried at that moment. In the police interview, Detective Senior Constable Sasha Pinazza from the NSW Police homicide squad had put to him allegations that he had ripped off a series of women in Australia and overseas, before asking the ultimate question.
Pinazza: “Mr Blum, did you murder Marion Barter?”
Blum: “Are you kidding?”
Pinazza: “No. I am not kidding, and I expect you to answer my question seriously.”
Blum: “No. No.”
Pinazza: “Did you in any way harm Marion Barter?”
Blum: “No. I never harm anyone.”
Mr Blum had a long, white Santa Claus-style beard when the video was filmed at Ballina police station on September 14, 2021. Initially wearing a face mask, he removed it as detective Constable Pinazza started the ball rolling.
“You do not have to say or do anything unless you wish to,” she cautioned him. “But anything you do say may be recorded and later used in evidence.”
“Yep,” Mr Blum replied.
Constable Pinazza sat on one side of the camera, and her colleague Leza Pessotto on the other.
Three months earlier, in June 2021, Mr Blum had been approached by investigators for the first time and provided a written statement confirming he had an intimate relationship with Barter before she went missing.
In that document, he claimed he first met Barter in the 1960s in a hotel bar in Lucerne, Switzerland, when she was there with her then-husband Australian footballer Johnny Warren. According to Mr Blum, he and Barter had a “fleeting” affair while Warren was busy with a football clinic.
They had another affair in the 1990s after meeting each other again by chance, after Barter placed a personal ad in a newspaper, he said. Extraordinary personal claims were included in the statement, seen by The Weekend Australian. “It was my understanding that Marion was very free with men,” Mr Blum said.
“I would describe her as a ‘teaser’. Marion was pretty available to everyone. She was running with lots of men. Marion did tell me that she had had relationships with some of the fathers at the school in Southport where she taught.”
Their relationship petered out, but Barter asked him to store “three or four wooden tea chests” at the family home he shared with his wife and two teenage children in Wollongbar in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
Barter later collected her belongings with a man wearing the uniform of a pilot or navy officer, who she planned to travel overseas with, he said. He knew nothing about what happened to her after that. In the later recorded police interview, Mr Blum remained defiant on his assertions about Barter as he described their purported first meeting. “She’s a sex maniac,” he said. “Within 10 minutes … she wanted sex.”
Asked to describe Barter’s Gold Coast home, he said it had a “huge collection of LPs”, and was already for sale the first time he went there. “I went three times over a period of about four months,” he said.
At the time of both the affair and police interview, Mr Blum was still with his fourth wife, Diane De Hedervary, who he had married in 1976. He did not know Barter changed her name, he said in his police interview. “She was going to buy a private school in England,” he said.
Volunteer researcher Joni Condos came across the case on podcast The Lady Vanishes and made the initial discovery that led to Mr Blum being linked to Barter – a personal ad he’d placed in one of his 50 known names, Fernand Remakel.
Before disappearing, Barter secretly changed her name to Florabella Remakel. Detectives then discovered after Barter vanished, women of similar ages and backgrounds to her complained to police that Mr Blum deceived and stole from them.
Such a pig!