A South African man has faced a Cairns court charged with murdering a young whitewater rafting guide.
Jo La Spina’s alleged killer Musa Brandon Ngwira appeared briefly in Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon after being extradited from NSW.
The 31-year-old tourism worker was arrested on Sunday in Sydney but was only formally charged with murder after arriving into Cairns handcuffed and escorted by detectives.
He made no comment as he was rushed through Cairns airport into a waiting police 4WD where he sat covering his face with his hands.
In court, Ngwira’s defence lawyer Paul Richardson asked that the case be adjourned for two months to allow time for significant forensic testing.
Ms La Spina, 26, was found dead in a bedroom of a Bingil Bay home, south of Cairns, on April 19.
The rafting guide, described as lovely and caring by her family, spent the previous evening having dinner and dancing with a group of friends before returning to a friend’s house and heading to bed alone.
Detectives haven’t revealed how she died but have said they aren’t looking for a weapon.
Ms La Spina’s mother Shelley is struggling to come to terms with her daughter’s death.
“Every morning I wake up hoping this is just a nightmare,” she wrote in a letter to the Cairns Post.
“We will love you for ever and ever and then more.”
Ngwira, a South African citizen, moved to far north Queensland from Sydney in March to take up a job as a tour guide.
He has lived in Australia for at least a year.
He wasn’t in a relationship with Ms La Spina but the pair had socialised on a number of occasions as they worked in the same industry and had mutual friends, police have said.
Ngwira was arrested in the beachside Sydney suburb of Cronulla where he had been staying with his girlfriend.
His case has been adjourned until June 18.