John Chardon inside a police vehicle after his arrest. Picture: Luke Marsden
John Chardon inside a police vehicle after his arrest. Picture: Luke Marsden

Wife killer also a rapist and child sex offender

GOLD Coast millionaire John Chardon was investigated over the death of his first wife and is a convicted rapist and child-sex offender, it can now be revealed.

The businessman's sordid past and details of his first wife's death can today be published by The Courier-Mail after the 72-year-old was on Monday convicted by the Brisbane Supreme Court of the manslaughter of his fifth wife Novy Chardon, more than six years ago.

It took a jury more than nine hours to convict Chardon of the killing, after retiring on Friday.

He was found not guilty of murder and will be sentenced next week.

It is understood that in 2013, police examined whether Chardon had played a role in the death of his first wife, Maureen Monica Chardon, in the 1990s as part of the investigation into Novy's disappearance.

John Chardon answered questions in Brisbane Supreme Court over the murder of his wife Novy Chardon. Courtroom drawing by: Richard Gosling
John Chardon answered questions in Brisbane Supreme Court over the murder of his wife Novy Chardon. Courtroom drawing by: Richard Gosling

At the time, there was insufficient evidence found to link Chardon to her death.

A funeral notice shows Maureen died on June 23, 1996, at age 40 and was survived by her and Chardon's two daughters Candice and Angela.

Maureen's death is believed to have been written off as a suicide and in the committal hearing held prior to Chardon's murder trial, prison snitch Peter Foster claimed the lubricant tycoon told him she "died of a massive overdose of sleeping tablets".

Family sources have said Maureen told Chardon prior to her death she planned to leave him because he was having affairs with other women.

It is understood she confronted him in the pair's Gold Coast factory that was then located in Carrara shortly before her death and threatened to take half his assets.

It is also believed Maureen expressed a wish to be buried in the event of her death, but Chardon arranged for her to be cremated in 1996.

John Chardon on the Gold Coast. Picture: David Clark
John Chardon on the Gold Coast. Picture: David Clark

When giving evidence at his murder trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court, the former armourer wept when he began talking about Maureen.

He said the pair were married for 12 years before her death and in 1986, they began the company that produces Inox, building it up from the ground.

"It took me about four years to come to terms with her passing, dying," Chardon said choking back tears on the stand.

In Foster's 2015 statement to police, he alleged Chardon had discussed Maureen's death when the pair shared a prison cell.

"He told me that she didn't leave a suicide note. He told me that he sat in the lounge room watching Ben Hur the night that she died. He told me that he met Maureen when he was working in real estate and sold her house for her. He said they were both married at the time they met," Foster claimed.

He later said in the statement he believed Chardon was responsible for Maureen's death.

By 2001, Chardon had met and married Indonesian-born Novy.

Novy was aged in her 20s and Chardon was in his 50s at the time and the pair dated for one month before being married.

But after Chardon was charged with Novy's murder in 2013, his past came knocking.

A woman he'd molested in her teens heard his voice on the television and came forward, telling police how the businessman raped her at his home in the 1990s.

Chardon had spoken to the media denying any involvement with his 34-year-old wife's disappearance, famously telling reporters Novy was "crazy" and should "get her stupid bloody arse" home.

The girl, now a woman, remembered that voice when she heard it for the first time in years.

She had been one of Chardon's daughter's friends.

The man had first molested her when she was aged just 15, having a sleepover at his house.

He later raped her after hiring her as a cleaner, a Gold Coast court previously heard.

Chardon was aged in his 50s at the time.

In 2014, Chardon was jailed for six years by the Southport District Court after being found guilty of six historical child sex offences including rape, attempted rape and unlawful carnal knowledge.

In sentencing, the court found he had "corrupted" his victim, who sat weeping in the back of the court as her rapist was sentenced.

During the hearing, Chardon, used his trademark trick and tried to talk the judge out of handing down his punishment.

"I didn't do it - I just couldn't get beyond the lies," he said from the dock.

Just as he did during his murder trial, Chardon gave an "unbelievable" story to police, saying it was the teenager who had propositioned him for sex.

Novy Chardon on her wedding day with husband John Chardon.
Novy Chardon on her wedding day with husband John Chardon.

Chardon unsuccessfully appealed the conviction in 2015.

But it wasn't long before his fetish for youngsters came to light again.

In 2016, after another trial, Chardon was found guilty of child sex offences he committed on the Gold Coast against a girl that was not related to him.

He was convicted of indecent treatment of a child under 16.

The offence involved him rubbing the seven-year-old's vagina with a towel for about five minutes.

He was handed an additional five months jail on top of his sentence for rape.

Judge Fleur Kingham labelled it a "serious offence" and said it was a breach of trust.

"It is clear that she (the victim) viewed you with some affection," she said at the time.

At the same trial, Chardon was acquitted of two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, after it was alleged he swam naked with two children, aged seven and nine.

He became eligible for parole in August 2017 in relation to his sex offending.

Chardon will be sentenced for the manslaughter of his wife Novy later this week.

KEY EVIDENCE

■ Chardon hired a carpet cleaner the day after his wife went missing and Novy Chardon's best friend Frederika Wong felt wet carpet in the 34-year-old's room when she came looking for her on February 7, 2013.

■ Novy's lawyer sent Chardon an email about their divorce, child custody and assets at 3pm on the day she went missing, causing him to snap.

■ Her handbag, with her bank cards, cash and passports, were found at the couple's Upper Coomera home, despite Chardon claiming she told him: "I've got to go away."

■ Chardon visited his lubricant factory about 7pm on the evening Novy went missing and "retrieved something" he used in the killing.

■ A box containing gun parts and handcuffs with "John" written on the front was found at the factory by an employee and given to one of Chardon's daughters.

■ Chardon sent thousands of dollars to a Filipino man he met on the website Asiandating.com and asked him to source a hitman to kill his wife.

■ He asked the same man to procure a gun with a silencer and throw Novy from a cliff or leave her body in a cave.

■ Urine was found on the floor of Novy's bedroom, believed to have been left there after she lost control of her bladder during a violent altercation with Chardon.

■ The businessman was awake at 12.55am the morning after Novy went missing. He sent a text to his daughter Angela, but lied to police about being asleep and taking a sleeping tablet.

■ Chardon slept in Novy's bed the night after she went missing, which he had not done for 12 months, because he knew Novy was not coming back.

■ He propositioned Novy's best friend for sex the day after his wife went missing.

■ Chardon contested these claims made by the Crown in court.