Why acid bath killer wanted to get rid of his wife
IT WAS a grisly crime that made headlines across Australia and left people feeling sick to their stomach.
How could a husband do this to his wife? How could anyone do this to another person?
And there was also a morbid fascination attached to this gruesome murder as the horrifying details came to light.
Klaus Andres killed his wife of five years and to cover up the crime he used acid to dissolve her body in a bin and then washed her down a drain outside his Brinsmead home.
All that was left of her body was 10 porcelain teeth.
Why? So he could move on to another woman and avoid paying out on a prenuptial agreement.
Like all the other victims in this Cairns Post true crime series, Li Ping Cao was an innocent.
The pair had met when Andres was in China in 2005. They married in 2006 after she joined him in Australia so she could stay in the country.
"She was just a lovely young lady," Cairns Detective Sergeant Brad McLeish said.
"To escape poverty in China she finds herself with this dirty old man in Brinsmead and when he discovered that she no longer loves him… he moves on to another person, another Asian woman.
"And of course the way he disposed of the body showed a complete lack of respect for her."
Neighbours had seen Andres hosing out a wheel bin full of liquid, white foam and a "minced substance" down his driveway and into a drain.
The last documented trace of Li Ping occurred just after 9pm on October 30, 2011, when she had used the internet on her phone for 19 minutes.
Nine days later she was reported missing.
At the request of police Andres fronted the media calling for public information - evil masked by a smile as he waved at the cameras and spoke openly about his marital issues with his wife. He said she'd probably left him.
It was all part of a police strategy to catch a killer. Less than two weeks later Andres was arrested for murder at 5pm on November 20, 2011.
The gory details began to unfold as police pieced together the horrible truth.
Andres has never admitted to actually killing Li Ping. He always claimed that she was accidentally killed when she fell and hit her head during an argument.
And there is no way of knowing exactly how she died. But what is known is the despicable way he tried to hide her death.
CCTV footage, obtained by police, showed the remorseless killer at the front counter of Bunnings purchasing 40 litres of hydraulic acid using his wife's bank card, three days after he'd already bought 20 litres of acid just 12 hours after Li Ping's last trace.
And so police began a gory experiment involving the dead bodies of two 50kg pigs, which were placed in two separate tubs filled with hydraulic acid.
The contents of one was stirred daily while the other was left to just fester.
Detectives needed to find out if a human body could be dissolved that way in a week.
By the final day the body in the tub that was stirred had been reduced to slush - the other was only half dissolved.
All that was left of Li Ping's body were 10 porcelain teeth found in a stormwater drain. Police spent months working to confirm they had been fitted by her Chinese-based dentist.
"He kills her purely so he can move on with his life, get another Asian bride and not have to pay her money because they had a prenup," Det Sgt McLeish said.
Police had built a strong case to the point where Andres had pleaded guilty to dissolving Li Ping in acid before the 2013 murder trial began.
But he maintained her death was an accident, that she had stabbed him with a fork and so he pushed her and she struck her head and died.
A Cairns Supreme Court jury completely rejected his claims and found him guilty of murder. A conviction sustained through appeals to the Court of Appeal and High Court.
These days Andres, now in his mid-70s, remains in the Far North at the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre.
TOMORROW: Part six of the FNQ's Worst Criminals series looks at a murderous panel beater, who executed two people over a limited-edition Sandman panel van.