Matthew Ross White, 25, of Mooroobool has been charged with the murder of Cooktown woman Donna Louise Steele. He has been charged with one count each of murder, misconduct with a corpse by interfering and enter dwelling with intent. PICTURE: FACEBOOK
Matthew Ross White, 25, of Mooroobool has been charged with the murder of Cooktown woman Donna Louise Steele. He has been charged with one count each of murder, misconduct with a corpse by interfering and enter dwelling with intent. PICTURE: FACEBOOK

Accused murderer bashed in alleged prison assault

THE accused murderer of Cooktown mum Donna Steele has been assaulted in an alleged attack by several prisoners at Lotus Glen Correctional Facility.

Matthew Ross White, 25, is in a stable condition at Mareeba Hospital after multiple inmates allegedly bashed him inside the Tablelands jail late yesterday afternoon.

It is not yet known the extent of his injuries.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed a 25-year-old man was transported to the hospital in a stable condition after an incident occurred at the prison about 4.50pm.

It is understood the attack came just moments after Mr White was incarcerated at the facility.

MURDER: White allegedly killed Donna Steel during 'ambush'

Mr White was arrested at his Mooroobool home on Friday and charged with the murder of Ms Steele, 42, whose wrapped body was found in Endeavour River, Cooktown, in August last year.

The young father was also charged with interfering with a corpse, and entering a dwelling with intent.

AFL Cairns match between Cairns City Cobras and Manunda Hawks. Cobra's Matthew White.
AFL Cairns match between Cairns City Cobras and Manunda Hawks. Cobra's Matthew White.

Police have alleged that he broke into Ms Steele's home, ambushed the mother-of-two, killed her and then dumped her body at a creek at Leggett's Crossing about 15km away from her home.

He faced Cairns Magistrates Court on Saturday and was remanded in custody until May 2.

Queensland police have alleged that the pair were known to each other, and that evidence would prove Mr White had been in Cooktown on August 2, when Ms Steele was last seen at the local IGA supermarket.

Donna Louise Steele.
Donna Louise Steele.

Her body was found in the Endeavour River four days later, sparking a massive seven-month investigation involving searches of homes, properties, and even crocodile-infested waterways.

SERT officers with machine guns keep watch for crocodiles as police divers search Isabella Creek at Leggett's Crossing near Cooktown for the body of Donna Steele. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
SERT officers with machine guns keep watch for crocodiles as police divers search Isabella Creek at Leggett's Crossing near Cooktown for the body of Donna Steele. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan had just one week earlier issued a $250,000 reward and indemnity for those not directly involved with Ms Steele's death.

Queensland Corrective Services has been approached for comment about yesterday's incident at Lotus Glen.



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