A brazen murderer has been arrested at a crime scene in far north Queensland with the victim's remains still inside him.
However, the suspect was released without charge and slithered away from police, after the victim, a beloved black chicken named Nina, was killed on Sunday in the Cairns region.
Police have described the murder in Smithfield as "a crime of nature", but were left frustrated by a lack of witness statements after Nina's housemates, also chickens, were unable to provide information.
It is alleged the resident's daughter went to the chicken coop on Sunday morning to collect eggs and was greeted by a hiss from a large python lying on the second shelf digesting Saturday night’s dinner - the unfortunate Nina.
Police said the daughter screamed and woke her father who sprang into action, only to backpedal once he realised what the cause of the screaming was.
"Whilst we can’t release the identity of the informant we can say that as a former resident of snake-free New Zealand he was in no hurry to remove the massive intruder," Senior Constable Heidi Marek said.
The man told local officers who were called in to deal with the intruder and investigate the crime: "I love your country but not your snakes."
Constable Mark Allam, a former South African police officer, and Scott Irvine, who formerly served with the Australian Defence Force, took the offender into custody without incident.
Unfortunately, the victim was declared dead at the scene and potential witnesses who also lived with the victim refused to co-operate with police.
Without witness statements and being unable to recover the victim's remains, police were forced to relocate and release the python in bushland north of Cairns.
"At this point, I would like to highlight that not all police like handling snakes but we are fortunate to have officers in our ranks that have experience in dealing with all types of animals," Senior Constable Marek said.
"Great job boys, you are certainly a hero in the eyes of our New Zealand friend."
This story first appeared on The Brisbane Times.