Government must revisit Bowraville Murders Report

Government must revisit Bowraville Murders Report


December 20, 2010

The Chairwoman of the nation's largest Aboriginal organisation has called on the NSW Government to re-look at a police report which contains "fresh and compelling evidence" surrounding the disappearance and murder of three Aboriginal children from a country mission two decades ago.

In late 1990 and early 1991, Colleen Walker, aged 16, her four-year-old cousin Evelyn Greenup, and 16-year-old Clinton Speedy each disappeared from the Bowraville Mission over a period of six months. The children lived three doors from each other.

The bodies of Evelyn and Clinton were found in nearby bush land in early 1991, both with head injuries. Colleen's body has never been recovered, although her clothing was found weighted down in the Nambucca River.

Police eventually charged a local white man with all three murders, but he was acquitted in two separate trials.

The Daily Telegraph revealed earlier this month that a Freedom of Information request from the families of the children uncovered a secret police report which found "fresh and compelling" evidence in the cases.

Bev Manton, Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council said the Government must act immediately, and review its decision not to pursue fresh charges against the prime suspect.

"Three young Aboriginal kids were taken from the same mission over a six month period. It is an extraordinary case, yet it's failed to capture the imagination of the people of NSW like other cases, such as the disappearance of Samantha Knight," Chairwoman Manton said.

"Sometimes, I can't help but wonder why that is.

"I find it hard to accept that there hasn't been enough evidence to convict someone. It certainly isn't a result of a lack of cooperation from Aboriginal people.

"I call on the Attorney-General John Hatzistergos to revisit this issue, and to devote the necessary resources to bringing this serial killer to justice.

"I ask him to consider how he might feel if the victims in this case were his children, or children from his community.

"The community has done it tough - it's never really been able to move on from this tragedy.

 "But there must be some closure for them. We cannot allow the families of the victims - and the community more generally - to remain stuck back in 1990.

"They must be able to move forward from this tragedy, and the NSW Government can start that process by re-trying the man police say committed these terrible crimes."

Chairwoman Manton said she would use per position at the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to continue to pressure the NSW Government to act.

"I will be seeking a meeting with senior police, and with the Attorney General, to try and ensure there is action by the Government.

"I'll also be seeking to meet with federal Independent Rob Oakeshott to see if he can assist with this case.

"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council will pursue this government, and any subsequent government, until we get closure for Bowraville."

Chairwoman Manton urged anyone with information to assist police.

"Just imagine how you might feel if, 20 years down the track, you still don't know who killed your children?

"And just imagine if in the case of Colleen's family, your daughter's remains were never even recovered.

"If someone reading this has any information that can help bring closure for the families of these children, please go to the police.

"Colleen, Evelyn and Clinton deserve much better than this. So does the community.

"I thank the police who have never given up on this case, and I also commend the Daily Telegraph for its ongoing work. It's a great example of the power of the media being used to help people who have suffered enormous loss."

Contact: Chris Graham 0407 555 328