Premier calls for rethink on Bowraville murders

THE NSW government has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to reconsider the decision to drop the case of three Aboriginal children murdered at Bowraville in 1990 and 1991.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma yesterday said Attorney-General John Hatzistergos had requested the DPP, Nicholas Cowdery, to reconsider that decision.

"I'm advised that the attorney did ask him to reconsider the decision of that particularly distressing case," Mr Iemma told reporters.

A spokeswoman for Mr Hatzistergos said they were still awaiting a response from the DPP.

The decision was hailed yesterday as "fantastic news" by families of the victims.

"It has given us hope, after being so down a fortnight ago," said Leonie Wilmshurst-Duroux, the sister-in-law of one of the victims, who has been active in trying to have the cases re-opened.

The families of the victims recently questioned whether funding cuts and staff cuts within the DPP had affected the way in which the case was reviewed.

No one has been convicted of the murders, which saw the deaths of three children in five months.

The first of the three children, 16-year-old Colleen Walker-Craig, disappeared from Bowraville Mission on September 13, 1990. Her body has never been found but her clothes were recovered from the Nambucca River, weighed down by rocks, in April 1991.

The bodies of four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-old Clinton Speedy-Duroux were found in bushland within four kilometres of the mission in 1991.

A 39-year-old man who lived in Bowraville at the time was charged with the murders of the four-year-old girl and the teenage boy, but he was acquitted in 1994 of the boy's murder, while the charge over the little girl's death was 'no-billed'.

Disquiet in Bowraville over the original police investigation led to a riot in the town and prompted NSW Police to order a re-investigation, which began in 1997.

A combined coronial inquest in 2004 prompted the DPP to reopen the case and charges were again laid against the same man for the murder of Evelyn Greenup. He was acquitted by a jury in 2006.

Police submitted a new brief of evidence to the DPP in February this year.

But the victims' families were told this month that the DPP would not proceed to a retrial.

The head of Strike Force Ancud, Detective Inspector Gary Jubelin, said yesterday he had made a comprehensive submission to the office of the DPP in February as a result of information he had received through his 10-year reinvestigation of the murders from 1997 to 2007.

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