Victoria Police cold case unit identifies 30 homicide cases they believe are 'highly solvable'
Victoria Police's cold case unit has identified 30 unsolved homicides it puts
in the highly solvable category.
Some of the murder mysteries date back decades.
Homicide squad cold case unit head Ron Iddles yesterday said he and his cold case crew
of a sergeant and four detectives, with the help of the 52 other homicide squad detectives,
had set themselves a target to review 25 unsolved murders a year.
Of those he expected 10 a year would go to the next stage of being fully investigated - and
30 requiring full-blown probes have already been identified as priority cases.
The initial review is aimed at establishing how likely it is each of the 280 unsolved homicides
in Victoria since 1950 can be solved.
Today, we launch the Cold Case Files database of every unsolved homicide in Victoria since 2000.
Search by name, date, location, reward and map, and alert police to clues. Read more reports here.
"I think it is important to have a cold case squad so that the community actually has faith that we never give up."
Detectives look at what witnesses are still available; whether DNA exists or could be obtained; if all
the exhibits still exist; whether relationships between people who provided alibis for suspects have
changed to such an extent they might want to retract the alibi and whether any new evidence or intelligence
has come in since the original investigation.
The more of those boxes that are ticked the higher priority the case becomes.
Det-Sen-Sgt Iddles said his plan was that in almost all cases the cold case unit or homicide squad detective
who did the initial paper review of the case would also get carriage of the full-blown investigation if the
review revealed one was warranted.
He said he encouraged detectives to have ownership of particular cases so they knew it from back to front.
Sen-Sgt Iddles said none of the 280 unsolved cases on the homicide squad books since 1950 would be closed
until the killers were charged.
“I think it is important to have a cold case squad so that the community actually has faith that
we never give up,'' he said.
“And for the families of victims the cold case unit is a central point for them to ring in.
“Just last week I was contacted by the family of six-year-old murder victim Kylie Maybury, whose body was dumped
in a Preston gutter in 1984.
“They wanted to know if there was anything new to report. Sadly, I had to tell them there wasn't.
“The cold case unit is also where we manage all the new information that comes in in relation to any
unsolved case. So it's a central point to direct that information so it can be evaluated.
“But I think, most important of all, having a cold case squad gives hope to families that there is a
possibility that the case relating to their loved one will be solved and they will have the final answer
as to what happened and who did it.''
Sen-Sgt Iddles, for operational reasons, wouldn't reveal details of all 25 unsolved homicides
currently being reviewed and which had been escalated to full probes.
But he did reveal details of several cases he and his detectives were looking at or would look at.
While the first homicide Sen-Sgt Iddles (pictured above) worked on was the June 1980 murder of Thornbury
bookshop owner Maria James, the first one he was in charge of was the shooting death of 18-year-old Mr
Cooper on August 18, 1980.
Mr Cooper and his girlfriend were sitting in his parked car in a well-known “lovers lane'' at Ricketts Point,
Beaumaris, shortly after 7pm when a man smashed the side window.
Mr Cooper was shot three times as he frantically tried to turn his car around to drive away and escape his attacker.
“I would like to solve every homicide, but being my first, it would be particularly rewarding to catch Mr Cooper's
killer,'' Sen-Sgt Iddles said.
He revealed the case has been examined again and a strong suspect identified.
That suspect was interviewed soon after the murder, but had an alibi.
“Believing that the tyranny of time might have changed things, we revisited the female who provided him with his
alibi,'' Sen-Sgt Iddles said.
“Unfortunately we discovered she is still friendly with the suspect, but we will keep pursuing him.''
It is more than likely she was killed by someone close to her.
The naked body of Gina Rossato, 48, of Thornbury, was found on August 16, 1982, in a
ravine near Pascoe Vale Rd, Somerton. Her throat had been cut.
Sen-Sgt Iddles said the Rossato murder was a high priority for the cold case squad as
there was a strong suspect and it was considered highly solvable.
“It is a fascinating case,'' he said.
“I believe it is more than likely she was killed by someone close to her.
“She caught a taxi home from a restaurant in Fitzroy about 3am. The taxi driver dropped her
off outside her flat and he watched her walk up the driveway and actually go up the stairs.
“She had a glass trifle dish full of trifle because she had been at her sister's restaurant.
“What I say is if someone startled her she would have dropped the trifle dish and somebody
would have heard that.
“I can't find any evidence of that happening.
“One would assume it is more than likely she got into her own unit and
something happened to her inside that unit.
“There are still inconsistencies.
“This case is on our list to be fully investigated again. It has a higher priority than some of the others.'
The violence was part of the reality. It was really very much worse than that
The skull of schoolgirl Denise McGregor was so severely smashed a pathologist described the injuries as being
similar to those suffered by plane crash victims.
Denise, 12, was left lying face down in long grass by the side of a lonely Wallan East road in 1978.
She was abducted as she was returning home from running errands to a local milk bar.
A dramatic, police-backed, television re-enactment of Denise's rape and murder prompted a huge community response
in 1978 when it was shown during evening television news services over three nights.
A scene depicting Denise being repeatedly beaten with a crowbar was cut after complaints to the Broadcasting Tribunal.
Paul Delianis, then head of the homicide squad, defended the graphic re-enactment, saying he wanted to move people
enough to make them come forward with information.
“We wanted to portray it as realistically as possible,'' Mr Delianis said at the time. “The violence was part of the
reality. It was really very much worse than that.''
Police believe a heavy rock was used to inflict some of Denise's head injuries.
An attempt had also been made to strangle her with her own shoelaces.
Sen-Sgt Iddles said he had spoken last week to the original detective involved in the McGregor case as there
were new leads to chase.
The semi-naked body of nightclub singer Ms Kipouridou, 26, was found in the half-opened lift of her Richmond Housing
Commission block in 1981. She choked to death on her own blood.
Sen-Sgt Iddles is confident she was attacked and raped by Barry Harding.
Harding was convicted and jailed over the rape and murder of three-year-old Kim Anh Ho in 1981 in the same block of
Elizabeth St flats Ms Kipouridou lived in.
Sen-Sgt Iddles said Harding came to see him after serving his 14-year minimum term for the Ho murder and they had a
He intended talking further with Harding, including about the Kipouridou murder.
“But he got run over by a car and killed in Bacchus Marsh soon afterwards,'' Sen-Sgt Iddles said.
“I am reasonably confident Harding murdered Haroula. He was certainly out and about in the area on the same night
she was murdered.
“There was a footprint at the murder scene, which was a boot. He was a worker who wore similar boots.
“There were also a lot of similarities between the murder of Kim Anh Ho and the killing of Haroula Kipouridou.''
Sen-Sgt Iddles has been investigating new leads in the disappearance and suspected murder of Maryborough
schoolboy Terry Floyd since 1999 - and he is still doing it.
He was given new evidence just this month that implicated a paedophile in the 1975 disappearance of Terry, 12.
The Herald Sun revealed in 2010 that new evidence implicated convicted paedophile Raymond Kenneth Jones, 60, in
Terry's abduction and murder.
Sen-Sgt Iddles still considers Jones to be the prime suspect and will be checking to see if the latest paedophile
nominated as having been involved in Terry's death has any connections to Jones.
Jones drove a fawn Holden panel van at the time Terry disappeared and has admitted to police that he was on the
Pyrenees Highway, travelling from Avoca to Maryborough, at the time Terry was seen hitchhiking on the highway.
Three witnesses have told police they saw a vehicle similar to Jones's panel van near the hitchhiking boy.
Terry's brother Daryl believes his brother's body was dumped down a mineshaft near Avoca - which is near where the
witnesses saw a van matching the description of Jones's vehicle - and is in the process of excavating it, but has
run out of money.
Jones has told the Herald Sun he wasn't involved in Terry's disappearance and that he has nothing to fear from the
search for Terry's body.
ANNETTE MAREE STEWARD
The naked, bashed and strangled body of factory worker and single mother of two Ms Steward was
found in the bedroom of her Geelong West home on March 18, 1992, just 12 days before her 30th birthday.
Sen-Sgt Iddles said the cold case squad had revisited the case twice and was continuing to pursue a strong suspect.
“That person is still alive,'" he said.
“I believe he was responsible for her death, but at this stage there is insufficient evidence.
Sen-Sgt Iddles appealed to anyone with information on any unsolved murder to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.