Bowraville: Suspect faces court again 25-years after murders
THEY were three Aboriginal children who lived on the same street and were killed within the space of five months in the northern NSW town of Bowraville.
And today - 25 years after their deaths - a man has faced Newcastle Local Court charged with two counts of murder.
The accused 51-year-old serial killer - who cannot be named for legal reasons - is charged with the murder of Evelyn Greenup, aged four, and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, 16, who disappeared from Bowraville in the early 1990s.
No one has ever been charged with the murder of 16-year-old Colleen Walker, who went missing in September 1990.
Outside of court Thomas Duroux, the father of victim Clinton Speedy-Duroux, said his family had waited a long time for this day.
"It is good. This is something we have wanted for a long time, it's good, it's really good to be here,” Mr said.
"We've still got a long way to go yet.
"You've just got to keep fighting, keep going, that's all we can do.
"It's been a long battle but hopefully we'll get there.”
The accused sat in court wearing a short-sleeved maroon coloured shirt as the families of the victims sat metres behind him.
Senior Prosecutor Clint Nasr asked for a number of bail conditions to be imposed, including that he not apply for a passport.
Public defender Peter Krisenthal did not oppose the bail conditions and magistrate granted the accused conditional bail.
The matter was adjourned to August 10 but the accused is excused from appearing if he has legal representation.
Colleen's clothes were found weighted down with rocks in the Nambucca River several months after she disappeared, while the remains of Evelyn and Clinton were found off the side of a dirt road on the outskirts of Bowraville.
The man facing court this morning had previously been charged with their murders but was later acquitted after a judge ruled the trials should be heard separately.
The white man they always suspected of killing their children also lived in the small Bowraville community.
Last year, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione apologised to the families of the victims and acknowledged the initial police investigation was inadequate.
A major stumbling block to a retrial has been the double jeopardy laws which prevent a person from being tried more than once for the same crime.
But in 2006, the state's double jeopardy laws were changed to allow a person to be tried for the same crime but only if there was "fresh and compelling evidence”.
It remains unknown whether evidence that police believe links the killings to each other and the suspect meets the legal definition of "fresh” and is evidence that has not already been "adduced” in court.
In May last year, then NSW Attorney-General Gabriel Upton referred the application for a retrial to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal following a 20-year investigation by police, led by Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin.
"After careful consideration, I have decided that there should be no further delay in bringing this matter to court,” Ms Upton said.
In what has been described as uncharted legal territory - it is up to the highest criminal court in the state to decide whether there is "fresh and compelling evidence” to warrant a retrial.
It is understood if the matter proceeds to a retrial, the NSW Police will then seek an ex-officio indictment to charge the man with the murder of Colleen.
The suspected killer has always denied any involvement in the children's deaths.
"The best and most transparent way to deal with this tragic case is to make an application for retrial to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.”