Bronwynne Richardson murder | Family lives in hope that justice will be done

First published: December 3, 2011

THE inquest this week on Bronwynne Richardson followed countless hours of investigation by the NSW police cold case unit.

Officers had compiled more than 1200 pages of evidence and exhibits for the four-day inquest before deputy state coroner Carmel Forbes.

The Richardson family, Bronwynne's mother Noel, father Stan and three sisters, Jannette, Helene and Fiona -- her two brothers Robert and Garry were not at the inquest -- travelled to Albury, seeking some sort of finality.

Instead, they will continue to wait as police investigate further in the hope of solving the murder of 38 years ago.

The family left Albury early yesterday with a firm resolve to get justice for Bronwynne.

Noel Richardson remained optimistic and said: "Miracles do happen."

Time, fading memories and a reluctance by some to assist are working against police in their endeavours.

But the officer in charge of the case, Det-Sgt Steven Morgan, said police would continue digging and explore any leads.

Ms Forbes referred the case to the NSW Police for further investigation after returning an open finding.

Two men, Lavington man Geoffrey Charles Brown and Ross Eames from South Australia, were identified as persons of interest.

Mr Brown was Ms Rich- ardson's boyfriend when she went to school at St Paul's College, Walla.

Their relationship ended about 18 months before her death, but the inquest was told he had trouble accepting it was over.

She had moved to Albury from Corowa for employment about three weeks before her disappearance and was working at Coles supermarket.

On the evening she disappeared, October 12, 1973, she was waiting near St Patrick's Church in Smollett Street for a ride to Corowa to attend a function in the area.

She was abducted and her body was found two days later at Horseshoe Lagoon, west of Albury.

The inquest was told four men, Mr Brown, Mr Eames, Max Martin and Kevin Newman, were present when Ms Richardson was raped and murdered.

It was allegedly carried out by Mr Brown and Mr Martin as the other two watched and took no part.

Mr Martin and Mr Newman are now dead.

Two anonymous phone calls were made to police in South Australia after a television program about Ms Richardson's murder was aired in 1989.

Mr Eames and Mr Newman were given immunity against prosecution by police and Mr Brown was charged with murder in February 1990.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Warwick Hunt, said this week when reflecting on that indemnity early in the inquest: "There was probably a sound legal basis for them to be indemnified."

It was anticipated they would give evidence at a committal hearing, but they declined and Mr Brown was discharged.

There was more investigating by police which led to both Mr Eames and Mr Newman being charged with concealing a serious indictable offence.

The matter went to trial in the District Court and, after significant legal argument, a judge directed that the pair be acquitted.

More people were interviewed and statements taken in 2009 which led to the latest inquest.

It was the third time authorities and courts have inquired into Ms Richardson's death.

Only time will tell whether anything substantial comes from the further investigations by police.

2011 Year in Review: Looking back on the 2011 inquest

2011 inquest: Cousin Peter Newy was probed by police over death