A coroner has released in-depth findings into the historic death of a Corowa beauty queen, revealing that the prime suspect reportedly confessed to another prison inmate about what he had done.
An 86-page report into Bronwynne Richardson's death, stitched together from thousands of pieces of information including police interviews, statements, and evidence given in court over three coronial inquests, was released this week.
The 17-year-old's battered body was found in water off Waterview Road west of Albury on October 14, 1973.
Various people were charged over the years but the cases always collapsed.
Her long-suffering family finally received answers nearly three weeks ago at the end of an inquest into the slaying.
Coroner Carmel Forbes found the teenager's cousin Colin Newey and a second man, Max Martin, were part of a group of men involved in her abduction, rape and murder two nights before the grim discovery.
"For almost 50 years, Ms Richardson's family has been living with the heartbreaking uncertainly about who was responsible for Ms Richardson's death," Ms Forbes noted in her written findings this week.
"Ms Richardon's family have clearly been deeply affected by their loss and by the unanswered questions.
"I acknowledge the painful and persistent uncertainty felt by them in not knowing what happened to Ms Richardson and the anguish around not being able to give her a proper burial and farewell.
"I offer my sincere condolences to all of her family.
"Ms Richardson was clearly a beautiful young lady with a lot of potential and her cruel death is a real tragedy."
The findings reveal a prisoner who served time with Newey in Parklea said he had confessed to the crime.
Newey was in custody in 2014 after being charged over the murder.
Those charges were eventually dropped, but a fellow inmate came forward in February 2018 to reveal what Newey had told him.
Ms Forbes said the information was "the most compelling new evidence in this inquest".
The man, whose name is suppressed, said he'd had several conversations with Newey while they were locked up.
Newey told the inmate that Ms Richardson had entered a car he was in willingly, rather than being abducted.
Newey told the man he took her to "Horseshoe Bay" where his cousin started skipping stones.
Newey reportedly grabbed Ms Richardson and started trying to take off her clothes, before grabbing her around the neck and backhanding her multiple times.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Newey mentioned dumping her body in shallow water when she was already dead and naked from the waist down.
The coroner found several issues with the new evidence, and said the inmate, known only as Witness M, may have come forward in a bid to get a sentence reduction, or to claim part of the $1 million government reward on offer for the case.
"However, at least some of the information that Witness M provided should be accepted as reliable," Ms Forbes said.
"There is a considerable degree of detail in Witness M's initial account provided to police in February 2018 about which Witness M was unlikely to have prior knowledge.
"It is very likely that in relation to his account to police in 2018, Witness M was passing on information that Mr Colin Newey had told him."
The coroner found there were inconsistencies in the inmate's evidence, but said it was probable that Newey had deliberately provided the man with misleading information.
Newey tried to falsely pin the crime on others, including Ross Eames, who the coroner found was not involved.
Ms Richardson's former partner, Geoff Brown, was also found not be involved despite being a suspect for many years.
The coroner did find that Max Martin was involved, despite his denials about even being in Albury at the time.
Ms Forbes said there was a "cogent body of evidence" he was in Albury on October 12, 1973, and that he was in town at the time of the abduction.
Martin tried to cover up his association with the Newey brothers, despite Colin's brother Peter Newey being the best man at his wedding.
Peter Newey said his brother and Martin had been with him at a home on George Street in Albury on the day of the abduction.
He told police in 2011 that the pair and a third man left as it was getting dark.
Colin Newey appeared to admit in a police interview to being at the home and leaving about 7pm.
Police believe Colin Newey and Martin headed to Smollett Street, where the 17-year-old was abducted.
It's unclear which vehicle was used in the abduction.
The coroner was also unable to determine the exact role each of the men played in the horrors that unfolded near the water at what was then called Horseshoe Lagoon.
The coroner also couldn't say for certain if Kevin Newman - a man a court heard was "borderline mentally retarded" - was involved, given his limited functioning.
He had made several concerning statements over the years, including that he "f---ed [Ms Richardson] but didn't kill her" and would "never get caught for what [he had] done".
Ms Forbes said some of the things attributed to Newman could be explained by his limited intelligence.
She thanked Detective Sergeant Steve Morgan for his work on the cold case and for the support he had given the late teenager's family for the past 13 years.
No further charges will be laid as all of the suspects are dead.
Ms Richardson's sister, Fiona Hume, spoke on behalf of the family outside Albury court last month after brief findings were handed down.
"Evil cannot exist with beauty," Ms Hume said.
"It has to destroy it.
"Death may silence the monsters, but it hasn't silenced the truth."
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