A support rally calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the 1990 Bowraville murders has proven successful.
A support rally calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the 1990 Bowraville murders has proven successful. Jessica Grewal

Deep racial divide to blame for Bowraville murders acquittal

A PARLIAMENTARY committee is expected to hear how inexperienced policing and a deep racial divide helped a serial killer walk free, when an inquiry into the 1990 Bowraville murders begins on Thursday afternoon.

More than 20 years after Clinton Speedy-Duroux, Colleen Walker and Evelyn Greenup were murdered in the space of six months the committee will look at the impact the deaths had on the victim's families and the community.

While the inquiry isn't what the families have long campaigned for - a royal commission into the murders and a change in double jeopardy legislation which prevents an acquitted suspect from being retried despite the emergence of fresh evidence - many are hopeful it will be a long-awaited step in the right direction.

Helen Duroux, who along with eight of her relatives has made repeated trips to various protests and government meetings in Sydney to advocate on behalf her nephew Clinton's family, was among the first to make a submission to the inquiry.

She told the committee she regularly visits a local park where Clinton's name is engraved on a plaque and hoped to raise money for a children's playground to be built in the Tenterfield town centre in honour of the three victims.

She also pleaded with the committee to "keep fighting for justice on behalf of our children".

"...We are still carrying that pain of the loss of our three babies," Ms Duroux said

"You have the authority to bring us a conviction and I would beg you to stop the rot that has been occurring...and enable us to have what we want a need - a guilty verdict".

The inquiry has the backing of senior NSW Homicide Detective Inspector Gary Jubelin, who has led the "re-investigation" since the mid 90s and told the committee a mix of inexperienced investigating officers, limited technology and racial barriers could explain why "certain lines of inquiry were perhaps not fully explored".

Referencing the segregation that occurred in Bowraville as recently as the late 80s, Det Insp Jubelin said cultural differences were to blame for "crucial" evidence being withheld until after a criminal trial had been held.

One woman eventually told police she didn't think the police of the day "would believe an Aboriginal woman saying a white man had come into her home" while a man, who claimed to have knowledge of the burial of the children's bodies, said "I was an Aboriginal with a drinking problem and they would never believe me".

The inquiry begins will continue on May 12.

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