Solving teen's murder "not in the public interest": D'Ath
QUEENSLAND Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath has refused a family's request to order a coronial inquest to hunt down the killers responsible for a teen's murder more than two decades ago.
Not even a heartbreaking letter from the murdered teen's mother, father and sister could sway the state's chief law maker.
Ms D'Ath did not give the family the courtesy to meet with them about the case despite numerous requests to do so.
Sacked former police minister Jo-Ann Miller also refused the family's request last year to increase the reward on offer for information in a bid to flush out those responsible.
The heartbroken family of Annette Jane Mason said the latest setback would not see them give up hope the killer, or killers, will one day face justice.
Annette Jane Mason's badly beaten and partly naked body was found on November 19, 1989, concealed under a doona in a house she shared with two other women in Toowoomba.
It is believed Miss Mason, 15, was murdered sometime between 5am and 7am before her body was discovered around 2.10pm.
No one has ever been charged over the shocking murder.
Annette's sister, Linda Mason, talking exclusively to the Queensland Times from her home near Ipswich, said the rejection letter arrived in the mail last week.
She said the family was devastated at learning Ms D'Ath was not interested in justice for their slain family member.
"We were absolutely devastated . . . I could not believe this woman could make that decision without even meeting with us and hearing about the new evidence," she said.
"My father broke down in tears when he learnt the news, he was absolutely inconsolable, and still is.
"Mum kind of expected the response because the authorities have not been interested in Annette for more than 20 years."
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Ms D'Ath allowed the family to wait for nearly a year before sending them the rejection letter in the post.
She said in the letter, which the Queensland Times has viewed, it was not in the public's interest to order an inquest into Annette's death.
"I would like to offer my sincere condolences to you for your loss," she said.
"I understand the police investigation is ongoing, and that there are a number of avenues of inquiry being investigated by the Queensland Police Service.
"After consideration of all these issues, and in view of the ongoing QPS investigation, I have decided not to direct the State Coroner to reopen the inquest into Annette's death at this time.
"While I appreciate that this will be upsetting for you and is not the outcome you were hoping for, I trust this information will help you to understand the reasons for my decision."
Ms Mason said her army of social media supporters and followers would be devastated at learning the family's request for an inquest had been rejected.
She said she would not allow Annette's case to sit in a box collecting dust at police headquarters for another quarter of a century.
- MORE ON THIS STORY: Read Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath's heartless letter to the Mason family
"It feels as though Annette's murder has been put in the too hard basket," she said.
"We do not want pity or sympathy, we just want justice."
Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker, who met with the Mason family last year, said it was disappointing Ms D'Ath did not even bother to meet with the family before making her decision.
He said when he met with the Mason family they made a compelling prima facie case for a fresh set of eyes to look over this matter.
"The Attorney-General has not had that meeting and has taken nine months to dismiss the request out of hand," he said.
"Annette's family deserve to have confidence that the matter has been thoroughly investigated and no stone left unturned in seeking justice for this heinous crime.
"The people of Toowoomba deserve to have confidence that we have a justice system in Queensland, not just a legal system, and that victims of crime are given due consideration and recognition."
Several persons of interest in the case are currently living in the Ipswich region, including one of the main suspects who resides with his partner in North Ipswich.
The man, who the Queensland Times cannot name for legal reasons, was jailed for armed robbery shortly after Annette's murder.
While serving his sentence he bashed to death another prisoner with a lump of wood - in a manner similar to how Annette was murdered.
A 1991 coronial inquest into Annette's death held over four days in Toowoomba delivered an open finding. Coroner Ross Woodford heard evidence from 27 witnesses, read 147 statements and the 72-page police report but found there was insufficient evidence to commit any one person to trial.
The inquest heard there were initially up to 13 suspects in Annette's murder. Investigators believed Annette knew her killer, but there could have been more than one person involved.