Cold case unit to expand borders

THE mother of murdered woman Belinda Williams has welcomed news that the Homicide Cold Case Unit is expected to expand.

Shirley Macey said the announcement by Detective Inspector Mick Hughes on Wednesday to increase the size of the cold case unit would hopefully bring peace to families of victims.

She said she felt a degree of uncertainty after the recent departure of Homicide Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles to the Police Association secretary role. 

“I was worried (with the event of Ron Iddles leaving) that everything may have been left unattended,” Ms Macey said. 

“This is now good news for people in Ballarat who have lost loved ones to unsolved murders. 

“We welcome the announcement that the cold case unit would be expanded.”

There are more than 200 cold case murders in Victoria, and the incoming head of the homicide squad says the unit tasked to solve them will be expanded.

Detective Inspector Hughes said the cold case unit, comprising four officers, would grow this year and would be working alongside a unit tackling historical sex crimes.

“It will be expanded and the sex crime side will be expanded,” Detective Inspector Hughes said. 

Shirley Macey on Mt Buninyong at the site where her daughter Belinda Williams' body was discovered about 10 years ago.

Shirley Macey on Mt Buninyong at the site where her daughter Belinda Williams' body was discovered about 10 years ago.

“They’re determining that structure now.”

Victoria once had three cold case teams, each with four detectives, but the unit was disbanded in 2006 after a review found the force’s specialist squads were inefficient. It was reopened with significantly fewer resources in 2011.

There are close to half a dozen cold cases which remain unsolved in Ballarat.

Police are yet to find whoever is responsible for Ms Williams’ death in late June, 1999.

Her body was discovered by bushwalkers on the Mount Buninyong Access Road two weeks after she went missing.

A $500,000 reward has been offered to anyone who can provide information about the murder.

“In most cases, people know something and are reluctant to come forward for one reason or another,” Ms Macey said.

She said finding and prosecuting the killer would never bring her closure, but a sense of peace.

“It would mean everything really, I’d be able to feel peace.” 

- with Tammy Mills

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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