Night-time is the worst.
(min cost $8)
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She tries to think of happy memories; like that time Nina came home crying after she sat her nurse's exams. She thought Nina had failed, but they were tears of joy. She'd been accepted into her dream job.
"I try to think of nice things, but I always seem to go back to the last time I saw her and had her in my arms."
These are the words of Ann Jones. Wife to Spike Jones. Mother to policeman Andrew, now in his 40s, and daughter Nina, who is forever 22.
Nina Nicholson was a nurse in the children's ward at St John of God Hospital.
Her parents and brother lived around the corner from the house Nina and her husband Robert made home. Robert – "Nick" to his mates – was her first boyfriend and the truck driver was often away on overnight runs.
When he was away, she would sleep at her parents' place. She used to sleep at her own house until it all started happening.
Something had been scaring Nina. Firstly, underwear was disappearing from her clothesline and the clothesline at the home of another woman living in her street.
Every time Robert was away, she swore she could hear someone creeping outside their house.
She hadn't told her parents what was going on until one night when she got really scared.
She rung them in the middle of the night, wild with fear, saying there was someone outside.
But this time, she was on night shift. After having dinner with her Mum and Dad she went home at 8pm to get changed for work at 9.30pm.
By 9.40pm, a friend from the hospital had rung the Jones'; the normally conscientious Nina hadn't turned up.
Andrew woke his father up and the two of them drove to Nina's house to find her white Nissan still parked outside.
They went around the side and found Nina, in her blue nurse's uniform, lying face down on the back porch.
Spike got Andrew, then 17, to call police, while he rushed back home to collect Ann who, when she arrived, cradled her battered daughter in her arms.
The local policeman arrived and tried CPR, so too a neighbour, Paul Keay. It was too late. Nina had been bludgeoned to death.
All this happened 25 years ago today.
"It is so hard to believe, I sort of think 'How have we gotten through the last 25 years?' I honestly thought we never would," Ann said.
Spike and Ann still live in Clunes and in the same house they did back then. It's the sort of town where everybody knows everybody. So who knows who killed Nina?
Examinations of the crime scene later revealed she had struggled violently with her killer, who wielded what police described a "blunt instrument".
Her killer, who she may well have known, has never been brought to justice.
Police believe this person wasn't, as is more often than not in homicides, someone close to Nina. Not her family, or her husband, or relatives or friends or workmates.
But what if the killer lived close by?
In the days after the murder, detectives interviewed all of her neighbours. They were looking for witnesses, and in some cases, suspects.
They were able to account for everyone's movements, except for one, who they interviewed several times and released without a charge.
"Our life has been a rollercoaster life. We had our hopes built up and boom down they go," Ann said
"But I do [still] hope. We both hope that somebody, maybe, will have a bit of a conscience and say something because if the police have another little bit, it might be enough."
A million-dollar reward for information that leads to her killer was put in place last year.
For Spike and Ann and Andrew, an answer to the "who" would give them justice and – if not peace – at least some degree of satisfaction, Ann said.
Maybe then the thoughts that barge into her head at night would shift.
"I'd like to remember her in the happy times," Ann said.
Victoria Police's cold case unit are now investigating. Investigators believe there is someone in possession of information that could bring the killer to justice, and are urging that person to come forward.
Anyone with information is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential reportwww.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Indemnity from prosecution – if a witness believes they aided or abetted the crime – in return for information that identifies Nina Nicholson's killer is being offered.
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