New unit to look into Cafasso murder
Posted - ABC
Tasmania's Police Commissioner, Richard McCreadie, says
DNA technology will be central to the success of a new cold case unit.
Recruiting has started for the six officers who will be based in Hobart.
The Police Commissioner, Richard McCreadie, says the unit will focus on
cases such as the murder of Victoria Caffasso on Tasmania's east coast 13
years ago, and the disappearance of Nancy Grunwaldt, also on the east coast,
15 years ago.
He says similar units in other states have been successful.
"We're confident that it will produce some results," Mr McCreadie said.
"There's absolutely no doubt that DNA technologies have moved on."
Mr McCreadie says the disappearance of Hobart woman Lucille Butterworth
nearly 40 years ago may have happened too long ago to be re-investigated.
JUDY TIERNEY: One of the most baffling cases of a
missing person in Tasmania continues to interest police 34 years after it
Lucille Butterworth disappeared from a bus stop in 1969.
She was close to her family, about to become engaged and had everything to
The cop who took over the case eight years ago is confident someone will be
brought to justice and bring to an end the agony suffered by Lucille's
Butterworth's ageing mother.
WIN BUTTERWORTH: She said goodbye normal and she used to set my hair and she
just said “Wash your hair tomorrow “and when I come home I'll set it.”
Practically, that would be the last.
JUDY TIERNEY: That was the last time Win Butterworth would see her
It was 25 August 1969.
WIN BUTTERWORTH: Bubbly, she was full of life, loved.
WIN BUTTERWORTH, 1969: And I said, “Well have a nice time tonight, pet, ring
me in the morning and let me know.”
And she said, “Yes I will do that Mum, don't worry about me.”
JUDY TIERNEY: After a day working at the local radio station, this vivacious
and popular young woman accepted a lift from a colleague to a bus stop.
Lucille Butterworth was on her way to a Miss Tasmania fundraising meeting in
REPORTER, 1969: This is where the trail of Lucille known movements ends.
What happened from here on no-one knows.
JUDY TIERNEY: For Win Butterworth, that dreadful day is as vivid now as it was
all those years ago.
WIN BUTTERWORTH, 1969: Nearly out of my mind.
No-one knows, I feels as though I have had a limb torn away from me.
It is a terrible feeling.
We were so close.
She was just our world.
WIN BUTTERWORT: She had an orangey-coloured uniform that was the office
uniform and the coat, that black coat with the white.
She used to model, she loved modelling.
And she modelled that coat and she walked around and then she came over to
where I was sitting and she said, “I love this Mum -- can I have it?”
And I said, “Yes, you can have it.”
JUDY TIERNEY: It's a case that has never closed and eight years ago was passed
on to policeman John Ward.
He's taken a particular interest because he wants it solved for Win
SERGEANT JOHN WARD, TASMANIA POLICE: Obviously Mrs Butterworth isn't getting
any younger and I'd like to have a result for her.
The thing that she said that really left an impression in my mind when I first
met her, she said she goes to bed every night thinking about her daughter
Lucille and she wakes up thinking about it.
And she has done that for the past 34 years.
JUDY TIERNEY: The last 34 years have been hard on the whole Butterworth
Support for Win Butterworth now comes from her two sons Jim and John.
Her husband died in 1984.
JOHN BUTTERWORTH, BROTHER: We hope before my mother passes away that we do get
an answer for her peace of mind.
Sure Jimmy and I will probably at some stage or another find out.
It's had an adverse affect on my father, it killed him in the end and we just
hope that Mum can persevere and stick with it until we find an answer -- and
we will, definitely.
JIM BUTTERWORTH, BROTHER: I suppose really she's lost a daughter and knows
she's lost a daughter but she would like to know where she's lost her and who
And after that I would imagine she'd have some feeling of relief that the
person, if they're caught, is going to suffer like she's had to suffer all
How she's stood up to it, I don't know.
There were a couple of times she lost it a little bit but she's been
absolutely a rock.
JOHN FITZGERALD, FORMER BOYFRIEND: We had the world at our feet and that was
just taken away from us.
JUDY TIERNEY: Lucille Butterworth's disappearance has also tormented her
former boyfriend John Fitzgerald.
He lived in New Norfolk and on the evening of Lucille's disappearance he was
waiting for her to arrive on the bus.
JOHN FITZGERALD: Sometimes if Lucille didn't turn up it didn't worry me and I
used to just go and get ready and go to the meeting and then phone the next
day and see what had happened -- whether she'd been sick or whatever.
So it's just one of those things.
To this day that really concerns me that I just went off to the meeting and if
I had only phoned I would have known what had happened.
JUDY TIERNEY: The Butterworth family didn't realise Lucille was missing until
the next morning until John Fitzgerald phoned to speak to his girlfriend.
The couple had planned their engagement, had identical rings crafted and were
about to make the announcement.
JOHN FITZGERALD: As far as I know, that night she would have been wearing that
ring -- as far as I know.
We were trying to keep it a bit of a secret about the engagement and it was
very hard trying to keep a secret and yet be so excited about the whole thing.
JUDY TIERNEY: Still struggling to understand why his girlfriend could be seen
one minute at a bus stop and gone the next has taken a toll on John
JOHN FITZGERALD: There was nothing, it was just as if she'd just disappeared,
just zapped off the earth.
It's just like someone saying to you, “I know a secret and I'm not going to
tell you what that secret is" and I think if we could find an answer to what
happened to Lucille we would be able to settle a lot better.
JUDY TIERNEY: Finding the answer rests with Sergeant John Ward, who's running
out of time.
But he has established suspects.
So you have got more than one?
JOHN WARD: Yes Three, possibly four?
JOHN WARD: Yes.
So you can't tell us how many suspects you might have?
JOHN WARD: No, I can't.
JUDY TIERNEY: The answer, John Ward believes, will come from a member of the
JOHN WARD: What you need to consider is that the people who may have been
involved could be in their 60s and 70s now.
There's an enormous amount of evidence available within the file as you can
There's a lot of paperwork there and, again, I believe there is a member of
the public out there who knows the answer.
And someone with some information if they can come to me and I can investigate
it and I can certainly protect them people.
JUDY TIERNEY: What John Ward is banking on is information from the
now-separated wives or partners of suspects.
It may be a long shot, but the Butterworth family too believes it could be
their last hope.
WIN BUTTERWORTH: I'd plead to them as a mother to think about another mother
that's suffered all those years and lost their child for all those years.
Just maybe they'd be good enough to give us some sort of hope, some sort of
JOHN BUTTERWORTH: They may think of something and they may think it's about
time they suggested their thoughts to the police which may help us.
JOHN FITZGERALD: Please, if anyone has the slightest bit of information that
can put this to rest, I beg of them please do something about it now,
particularly for mum Butterworth.
She's an old lady now and I feel it's a very cruel thing for her not to have
JUDY TIERNEY: Opposite the bus stop where Lucille Butterworth went missing
there's now a rose garden.
A plaque on a seat is a sad reminder of that day in 1969.
JOHN BUTTERWORTH: When my dad died one of his wishes was to have his ashes
spread out here in the rose garden.
JUDY TIERNEY: Win Butterworth's wish is the same, her ashes will be spread
here, but not before, she pleads, she settles the years of anguish.
WIN BUTTERWORTH: Someone may talk and we'll have something to put it to rest
that little piece of peace of mind, instead of the wondering, wondering.
THE discovery of a
skeleton has raised hopes one of Tasmania's oldest crime mysteries may be
Police say the decomposed bones, found 15 metres up the bank of the
Derwent River at Claremont yesterday morning, appear to have been there "quite
A work-for-the-dole crew found the skull, ribs and femur at Beedhams Bay
-- several blocks from where Lucille Gay Butterworth was last seen before she
went missing 38 years ago.
Her elderly mother Wyn Butterworth said the discovery was "pretty hard
"It's more or less like it happened yesterday," she said.
"I've had a long time to wait for an answer.
"But we do really want an answer so it's put away."
Both the Butterworth family and police believe Lucille was abducted --
or willingly accepted a lift from someone she knew -- and was then murdered.
Detective Inspector Tony Cerritelli said yesterday police were working
to determine the age, identity and gender of the skeleton.
"Due to the decomposition of the bones we're currently in the process of
establishing the identity and subsequently the cause of death," he said.
"We'll have a look at all the missing person files."
He said DNA and dental comparisons would be made with those on the
Det-Insp Cerritelli said forensic officers were also figuring out how
long the remains had been there and the rate of decomposition.
Police were also trying to resolve whether the body had been washed up
on shore or was found where the person lay.
Work supervisor Peter Bourne said the remains couldn't have washed up
that high given how dense the weeds were.
"They've crawled in there or someone put them there," he said.
At first Mr Bourne thought his crew member was joking when he called out
about the discovery.
The crew of eight had been working in the Beedhams Bay area in Hobart's
northern suburbs for the past two weeks pulling a plant pest from the banks.
"It's called boneseed, which is an irony," Mr Bourne said.
"It's going to have different connotations when I come here now."
But he is hopeful that the discovery will end the agony for someone
mourning a missing person.
"The best thing we've thought is that someone will get closure from all
this," he said.
Workman Nick Rava said the skeleton appeared to be lying on its back
with its skull facing up the bank.
"We didn't touch it," he said.
"We basically left it how it was."
Mr Rava expected the shock of the discovery not to sink in until later.
"To see a human like that is not something you'd like to see every day,"
Skeletal remains found in Hobart are male
Posted - ABC
The human remains found on the banks of the Derwent River
in the northern Hobart suburb of Claremont yesterday have been identified by
police as those of a middle aged man.
It proves wrong speculation the remains could have been that of Lucille
Butterworth who disappeared in 1969.
Detective Inspector Tony Cerritelli says police will continue to assess
information relating to missing people in the Claremont area in the past three
to five years.
But he says there doesn't appear to be any suspicious circumstances
relating to the cause of death.
A report will now be prepared for the Coroner
Police make murder breakthrough 42 years on
Tasmanian police are reporting an apparent breakthrough
in a cold case that has baffled them for 42 years.
On August 25, 1969, 20 year old Lucille Butterworth was on her way to
a Miss Tasmania fundraising meeting at New Norfolk and went to a bus stop at
Claremont in Hobart's northern suburbs.
Ms Butterworth has never been seen since, and her body has never been
found, but police never gave up hope.
Recently, they were given fresh information and four detectives
working on the case believe they now have a suspect.
Detective Inspector David Plumpton says the suspect is a man who was
living in New Norfolk in 1969 and was known to Ms Butterworth.
He is now in his 60s, has served jail time for an attack on a woman,
and is still living in Tasmania
"We've got a circumstantial case, I can argue it's strong, but I'm
probably too close to it," said Detective Inspector Plumpton.
Police are investigating whether Ms Butterworth accepted a lift from
the man, believing she had missed a bus to New Norfolk.
Detective Inspector Plumpton says they are still hopeful of getting a
"They did a horrendous thing at a period in their life, now is an
opportunity to possibly do a great thing and balance the ledger and that is
resolve what happened to Lucille."
Miss Butterworth's parents died without knowing what happened to their
Her brothers, John and Jim, and fiance John Fitzgerald still struggle
with her disappearance.
"All of us have been desperate over the years as you can understand,
Mr Fitzgerald said.
"You can't put these things to rest until such time as there is an
Police are trying to pinpoint the whereabouts of Lucille Butterworth's
They believe it was dumped in bushland somewhere between Claremont and