Victoria Anna Elizabeth Cafasso


            *Missing German woman Nancy GRUNWALDT is mentioned several times on this page, click her name to read her story.


Unravelling east coast mysteries


Broadcast: 28/02/2003

Reporter: Matthew Stanley - ABC

BARBARA PONGRATZ: We'll head to the icy south a bit later in the program, but first a look back at a couple of disturbing mysteries on Tasmania's East Coast.

About a decade ago, the disappearance of a young tourist and the murder of another sparked two of the biggest and longest police investigations in the State's history.

26-year-old German backpacker Nancy Grunwaldt disappeared without trace and police never identified who stabbed to death a 20-year-old Italian visitor Victoria Cafasso.

Next week, police will get another chance to sift through the details of both cases, look for new leads and hopefully provide some solace to the women's friends and relatives.

On Monday, the coroner will open an inquest into Ms Cafasso's death and then take a look into Ms Grunwaldt's disappearance.

Matthew Stanley reports.

POLICEMAN, 1995: There's multiple stab wounds to both the body and head.

It's a particularly vicious attack.

JOHN MIDDENDORP, EAST COAST RESIDENT, 1995: Everybody here round the neighbourhood is pointing at him, him or him.

ZANIA CAFASSO, MOTHER OF VICTIM, 1995: You don't just go on a beach, kill someone and walk off.

LUPPO PRINS, TASMANIA POLICE, 1996: We really need a clue to point us in a certain direction.

MATTHEW STANLEY: When police first issued a statement saying they were concerned for the welfare of a young German tourist, the report rated just a few lines on the news that night.

But the mysterious disappearance of Nancy Grunwaldt would feature in the headlines for months to come.

It was the 12th of March, a hot Friday almost 10 years ago, when the young Christian backpacker left this hostel in St Helens, having arranged to ride the bicycle she'd rented in Devonport down the coast towards a rendezvous with a friend in Hobart.

GRAHAM HICKEY, DETECTIVE INSPECTOR (RETIRED): We never reached a final conclusion as to whether it was foul play or not.

Whether it was a bicycle accident or she was abducted by somebody, we don't know.

We are aware that all her money is still in a bank in Launceston.

It's never been touched and we've never heard anything or found anything of the girl.

MATTHEW STANLEY: Police quickly confirmed a sighting of the young woman on the road south of the town.

But there the trail stopped dead.

Despite weeks of searching, police would not find a single trace of Nancy Grunwaldt.

GRAHAM HICKEY: We found no bike, found no clothing -- we found nothing.

MATTHEW STANLEY: Her grieving parents visited and it was as if Tasmanians as a whole felt guilty for having lost their daughter.

But when they left, Nancy Grunwaldt disappeared again -- this time from the headlines.

With no new clues, there was nothing to report -- until a Wednesday in October two years later.

That morning, Victoria Cafasso walked across the road Nancy Grunwaldt had last been seen on and through the dunes to the beach.

The 20-year-old Italian law student had arrived in Australia just four days earlier and was staying with a cousin at Beaumaris.

Hours later a woman walking her dog spotted Victoria's lifeless body at the water's edge.

GRAHAM HICKEY: We don't know how she ended up in the water -- but she did.

MATTHEW STANLEY: She had been stabbed more than 40 times and wore only the top half of a bikini.

Her valuables were found on the beach nearby.

But a shell necklace and several items of clothing, including her bikini bottoms, were never found.

The murder stunned the East Coast community, shattering a casually held assumption that their beautiful deserted beaches held no danger for anyone lucky enough to enjoy them.

STEPHEN SALTER, BREAK O'DAY MAYOR: Everyone in the municipality and everyone probably in Tasmania felt dreadfully sorry that something could happen like that.

Not only for the fact that a life was lost, but the fact that our peace and tranquillity and safety and all those sort of things were sort of, for the first time, put under some sort of scrutiny.

You know, we live in the safest place probably in the world and all of a sudden we had two – well, one murder and another mystery.

MATTHEW STANLEY: Suddenly Nancy's ghost was back.

LUPPO PRINS: They were both in the same area and there's a possibility that there is a connection, but we don't know that for sure.

MATTHEW STANLEY: Compared with the Grunwaldt case, Victoria's violent murder seemed straightforward.

But if her body had not been washed ashore, she too may have disappeared, leaving few clues to her fate.

As it was, her mutilated body was washed clean by the water, robbing police of crucial physical evidence.

GRAHAM HICKEY: We never got any scientific evidence because Victoria had been in the salt water for some time.

MATTHEW STANLEY: Victoria Cafasso did not submit meekly to her killer.

GRAHAM HICKEY: There must have been a rather vicious fight.

I mean, she fought very strong and hard to save her life and whoever the offender was he would have had to have certainly been covered in a lot of blood -- he wouldn't have walked away scot-free.

MATTHEW STANLEY: But the sand where the struggle took place also gave police few clues before wind and the rising tide erased the story it might have told.

The only significant clue was a single bare footprint.

GRAHAM HICKEY: Nothing stands still on the beach.

You've always got some sort of breeze and we, the personnel, there on that day had to work against the tide.

It is probably one of the most difficult -- or perhaps even THE most difficult murder inquiry -- that the State has had, certainly in my years.

And that was because of the location -- it was on a beach, there were no witnesses and we didn't get any scientific evidence.

MATTHEW STANLEY: The brutal and bloody murder and speculation of a link with the Grunwaldt disappearance fed a torrent of publicity and fuelled suspicion in the community.

The spectre of a serial killer increased pressure on police for a result and dozens of local residents were interviewed as possible suspects.

STEPHEN SALTER: It certainly once again raised a lot of rumours and innuendo and finger-pointing and that was a concern, because a lot of the people that were perhaps having the finger pointed at them are completely and absolutely innocent.

JANE CATO, HOTEL MANAGER: Everybody had a different story to tell, everybody had a different idea as to who was responsible and what had happened.

MATTHEW STANLEY: The publicity was also bad for business.

JANE CATO: I know that the bus drivers were making a big thing of pointing out the beach and saying “That's where the murder happened," as if it was a tourist attraction almost.

MATTHEW STANLEY: Jane Cato and her husband moved to Scamander to run a motel just months before the murder.

Over the next 12 months, their bookings would be down by more than $40,000.

JANE CATO: The fact that people were linking the two made some of the local people more afraid of coming to the area -- especially younger people and mainly women, I found.

The men weren't bothered at all, but the women's mothers were saying things like, “You can't go there, there's a murderer there.”

MATTHEW STANLEY: As months passed, it became clear that police were again stumped.

There have been anonymous letters and other new leads.

A professional profiler was employed to produce a description of the killer and a substantial reward still stands.

But still no witnesses and no murder weapon.

And in the case of Nancy Grunwaldt, no clues at all.

MATTHEW STANLEY: An inquest is a last resort.

The St Helens council chambers may prove a bit cramped when the first of 50 witnesses in the Cafasso inquest take the stand on Monday.

By contrast, the Grunwaldt inquest could be over inside a day, with the coroner almost certain to return an open finding.

There's no reason to expect that either inquest will produce a breakthrough and some East Coast businesses are not happy that murder and abduction will be in the headlines again.

But others see it as a chance, however small, to somehow reclaim the innocence the community lost all those years ago.

STEPHEN SALTER: There are still people that feel a little bit fearful of walking along the beach.

Certainly there's a perception within the community that it is harmful to tourism.

I don't think that is correct, and I also believe that even if it was slightly harmful for tourism by the fact that it is being bought up again, so be it.

You know, we've got to find out who was responsible for this and this is the only way it can be done.

GRAHAM HICKEY: Although some people may have been under suspicion, we never really had any definite suspects and I suppose even though there were numerous people spoken to, that person could be still on the East Coast as far as we know.

So you can't rule anybody out until such time as you get the rightful person that you want.


Cafasso inquest is ready to resume

BY MARK BAKER - The Examiner
14 Apr, 2004 01:00 AM


Victoria Cafasso was described by a family member as being in "that enviable time of life".

Twenty years old, she had left her law studies in Italy to travel around the world. Her first port of call was to see her cousin on the State's East Coast.

Less than a week into her world tour, she had fallen in love with Tasmania and decided to find a job and spend time working here.

But on October 11, 1995, she was brutally murdered on a deserted beach at Beaumaris.

More than 1000 mourners attended her funeral in Italy on October 29.

The attack on Miss Cafasso was described as frenzied.

She was bashed about the head with a heavy, blunt object and stabbed and slashed more than 50 times in the chest and head.

She was naked apart from a bikini top tied loosely around her neck.

The killer had tried to dispose of her body by dragging it into the water.

Her body was found in shallow water 50m from where the vicious murder took place.

Senior police, who described the murder as one of the most violent they had ever seen, said the attack was sexually motivated as Miss Cafasso's wallet and bag were found nearby.

A massive investigation began with police searching the beach for a weapon, stopping every car on the nearby Tasman Highway and interviewing Beaumaris residents.

However, the murder weapon, thought to be a 20cm hunting knife, was never found.

Police believed that the murderer was a local with intimate knowledge of the beach and sand dunes.

Connections were drawn to the disappearance of German tourist Nancy Grunwaldt, who was last seen at Scamander on March 12, 1993.

On March 19, 2004, coroner Peter Wilson found that Miss Grunwaldt was murdered, although her body or possessions have never been found.

As the Cafasso investigation stalled, the Beaumaris community became fearful of having a potential double murderer in its midst.

A police profile revealed that the killer was probably a family man with an unpredictable violent temper.

Police believe the man is being protected by his family and urge them to come forward with any information.

More than 150 locals attended a counselling session but anxieties were not eased as house prices fell and people moved away.

On December 21, 1995, the investigation was reduced to four police and, as the hunt for the killer slowed down, to two police in January 1996.

The investigation continued during the next two years with police draining ponds, searching beaches and pumping out public toilets, all to no avail.

An anonymous tip in May 1996 lead police to women's clothing and underwear in bushland 5km south of the murder scene, but police later said it was neither Miss Cafasso's nor Miss Grunwaldt's.

New information was received after the television programme Australia's Most Wanted featured the case, but the crime remained unsolved.

A coronial inquest began at St Helens on March 3 last year, hearing evidence from more than 50 witnesses.

After five days of evidence, coroner Don Jones adjourned the case to allow the coroner's office more time to summon witnesses.

Originally expected to resume in May or June, 2003, the inquest has just been set down to reopen on Monday.

Coroner's associate Sgt Terry Reaney said several Beaumaris residents, as well as forensic scientists, would give evidence at the inquest.

New unit to look into Cafasso murder

Posted Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:41pm AEDT  - 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.

New look at Cafasso case

POLICE are re-examining the unsolved murder of Victoria Cafasso after new information came to light.

Detectives consider Dr Roman Hasil, who is being investigated for alleged malpractice interstate, to be a person who can help them in their inquiries regarding the stabbing murder of the 20-year-old Italian backpacker in 1995.

Police said Dr Hasil had been interviewed in 1997 in relation to the killing but there may be a need for subsequent questioning after recent information.

"He may be re-interviewed," said Detective Inspector Michael Otley, of Launceston police, yesterday.

"Obviously, as a result of activity on the mainland and New Zealand, information has come to us in relation to some other aspects that we didn't know at the relevant time."

Slovakian-trained Dr Hasil botched sterilisations in New Zealand and is the subject of 10 serious patient complaints from his time working in Lismore between 2001 and 2005.

Police said Dr Hasil lived in St Helens at the time of the Cafasso murder, not far from the crime scene at Beaumaris Beach. He was registered in Tasmania in the late 1990s and worked at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Det-Insp Otley said Dr Hasil was interviewed in Hobart in 1997 by Launceston detectives. "Nothing came of that [interview]," he said.

It is understood Dr Hasil had been to St Helens police station to get his Tasmanian driver's licence, to replace his overseas licence, on the morning of the murder. He hired a car and returned it the next day.

Dr Hasil was employed at the RHH after being released from prison in Singapore. He was convicted for threatening his second wife, Rose Doyle, with a 30cm carving knife. His third wife has also alleged he physically assaulted her, breaking her ribs.

The Medical Council of Tasmania later found he had not declared the prior criminal conviction for domestic violence.

The Medical Council of Tasmania yesterday declined to comment on issues surrounding Dr Hasil, citing confidentiality, but public documents following investigations in New Zealand reveal Tasmania's concerns.

A report last February from the New Zealand Health Commissioner notes: "In 1999, the Medical Council of Tasmania advised Dr Hasil that he was not eligible to apply for registration as he had not completed the multiple choice question exam of the Australian Medical Council. The Medical Council of Tasmania was also considering his false declaration in relation to his criminal record in his application for registration in January 1997.

"Due to the outstanding matters regarding his false declarations, and his continued denial of them, despite documentary evidence to the contrary, Dr Hasil is not considered to be in good standing in Tasmania."

New Zealand health authorities found Dr Hasil drunk on the job and he was sentenced twice late last year for high-level drink driving in NSW.

Reports in NSW say he now lives in a homeless shelter in inner Sydney.


Cafasso Film


Broadcast: 06/03/2009

Reporter: Airlie Ward - ABC


AIRLIE WARD, PRESENTER: The brutal slaying of Italian tourist Victoria Cafasso on the north-east coast in 1995 is Tasmania's most well-known unsolved murder. The crime sent shockwaves through the tiny seaside town of Beaumaris, which became full of rumour and suspicion. But despite a massive reward, no-one has ever been charged.

In recent months, a disgraced doctor has come into the frame. 14 years after the killing, Victoria Cafasso's cousin is making a film about what happened. It's a personal journey in a bid to find closure and justice. But not only for his cousin.

CHARLIE DE SALIS, VICTORIA'S COUSIN (excerpt from 'Someone's Daughter'): My brother Simon and I grew up through the summers of our youth surfing the beaches of Tasmania's north-east coast. North Shelley at the southern end of Beaumaris beach was one of our favourite breaks and we surfed here often. We loved the east coast. It was woven into the fabric of who we were. But on 11 October, 1995, North Shelley became a place where my Italian cousin, Victoria Cafasso, just 20 years old, was murdered.

AIRLIE WARD: The 20-year-old law student from Italy had just arrived in Australia when she was bludgeoned and stabbed to death in broad daylight on Tasmania's idyllic north-east coast.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: What happened here while we were standing at such a beautiful place. And the place itself is innocent but what happened here just was so awful and caused so much hardship to so many people.

I'm making a film about what happened to Victoria but more particularly what happened to the other people around the murder afterwards.

AIRLIE WARD: Her mutilated body was found in the shallows by a local walking their dog.

NEWSREADER (archive footage, ABC News, 1995): Victoria Cafasso's brutal murder has police baffled. The Italian tourist knifed to death while sunbaking on a deserted beach yesterday morning.

XENIA CAFASSO, VICTORIA'S MOTHER (archive footage, 1995): Unfortunately she never really saw Australia, and that really has me because she stayed here not even a week and she came to die.

AIRLIE WARD: A number of personal items Victoria Cafasso took to the beach that day have never been found and no one has ever been charged.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: You know, Victoria was staying with my brother Simon and Simon and Victoria's family - all those people who were right next to what happened on this beach just had their lives torn apart, they really did.

AIRLIE WARD: From the start, police had very few leads, and the case provoked suspicion within the community.

JOHN MIDDENDORP, BEAUMARIS RESIDENT (archive footage, 1995): And everybody here around the neighbourhood is pointing at him, him or him, or me or the boys and that thinking they could be the murderers.

AIRLIE WARD: With no weapon and most DNA washed away, police suspected a local was the culprit or had seen the crime.

JIM HARVEY, TASMANIA POLICE: We've probably spoken to 30 people in the last couple of days that for whatever reason names have come forward. I'm still not convinced that no-one saw the murder.

AIRLIE WARD: Police offered a $50,000 reward which was later doubled to $100,000. The torrent of publicity quickly impacted on the community.

JANE CATO, BUSINESS OWNER (archive footage, 2003): I know that the bus drivers were making a big thing of pointing out the beach saying, "That's where the murder happened," as if it was a tourist attraction almost.

AIRLIE WARD: Victoria Cafasso was staying with her cousin Simon de Salis - Charlie's brother. Simon de Salis was one of the first suspects.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: Naturally, they are gonna look at Simon first. I mean, it's just natural procedure. They looked at everybody around here really hard. Simon was simply the person who was closest to Victoria. And in any murder they go straight to the person who's closest to the victim. The trauma to Simon wasn't so much because of that. I mean, it was really horrible for him, you know, having that feeling of suspicion upon him obviously. You know, Simon, he was - you know, Victoria was staying with him and then, you know, the poor guy had to come to the beach to identify her body.

AIRLIE WARD: For decades, the de Salis family had lived or holidayed in the area. The murder changed that.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: Simon had to move away afterwards. He - you know, it just wasn't viable for him to stay here after this dreadful thing happened. And my father sold our house and he moved away up the Tamar Valley.

AIRLIE WARD: The police consistently said that they believed that it probably was somebody local and that they said that they believed that someone had either seen it happen or knew who did it.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: They didn't find anybody, though, did they?

AIRLIE WARD: Charlie de Salis was living in New Zealand at the time of his cousin's murder and thought he'd never return to Beaumaris. But the inquest into Victoria Cafasso's death changed his mind.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: When the coronial inquest drew a blank, that's when I thought that this film needed to be made. Because I could see unless something was done, there was never going to be any closure for anybody. So the film's about finding justice for the hidden victims of the murder, and it's about finding closure for the community here.

AIRLIE WARD: About 300 people were nominated as potential suspects. Over 100 people gave evidence at the inquest, including Simon de Salis. Locals Gary Holmes and Tony Kirkland also came under intense questioning.

DON JONES, CORONER (archive footage, 2005): It is not possible to conclude whether the attack was carried out by a person acting alone or more than one person.

AIRLIE WARD: But a lot of mud was thrown.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: People who were considered suspects went to the coronial inquest. They didn't have the right to legal representation, they couldn't have a lawyer, and yet they were forensically cross examined. This murder had so many other victims. I mean, Victoria's father died of a heart attack at her memorial service three weeks later. But there were victims all through the community. Anybody who became a suspect or was perceived as the community by - perceived by the community as a suspect has had to live with that stain forever.

AIRLIE WARD: Charlie de Salis admits it's a very personal film.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: The film started out first and foremost as my way of finding justice for my brother.

AIRLIE WARD: Have you spoke to Victoria's family about what you're doing?


AIRLIE WARD: And? What's their response been?

CHARLIE DE SALIS: I told Xenia what I was doing and why. And she said that she understood that, but she would prefer me not to make the film. Xenia lost one of her two daughters, she lost her husband. It's just - I think just the idea of ever looking at it again. There were lots of people hurt by the murder and the film is for them too. And Xenia's in Europe. The film need never touch her.

I spoke to Tony Kirkland. I wrote to him first and explained what I was doing. I then called him and spoke to him. He was perfectly polite but firm that he didn't want to be involved. I also wrote and spoke to Gary Holmes, Tony's friend, who was also a major person of interest, particularly the coronial inquest. And Gary - I have interviewed Gary and spoken to Gary at length. Gary's very supportive of the film.

You know, if you talk to the police on the taskforce now, I can't find - I haven't found anybody who truly believes that any of those original suspects were the murderer.

AIRLIE WARD: The Coroner was critical of the police during the early stages of the investigation.

Charlie de Salis attempted to interview the first officer in charge of the investigation, but has been unsuccessful. But he says police he's spoken to have been supportive of the film.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: A number of them have said to me that they think that this film is an opportunity to provoke some kind of new information.

AIRLIE WARD: Even if it doesn't, he hopes the film will help lay ghosts to rest by giving people a chance to tell their story in their own voice. Mr De Salis says unsolved crimes change the traditional notion of innocent until proven guilty.

CHARLIE DE SALIS: I mean, that's the problem with being a person of interest or suspect in an unsolved crime. Unless someone can prove you were somewhere else at the time of the murder, then you're never eliminated.

AIRLIE WARD: One person who wasn't called to give evidence at the inquest but is considered a person of interest is former doctor at the Royal Hobart Hospital Roman Hasil. His file is the most active part of current police investigations. Police don't accept his account of not going the beach at Beaumaris or that he didn't understand Italian.

Dr Hasil was in the area at the time of Victoria Cafasso's murder. The Czech-trained gynaecologist arrived in St Helens a few weeks after being deported from Singapore. He was deported after spending time in jail for threatening his wife with a knife.

Dr Hasil worked briefly at the Royal Hobart Hospital in the late 1990s, but wasn't re-employed because he failed to disclose his conviction in Singapore.

He moved to NSW where medical authorities are now investigating complaints about his work. He then went to New Zealand but had his registration suspended after an inquiry found he botched operations. It's understood Dr Hasil is currently homeless somewhere in NSW.

SALLY HASIL, WIFE (TVNZ): He didn't like women. For him, it was more of a controlling, um, issue with women.

AIRLIE WARD: Police say the murder of Victoria Cafasso was not a crime of passion, but of hatred.

TVNZ's 'Sunday' program spoke to Roman Hasil's second and third wives.

ROSE DOYLE, WIFE (TVNZ): "I will kill you and cut you up into little pieces and nobody will find you."

SALLY HASIL (TVNZ): He hurt me many times. On one occasion I was left with four broken ribs.

ROMAN HASIL, SUSPECT (TVNZ): Maybe really something wrong with me.

AIRLIE WARD: Sally Hasil was with him in Tasmania when he was questioned over Victoria Cafasso's death.

SALLY HASIL (TVNZ): He drank huge amounts of alcohol. He was violent. I had to ask the question: did you murder her? And his response to me was that maybe I did murder her, but I don't know. I don't recall it. I don't remember it.

AIRLIE WARD: Dr Hasil told police he was at home at the time of the murder, but had no alibi. Police took DNA samples from him and a cast of his foot when he was interviewed. But that didn't happen until 1997, two years after the murder. He also admitted to police that he had scratch marks on his face at the time, but said he'd fallen over drunk.

Do you think it strange he wasn't called to give evidence at the inquest?

CHARLIE DE SALIS: It's puzzling. And it's certainly a question that needs to be answered, yes. I've made inquiries about Roman Hasil, yes, because he's a person of interest in relation to my cousin's death. So, obviously, he comes into the frame of this film. But at this point, I can't comment on those discussions.

AIRLIE WARD: Is that because it's something that you're hoping to progress as your film gets underway?

CHARLIE DE SALIS: There's a number of reasons I can't comment, but that would be one of them, yes.

AIRLIE WARD: Tasmania police wouldn't comment on whether they intend to re-interview Roman Hasil, saying as it's an ongoing investigation, it's inappropriate to comment. Stateline also asked police why Dr Hasil wasn't called to give evidence at the inquest. We were referred to the Coroner. The Coroner's office was unable to say why Roman Hasil wasn't called. However, they're reviewing the file to see if relevant information had been received.

Coronial Findings

Record of Investigation into Death

Coroners Act 1995
Coroners Regulations 1996
Regulation 14
Form 4
I, Donald John Jones, Coroner, having investigated a death of

Victoria Anna Elizabeth CAFASSO

WITH AN INQUEST HELD AT St Helens Coroners Court in Tasmania on the 3rd day of March 2003.


Victoria Anna Elizabeth Cafasso died on or about the 11th day of October 1995 at Beaumaris Beach, Beaumaris.

Victoria Anna Elizabeth Cafasso was born on the 8th day of June 1975 in Surrey England and at the time of her death was aged 20 year(s).

Victoria Anna Elizabeth Cafasso was a single woman whose occupation at the time of her death was a Student.

I find that the death of the deceased was due to exsanguination due to multiple stab wounds including wounds to the right atrium.

At the time of the deceased’s person’s death she was not being treated by a medical practitioner.


I commenced this Coronial Inquest with a plea for public assistance, requesting members of the public to provide information which may lead to the apprehension of the person(s) involved in the murder of Victoria Cafasso; this plea could not be compared to the plea for help that I have no doubt was screamed by Victoria immediately prior to being rendered unconscious and then brutally murdered.

In handing down my findings, I want to publicly acknowledge and express my gratitude to all of those persons who came forward with further evidence for consideration in this Inquest.

I would like to assure members of the public that I have caused a significant number of those matters received through the help line to be investigated, and have carried out many investigations by myself with the personal desire of bringing closure for the family and friends of Victoria Cafasso and all Tasmanians to the tragic circumstances which resulted in the brutal murder of a daughter, a sister, a friend and a tourist to our State.

I should add that some information received required an in depth consideration of matters, which arose outside of this investigation, but which some believed may have had relevance. To those persons they have my assurance that those matters were fully investigated by me personally and I found no evidence which satisfied me that there was any link between those matters and the Inquest before me.

Again some persons indicated that they were in possession of matters relevant to the Inquest, but as at this date they have not come forward and produced the evidence that they say exists and is available. Notwithstanding, I have still investigated the veracity of the suspicions and existence of such evidence. To those people who believe they hold evidence or are aware of its whereabouts, unless they come forward with the information or produce the evidence it is impractical to continue to investigate the allegations or suspicions. To the extent that I have been able to investigate them they have not assisted me in making findings in this Inquest.

Any investigation of this nature is always difficult. The vagaries of human nature and the imprecision of the memories of people make it more so.

The ephemeral nature of time and its effects over the past ten (10) years has, in my view affected the recollections of many persons who were spoken to at or about the time of the brutal murder. Matters that were certain at that time have become less focussed and uncertain, whereas in other instances vague recollections have become definite and beyond question, notwithstanding they may be at variance with other memories recorded in writing those many years ago.

It is my belief the reception of information through the hot line and the subsequent Inquest has crystallised the evidence with the acknowledgement to the effects of time, and some persons who were suspects at the time are now unlikely to have been involved considering the current state of the evidence.

To comprehend the depth of the investigation, I refer to the incident of the jacket purportedly located at Diana’s Basin during the Inquest. Much publicity local, national and international was given to the finding of this jacket. The jacket had in it the name of the daughter of one of the persons of interest in the initial investigation. This jacket, under my direction, has been the subject of extensive forensic analysis and several lines of enquiry have been pursued to determine the relevance or otherwise of this jacket. As a consequence of those investigations I am satisfied that the jacket does not, and has not belonged to, been owned by, or worn by the daughter of the person of interest. Forensic analysis has not detected any blood that matches the DNA profile of Victoria. The size of the jacket does not appear to match the size of the daughter, as she would have been at the date of the murder. There is absolutely no evidence linking the jacket in any way with the murder of Victoria. I am satisfied that the investigation in respect of the jacket and the surrounding area where it was purportedly found was thorough and comprehensive.

I am at a loss to understand the mentality of the person or persons who must have planted this jacket in the location where it was purportedly found. Conduct of this type wastes public resources and importantly can direct an inquiry away from issues that should be investigated. I hope that Tasmania Police continue to investigate this matter and if evidence is found which links any persons or persons to the planting of the jacket that the person or persons be charged.

I would like to express my gratitude to Tasmania Police, and in particular Commissioner McCreadie and Deputy Commissioner Johnston who placed police officers under my authority during the period I have had carriage of this Inquest. I have used their services extensively and they have carried out many enquiries and interviews pursuing information that came before me and which required further consideration. I have been granted access to a wealth of documents that have been collected over the period of 9 years, and even other documents relating to other matters that may have been relevant. These documents would total thousands of pages and whilst I have not minutely examined each and every document, to do so would take another 10-20 years, I am satisfied that I have considered all relevant material available.

I should also make mention of the thorough investigation and review carried out by Inspector Colin Little. Inspector Little had not been involved in any part of the Cafasso investigation and approached the review with total impartiality and highlighted a number of matters which until that time had not been considered or investigated. I am aware that he spent numerous days reading, compiling, researching and organising further investigations to assist me in making my findings. I publicly acknowledge and thank him for his thoroughness and his comprehensive reports.

I also wish to express my gratitude to Chris Lawrence, the State Forensic Pathologist, who has spent innumerable hours discussing forensic issues with me, and for his untiring efforts in reviewing the entire forensic evidence collected since the murder. Chris was not involved in the original investigation. The original Forensic Pathologist had left the State having gained another appointment and I should also thank Tim Lyons the former State Pathologist who has made himself available during the Inquest and assisted in the review of the evidence.

I wish to thank Terry Reaney and Trudie Lusted the Coroners Associates for the untiring assistance in preparing the Coronial file and assisting at the Inquest.

Finally, I should not overlook the Press. I thank all of those who aired my opening remarks when I appealed for public assistance in providing any further information that may lead to me making the necessary findings at the conclusion of this Inquest. I thank them for their courtesy and the professional manner in which they reported the matter. A number of reporters offered assistance in obtaining information that was not readily available, and I especially thank Rohan Wade for his assistance.

I will now proceed to make findings as to the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of Victoria Cafasso as I am able to find on the basis of the evidence adduced at the Inquest and the documents and statement s that I have read

The deceased was a dual Italian/English citizen who spent most of her time residing in Italy but regularly visited her grandparents in England. She lived with her parents and younger sister in Italy and was described by her mother as a trusting person. The Cafasso family has been described as affluent, due to Mrs Cafasso managing a travel agency owned by the family and Mr Cafasso practicing as a solicitor until his death in November 1995.

The deceased held a British passport and spoke fluent Italian, English and French and was well travelled, having travelled several times with her mother as well as previously acting as a tour guide. She was well educated and attended University in Italy where she was studying Law. She deferred that course in July 1995, against her father’s wishes and travelled to England to stay with her grandparents which was a common event to consider her options. She enrolled in a language course at Portsmouth University due to start in August 1996 and she expressed a desire to travel to Australia and stay with her cousin, Simon Howard DeSalis. This was to be the largest journey she had undertaken alone and she had only met De Salis on two (2) previous occasions.

The deceased rang DeSalis from England and made arrangements to travel to Tasmania from England via Hong Kong and Melbourne arriving in Launceston at 1.50pm on Friday the 6th day of October 1995. She was met by De Salis and a visiting friend of his, Peter Holder of Sydney and conveyed to De Salis’s residence at “Larby’s Cottage” Charles Street, Beaumaris.

Whilst being driven to the cottage from the airport, DeSalis had decided to go surfing and for this purpose had gone to Shelleys Point, being at the southern end of Beaumaris Beach. It was at this time that the deceased had her first contact with other residents of Tasmania, being Hilda Jackson, Mark Jackson and Mario Agius. This contact occurred on the lookout constructed on Shelleys Point which provided a full view of Beaumaris Beach and what was subsequently to be the ‘‘Crime Scene’’.

Between the time of her arrival in Tasmania until the 11th of October 1995, the deceased had remained with De Salis at Beaumaris and had very limited contact with other person(s) except for a social event they attended, being a small private birthday party for a Mandy-Lou Larby on Monday the 9th of October, the owner of De Salis’s residence. There were two other occasions only where she could have had contact with other person(s) and that was two (2) short walks on Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th. There is evidence that on the 9th of October, the deceased visited the residence of Hilda Jackson and remained there for approximately half an hour.

The lack of evidence enables me to draw the inference that the deceased visited no other person(s) during her short time in Tasmania, and this indicates clearly that her contact with other people was extremely limited.

According to the evidence presented to the Inquest, it was at about 8.10am on Wednesday the 11th of October 1995, that the deceased informed De Salis that she was going for a walk to the beach and asked to borrow a small carry bag. From other evidence, it would appear that the deceased left the cottage at about 9am and commenced walking in the direction of the beach.

There is a lack of cogent evidence as to what the deceased was wearing on this particular occasion. Accounts given by witnesses are varied and vague. There is no evidence to suggest that the deceased was wearing a tee shirt with a wolf motif and from the evidence it would appear that the grandmother (C153) of the deceased on examining the deceased’s clothing noted the item was missing along with a pair of beige linen trousers and a large beach towel.

From this statement a conclusion was drawn that the deceased must have been wearing the missing clothing. On reviewing the evidence of Iris Smith (C15) and if her recollection was accurate, it was her belief that if the person she saw was the deceased, she was wearing ‘……a light brownish skirt or similar and a darker top …… a sleeveless singlet type.’

From the evidence I can be satisfied that immediately prior to her death, the deceased was wearing a two piece bikini, being blue and white floral. There is evidence from which I can find that white sand shoes, a watch, bangle, ring or necklace were located in an area of disturbed sand some 55 metres form the deceased’s body. There is no independent evidence that the deceased was carrying a borrowed carry bag which contained a large beach towel, a flask of water, a Sony walkman (radio), sunglasses, sun cream, scarf and a purse containing personal papers, $509.00 in Australian currency and some foreign currency, although these items were located within the area of disturbed sand.

On reviewing the evidence, some six (6) witnesses gave various conflicting accounts of the deceased’s movements from “Larby Cottage” to Beaumaris Beach on the day of her death. From that evidence, it is believed that the deceased entered Beaumaris Beach via a footway opposite the Surfside Hotel situated on the Tasman Highway at Beaumaris. The deceased was allegedly seen sunbaking by an Iris Smith some 700 metes south of where she had entered the beach. These sightings were reportedly about 9.55am and again about 10.10am.

Beaumaris is a seaside township on the east coast of Tasmania, lying between Scamander (1.5km south) and St Helens (6km north). The town consists of one (1) motel and approximately 150 homes/shacks with a population of approximately 350 persons made up of retirees, employed and unemployed persons. Due to its location, the population rises significantly over the summer and holiday periods. The beach itself is a popular attraction for local residents and visitors and on the day of the deceased’s death, it would appear from the Police evidence that in excess of fifty (50) people visited the actual beach between 8.30am and the time the deceased’s body was discovered by Margaret McIntyre (C14).

These people were performing such activities as fishing, walking, a young child bathing at the water’s edge and being supervised by his mother just to name a few.

The Tasman Highway runs north/south through the town and parallel to the beach and is the main coastal route. The town comprises five (5) separate areas with all but eight (8) houses located on the inland side of the highway. Beaumaris Beach stretches for 4 km, including the 2 km length of the town. The beach lies 75 metres to the east of the highway and is predominantly shielded from view by a coastal reserve strip of low dunes and light scrub. The northern and southern ends of Beaumaris Beach are defined by rocky points which prevent easy access further along the coast. Inland of Beaumaris exists extensive pine plantations, forested areas and a network of gravel roads that stretch to the Midland Highway.

At about 1.30pm on Wednesday the 11th of October 1995, Ms McIntyre (now deceased) was walking her dog north on Beaumaris Beach near Freshwater Creek when she discovered the deceased’s body at the waters edge and being lapped over by the tidal action of the sea. Ms McIntyre went to a nearby house where she spoke to a Russell Harwood (C37) and a Geoffrey Adams (C38) where she raised the alarm. These two men accompanied her back to the beach where Harwood and Adams approached the deceased’s body and upon identifying it as a human, Ms McIntyre and Harwood left the beach to contact Police. From this time until the arrival of Sergeant Galloway (C39), Senior Constable Pedder (C33) and Constable Ferguson (C73) at approximately 1.37pm, Mr Adams remained with the body.

On the evidence I am satisfied that Galloway, Pedder and Ferguson were the first police Officers to attend the scene. This is supported by the evidence given by Harwood and Adams. I am unable to reconcile the evidence of Constable Stingel when he stated that he was in fact the first Police Officer to attend the scene, or that at the time he did attend the scene there were no other person(s) present on the beach. To do so would mean I would have to find that Harwood, Adams, Galloway, Pedder and Ferguson were all mistaken or deliberately lying.

As to the next sequence of events, there is a considerable amount of confusion of the evidence of the three (3) officers and the accounts given by Harwood and Adams as to their movements, state of the tide and actions undertaken by Police at this time.

Firstly, Mr Adams in his evidence refers to two (2) footprints approximately 6 - 7 metres north west of the body. He described these footprints as being ‘…… bare foot prints and seemed to be of a man, the front part of the foot print appeared deeper than the back and they were pointing towards the water.’ It would seem that no Police Officer observed these footprints nor were they photographed or casts made of the impressions. Mr Adams evidence was that he had observed these footprints during the estimated twenty (20) minutes that he stood with the body of the deceased whilst waiting for the arrival of the police.

I also note in his evidence, that he stated that the water was rising and I can therefore assume that high tide had not been reached at the time he was awaiting the police. This is consistent with photographs tendered (C36) that clearly show the body of the deceased being lapped by the tide.

There is some confusion as to when these photographs were taken and by whom. I do not intend to try and reconcile the conflicting evidence save and except to say in my view it is obvious that one of the photographs in the bundle marked C36, shows the body on the water’s edge where as the remaining five (5) photographs show the body out of the water. It could be assumed that these five (5) photographs had been taken after the body had been moved by police. To which I will refer again later. The other photographs tendered and marked C34 show the body clearly out of the water with the tide receding and therefore must have been taken at a later time although I would infer taken within a short period of time of the first set of photographs.

Whilst a number of police gave evidence indicating that they were not aware that the deceased’s body had been moved from its original location, I am satisfied and I accept the evidence of Mr Harwood that the police did in fact move the body. This is supported by the evidence of Mr Adams who stated that he was present when some photographs were taken of the deceased’s body where it had been found and he had left the area at the request of Sergeant Galloway to obtain a tarpaulin to cover the body.

I can draw the inference that during the period that Adams has left to obtain the tarpaulin the deceased’s body was moved and this was observed by Mr Harwood who had a clear memory of the body being moved. I am unable to say which Police Officer(s) were involved in the moving of the body but I am satisfied that it was done for the purposes of preserving evidence and with the authorisation of the CIB, Launceston. These inferences are clearly supported by the photographic evidence tendered and marked C34 and C36.

I am satisfied that the tarpaulin was placed over the body shortly after the first set of photographs were taken and after Mr Adams had returned to the beach with the tarpaulin and prior to the attendance of other Police Officer(s).

It was at or about this time that the three (3) attending Police Officers conducted a search of the general area and an area of disturbed sand commonly referred to during the Inquest as the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ was located some fifty five (55) metres on the northern side of the body together with assorted personal items and various footprints. Again there is much confusion as to the state of and/or existence of footprints in the area.

Evidence was given by Constable Ferguson (C73-78) that he had walked in a northerly direction along the beach and in doing so came across the first set of footprints which he described as being parallel ones and angling in towards the ‘‘Crime Scene’.’ He described one of these impressions as being made by a person wearing sand shoes or similar and the others being ‘……female footprints.’ He has then travelled in a general westerly direction and walked along an overhanging sand bank where he had observed a number of footprints. He followed these footprints to a location which was immediately to the west of the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ where he noted, from his observations that it appeared a person had moved from the overhang and moved towards the location where it was presumed that the deceased had been attacked. Constable Ferguson had previously been employed as a shoe salesman and the pattern from the footprint was of such clarity he was able to give a clear description of the ripple sole of that shoe which was different to the sand shoe impression he had seen earlier.

Constable Ferguson stated that no casts were made of this footprint and at the Inquest accepted full responsibility for this oversight indicating in hindsight he should have preserved it by covering it with his jacket.

It was Constable Ferguson’s opinion that the footprint that he had observed was connected with the deceased’s death and using his own words, that he was ‘…… so convinced when I found it and I’ve never ever deviated or changed my mind since.’

Detectives and Forensic personnel from Launceston subsequently attended, as did the Forensic Pathologist and Forensic Scientists from Forensic Science Services Tasmania (FSST).

An examination of the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ revealed the presence of some items that it was assumed belonged to the deceased. These items were described as a bangle, sun glasses, a multi coloured shoulder bag, sand shoes, ring and watch. These items were spread over an area up to 8.5 metres from the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ or the area that has been commonly referred to as the ‘‘‘Disturbed Area’’’ and most of them to the north. The area which is depicted in many photographs show an area of sand measuring approximately 2.5 metres by 2.5 metres of significantly disturbed sand which has been described by some witnesses as suggestive of a violent struggle having taken place.

Located within the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ were a number of footprints which were referred to by a number of police witnesses. Of these footprints only one was cast and this has been subjected to much forensic testing and has been used to exclude a number of person(s) as potential suspects. Unfortunately the cast is not of sufficient clarity to exclude the deceased as being the person who made the impression. Of the items located neither the glasses nor the ring appeared to be damaged in any way where as the bangle showed signs of damage and the watch had a broken band.

The deceased whose body was located some fifty two (52) metres from the “‘Crime Scene’’ was naked except for a bikini top which was intact above her breasts. Her face and head had been stabbed, lacerated and bludgeoned resulting in horrific and extensive wounds. She had also been stabbed to the back and chest. Examination of the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ did not produce any teeth missing from the deceased as a result of these injuries.

Initial action at the scene on following discovery of the deceased’s body included a preliminary examination of the body by Dr T Brain (state pathologist), scene examination by Police and Forensic Scientists, the establishment of road blocks, door knocks and searches of the immediate beach area including the sand dunes.

Forensic evidence establishes the likelihood of two (2) distinct weapons being used in the attack, one of which appears to be a blunt object and the other a pointed object such as a knife. Whilst it can not be stated with any certainty it appears highly likely, according to the medical evidence, that the blunt object was used first and that the initial blows may have been to the buttocks and the right upper arm. It is highly likely that one of the subsequent blows to her face was delivered with such force that it knocked out three (3) teeth from the upper jaw, causing fractures to the alveolar bone and around the bridge of the nose.

It would seem highly likely that this particular blow would have rendered the deceased unconscious. It seems incongruous that a person receiving such blows prior to being rendered senseless would not have been screaming until that time, yet despite the presence of in excess of fifty (50) people visiting the beach on that day, and the presence of workers in the immediate vicinity, no cries were heard at all. It is also surprising that an area such as Beaumaris which has frequent visitors and person(s) walking along the highway, that none of these person(s) heard any cries of distress.

No offender(s), weapon or eye witnesses to the attack was ever located. I do not intend to give any further description of the murder weapon(s) as it may only cloud the issue and transfer my perception(s) of the weapon(s) into the minds of others and lead to persons discounting any object which may be relevant to the murder.

The time of death was unable to be easily established through body temperature as at the time of discovery the body had been subject to the tidal actions of the sea for an unknown period of time and the wind chill fact of the breeze on the wet body once removed from the water. Therefore an interpretation was made of the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ to determine the time at which the ‘‘‘Disturbed Area’’’ was created and it is a presumption that it was created very close to the time of death.

It was reasoned that the ‘‘‘Disturbed Area’’’ occurred at or about the time of high tide, as it was partially in moist sand and it was reasoned that as the lower part of the ‘‘‘Disturbed Area’’’ had been ‘washed out’ by waves, the disturbance took place when the water was at that level on the beach and receding. The Harbour Master at St Helens, Colin Andrews was consulted for his opinion as to when the tide was at the approximate level on the beach and in his opinion the relevant time would have been 11.30am to 12.35pm.

A subsequent interpretation of the scene using the same logic was undertaken by an Oceanographer employed at the Atlantic Research Centre, Dr John Hunter who determined the ‘‘Disturbed Area’’ to have been created at 12.15pm and allowed a 20 minute margin of error either side for local inconsistencies in reported tide heights/times.

Accordingly, the investigation into this death has used a relevant time as 11.30am to 12.40pm when considering alibis’ of person(s) nominated as persons of interest during this enquiry.

On the 12th of October 1995, a post mortem examination was undertaken at the Royal Hobart Hospital by the (then) State Forensic Pathologist, Dr Tim Lyons who gave the cause of death as exsanguination due to multiple stab wounds including wounds to the right atrium.

The autopsy determined the following:

A number of swabs, fibres, blood and tissue samples were taken for further analysis. There was nothing significant arising from this analysis. No evidence to assist in the identification of the offender(s) was detected as a result of this analysis.

In December 2002, the current State Forensic Pathologist, Dr Chris Lawrence conducted a review of the autopsy findings of Dr Lyons and as a result determined the following:-

Dr Lawrence concurred with Dr Lyons as to the cause of death. He offered the most likely scenario leading up to the death of the deceased is an assault with an object causing the blunt force injuries which subdued the deceased prior to the stabbing attack.

The task of investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of the deceased was allocated to the Launceston Criminal Investigation Branch with the operational aspect of the enquiry being directed by Detective Sergeant Jim Harvey (now retired). In order to piece together the circumstances leading to the death of the deceased, members of the Tasmania Police Service used the following framework:-

The activities performed within this framework were:

From October 1995 to March 1996, a team of personnel under the command of Detective Sergeant Harvey was stationed at the St Helens Police Station and tasked with the ongoing investigation into the deceased’s death.

On the 12th of February 1996, Tasmania Police conducted a review of the investigation and this was overseen by Detective Inspector M Wicks (now retired). In a report to the Assistant Commissioner (Crime & Operations), this review identified thirty five (35) aspects requiring further attention. As a result, Detective Inspector Wicks assumed control of a special Task Force, charged with carrying out all investigatory matters relating to the review.

From the 8th of March 1996 to March 1998, another team of personnel under the control of Detective Sergeant P Gregory were dedicated to the investigation of this death. This team continued to investigate avenues previously identified, with intense focus upon selected person(s) of interest.

In September 1998, a further review was carried out this time by Detective Inspector G Frame. Essentially this review was aimed at consolidating the evidence and information on hand and making a determination as to the future direction of the investigation.

On Monday the 3rd day of March 2003, I commenced the Coronial Inquest into the death of the deceased at St Helens and after hearing evidence for a week adjourned it to a date to be fixed. Due to the volume and complexity of the evidence tendered, I arranged for a review to be carried out before re-commencing the Inquest.

In June 2003, Detective Inspector Little was appointed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr J Johnston to assist me with the investigation into the death of Victoria Cafasso.

His initial investigations focussed on a review of the ‘Crime Scene’ material commonly referred to as the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ and all available forensic/scientific material relating to the murder of the deceased. This included the re-examination of all relevant file material, analysis of evidence already tendered to the Inquest and extended to interviews with person(s) positioned to contribute to a better understanding of the ‘Crime Scene’. Where additional information was available, formal affidavits and reports were obtained from witnesses at my direction.

As part of this process, in July 2003 a number of experiments directed at gaining a better understanding of the quantity of blood, it’s staining and the impressions and marks visible in the sand at the scene, were conducted at the scene of the murder on Beaumaris Beach by police officers from Forensic Services, Hobart. These experiments were video recorded and overseen by the State Forensic Pathologist, Dr C H Lawrence.

In November 2003, an extensive interpretive analysis, designed to assist in the interpretation and understanding of the ‘Crime Scene’, forensic examinations and other physical evidentiary material relating to the ‘Crime Scene’, was finalised with a written report being made available to me together with the video recording and affidavits/reports obtained during the review.

The review also determined that the efficacy of any forensic examination of the deceased, at the time she was located, was principally determined by the fact that she had been fully immersed in salt water, and therefore exposed to the degrading effects of the wind and ultraviolet light for a significant amount of time before it was discovered.

Also during this review, Lester Franks Survey & Geographic, a company with expertise in the area of spatial information and terrestrial photogrammetry, were commissioned to undertake a photogrammetric survey of points of interest in the police photographs of the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ with a view of fully dimensioning and modelling those points of interest.

In April 2004, the Managing Director of Lester Franks Survey & Geographic, Mr Malcolm Lester supplied a report detailing the results of this survey. I am now satisfied that the ‘‘Crime Scene’’ has now been mapped appropriately utilising all current technology. Although I do not accept that a general line of blood stains were evident on the beach as depicted in the plan submitted by him as all evidence adduced indicated that the effects of the tide had washed away any significant areas of blood, although there is evidence that traces of blood were located in and around the area identified.

Dr John Osborn, Senior Lecturer in Spatial Information Services at the University of Tasmania was also consulted during this phase of the review. Dr Osborn agreed to investigate the possibility of photogrammetric mapping of the plaster cast derived from a footprint located on Beaumaris Beach the day of the deceased’s death and tendered during the Inquest.

The mapping was undertaken using digital stereo photogrammetric techniques and a stereo model of the cast can be viewed in 3-dimensions. Whilst this technology was in existence in 1995, I have been informed that it was an emerging technology and did not form part of the ‘Crime Scene’ examination protocols used by the Tasmania Police.

I now believe that investigations conducted by Lester Franks Survey & Geographic and Dr Osborn have produced data that is likely to be of benefit in the conduct of any further oceanographical calculations relating to the timing of events on Beaumaris Beach on the day the deceased was killed.

On Monday the 19th day of April 2004, I re-commenced the Coronial Inquest at St Helens and finished hearing all the evidence relevant to Ms Cafasso’s death including the new information gathered during the last review done at my request.

During the course of the investigation and follow up reviews, some 1,200 information reports have been recorded with over 300 individuals being nominated as potential suspects. Despite numerous requests for public assistance and the offer of a reward leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for the deceased’s death, no information has been received regarding the whereabouts of any property of the deceased or an eye witness to the crime itself. Enquiries to identify the weapon(s) used have been undertaken, however the weapon or object used has not been located.

It is apparent to me, that the Tasmania Police Service has devoted considerable time and resources to this investigation and despite this, the offender(s) remain at large. However some aspects of the investigation are open to criticism especially in the early stages of the investigation. These include:-

Since this death, the Tasmania Police Service has addressed the issue of management of a ‘Crime Scene’ through the enhancement of Major ‘Crime Scene’ protocols and the establishment of the Integrated Crime Management Strategy (ICMS) which allows for training and increased forensic awareness for metropolitan based members.

Based upon the evidence, I can draw the following conclusions:-

However it is not possible for me to conclude:-


I find that the death of the deceased was due to exsanguination due to multiple stab wounds including wounds to the right atrium.

I find that Victoria Anna Elizabeth CAFASSO died on Beaumaris Beach on the East Coast of Tasmania on the 11th day of October 1995 as the result of foul play by person(s) unknown.

Although this concludes the Coronial side of Ms Cafasso’s death, it should be remembered that her death is the subject of an ongoing Police investigation by members of the Tasmania Police.

Before I conclude this matter, I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.

This matter is now concluded.

DATED : 23rd March 2005 at Launceston in the state of Tasmania

Donald John Jones