Elisabeth Frances MEMBREY


  Elisabeth Membrey was attacked in her Ringwood, Melbourne apartment.

The Elisabeth Membrey case has haunted Melbourne detectives for two decades. Police appeal for more public help in finding out who murdered Elisabeth Membrey.


Roger and Joy Membrey

Roger and Joy Membrey with a photo of their daughter Elisabeth. Picture: Jon Hargest Source: Herald Sun


Elisabeth Frances MEMBREY
DOB: 1972
HAIR: Brown BUILD:   EYES: Grey
Elizabeth was last seen when she left her job at the Manhattan Hotel, Ringwood Victoria at approximately 11.45 pm on Tuesday, 6 December, 1994.


Announced April 2013

Victoria Police is offering a $1 million reward in relation to the murder of Melbourne woman Elisabeth Membrey, who has been missing since 1994.

The reward is for information leading to a conviction.

Homicide Squad Detectives want the public to come forward with information following a charge of murder being laid against a 43-year-old Don Valley man.*

The charge follows a long and determined investigation by the Homicide Squad into the disappearance of Elisabeth Membrey who was last seen on December 6, 1994. She disappeared from her home in Ringwood.

Homicide Squad detectives are still keen for anyone with information about the disappearance of Elisabeth Membrey to contact police. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visitwww.crimestoppers.com.au.

*This man was acquitted.

Transcript - ABC
Detectives battle to crack unsolved murders

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: A Supreme Court jury in Melbourne last month found a serial rapist guilty of murder and subsequent investigations have linked him to other longstanding unsolved murder inquiries.

For homicide squad detectives, such cases open new paths of inquiry and the possibility, however remote, of breathing new life into baffling mysteries.

Earlier this year, the Victorian police set up the Cold Murder Squad to once again peruse old files and begin new investigations into an estimated 280 unsolved murders in Victoria dating back to the 1940s.

Geoff Hutchison reports on the slow and often painful process for those searching for answers.

STUART BATESON, HOMICIDE SQUAD: There is something of all of us in every case.

I mean, you put your blood, your sweat and your tears into it and you can't walk away from it easily.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Do you get a little bit obsessive?

JIM CONOMY, HOMICIDE SQUAD: Yeah, I am a bit obsessive, and I admit that -- that's my fault.

But I can use that, with a team effort and, like, Ron Iddles -- he'll pull you back into line.

RON IDDLES, COORDINATOR, COLD MURDER SQUAD: But I've always got this thing that it doesn't matter what homicide -- somebody in the community will always know the answer.

And, you know, we often joke, I suppose, in the office and say -- if we're having a hard time trying to solve a job -- "Well, the answer's only a phone call away."

And the reality is that that's true.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Earlier this year, Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles was given the task of coordinating a Cold Murder Squad within Victoria Police.

With limited resources and the knowledge his homicide detectives might be called away at any time, he's methodically scanning the false leads and dead ends of Victoria's unsolved murders in the hope of uncovering long-hidden truths.

RON IDDLES: You know, maybe they've been in a relationship with somebody that's broken up and they find themselves, that finally they can pick up the phone and ring, or it's something which has just played on their conscience and eventually they ring.

DETECTIVE: We do keep looking and we do keep investigating and I don't want people to think that after 20 years or 10 years or whatever that they've gotten away with this.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: There are between 65 and 70 murders in Victoria every year and about 10 of them will go unsolved.

That's another 10 baffling, frustrating mysteries added to those of last year and the year before and the year before that.

In all, they total something like 280 cases and span nearly 60 years.

These boxes describe often terrible crimes and contain a sadness that almost takes your breath away, for the only certainty here is that a killer has escaped justice while an innocent has died.

In all these boxes, there has been no conclusion and certainly no justice -- just a legacy of lives quietly and cruelly undermined.

DAVID RAE, HOMICIDE SQUAD: Perhaps some of the saddest cases that we experience here in this office is we on occasions receive phone calls from obviously elderly persons whose loved ones or relatives have disappeared many, many years ago and those people are perhaps in the twilight years of their lives, and as a last-ditch effort, they're contacting our office just to see whether or not we can try and locate their loved ones before they in fact die.

That's often quite stressful.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Jim Conomy likes magic and riddles and puzzles and he loves working here.

He is pedantic and patient and right now is preparing to oversee a search of the Ringwood Lake, in Melbourne's east, looking for clues into the disappearance and presumed murder of Elizabeth Membrey in 1994.

NEWS REPORT, DECEMBER 1995: Forensic evidence indicates Elizabeth was murdered at her house, her body driven away in her red Mazda, which was later returned to the unit.

Police say major leads are exhausted and they need public help.

JIM CONOMY: For anyone out there, we won't give up and I don't give up, Dave doesn't give up.

We're going to keep going, and like I said before, we chase every little lead down.

BRIAN RIX, HOMICIDE SQUAD: We received some information on August 16 from a male caller and the investigators would dearly like to talk to that person.

He has some information that we think is quite relevant to this case.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: And while police divers search the muddy waters, Roger and Joy Membrey stood on the bridge and watched and waited.

They are brave and obliging and grateful for everybody's time and interest.

But behind their pale smiles is a pain as raw as it was all those years ago.

JOY MEMBREY: Nothing changes.

In fact, they become more raw in lots of ways, because you've got reminders all the time and you've lost the human dignity, the right to have a funeral and a place where you can go to mourn.

We don't know.

JIM CONOMY: Another 5-10 minutes there and I think we've covered everything, haven't we?

DETECTIVE: Yeah, I think if there's anything there, blokes would have found it.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Does it harden your resolve as the years go by?

I mean, do you feel that you must get a result because you couldn't have this thing gnawing at your guts 10 years from now?

DAVID RAE: Yeah, that's exactly right.

I wouldn't say it's an obsession, but it certainly becomes a professional challenge -- that you want to solve these matters and piece together the puzzle and the circumstances surrounding this person's disappearance to perhaps give the answers -- firstly to the members of the family and then to yourself.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: For those who work in the Cold Murder Squad who investigate again crime scenes which may no longer exist or the statement of witnesses who may have died, rewards -- if they come at all -- come slowly.

But occasionally, the phone does ring and with extraordinary possibilities.

Police offer $1 million reward for Membrey murder
Fri 6 January 2006

Homicide Squad detectives have announced a reward of up to $1 million dollars in relation to the death of Elizabeth Membrey.

Ms Membrey was last seen at 11.45pm on 6 December 1994 after she left Ringwood’s Manhattan hotel.

Homicide Squad’s Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles said that in addition to the reward, the Office of Public Prosecutions would consider indemnifying any person who was an accessory to the murder, though not the principle offender.

Elizabeth’s parents Roger and Joy Membrey said the reward was “magnificent” in terms of bringing them hope that the case may be resolved.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Parents just want answers on Elisabeth Membrey's murder

Article from: Herald Sun

Anthony Dowsley

January 18, 2008 12:00am

IT didn't dawn on Roger and Joy Membrey that their daughter had been murdered for more than a week after they learned she was missing.

On December 7, 1994, they broke into their daughter Elisabeth's unit in Bedford Rd, Ringwood, after she had missed a doctor's appointment and failed to return calls.

As they searched the unit, the only sign that something was amiss was some blood, a mattress in the hallway, and a missing doona.

They searched hospitals for several weeks in the hope that they might find her alive.

But homicide squad detectives, called to the scene six days later, realised something far more serious had happened to the 22-year-old budding journalist.

For 13 years, the Membreys have yearned to know what happened to her, and to find her remains and give her a funeral.

More than a year ago, when a prime suspect was eliminated, all seemed lost -- until a phone call prompted by a Herald Sun article relaunched the investigation.

Former Ringwood resident Shane Bond was nominated as a person of interest.

The Membreys hope the renewed interest in the case will bring their daughter's killer to justice.

"We've been waiting a long time for a breakthrough," Mr Membrey said yesterday.

"We hope that one day we can get some finality for our daughter.

"Everything we do is really for our daughter. We live for the day this investigation comes to an end.

"Something like this latest development gives you a bit of hope."

Five years ago, the Membreys moved from their Vermont home, where Elisabeth grew up. It had been too difficult living among so many memories. But if anything, the pain became more torturous.

Both Roger and Joy have retired, and the all-consuming need for answers has taken its toll on their health, their emotions, and their two sons.

But it has strengthened their marriage and deepened their understanding of themselves, of tragedy, and life.

For the homicide squad's Det Sen Sgt Ron Iddles, solving the case has always been a phone call away.

He was one of two detectives who flew to Kalgoorlie in WA to interview Mr Bond, 41 -- as revealed exclusively in the Herald Sun yesterday.

Mr Bond has denied any involvement in Ms Membrey's disappearance, police say. He has not been charged with any offence.

Det. Insp Steve Clark, of the homicide squad, said detectives were optimistic that they would solve the case.

"We have a view at the homicide squad that we're only ever one phone call away. And clearly it's a message that we want to send out that we don't ever give up," he said.

A witness has told police Ms Membrey complained to a workmate about Mr Bond's behaviour.

Police are investigating whether Mr Bond is the man seen by a friend talking to Ms Membrey at the Ringwood Aquatic Centre on the day she was killed. It is believed the same man was seen talking to her outside her unit later the same day.

Ms Membrey was last seen leaving the Manhattan Hotel at 11.45pm on December 6.

In January 2006, a $1 million reward was offered for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible for her murder.

The Office of Public Prosecutions will also consider indemnifying accessories to the murder, but not the principal offender.


Cops quiz new kill suspect in Elisabeth Membrey case

Article from: Herald Sun

Anthony Dowsley

January 17, 2008 12:00am

EXCLUSIVE: A NEW prime suspect in the murder mystery of Elisabeth Membrey has been secretly interviewed by police.

Homicide squad detectives re-investigating the 1994 murder interviewed former Ringwood resident Shane Bond, 41, yesterday afternoon after a crucial call to police more than a year ago provided a breakthrough.

A $1 million reward was posted in January 2006 for evidence leading to a conviction in the Membrey case.

Investigators flew to Western Australia to interview Mr Bond about any involvement he had with Ms Membrey before her disappearance.

Police want to know if Mr Bond is the mystery man she was seen arguing with outside her Bedford Rd unit in Ringwood during the afternoon of December 6, only hours before she was killed.

The homicide squad's Det Sen-Sgt Ron Iddles said Mr Bond had denied any involvement in the murder.

"He was interviewed and has denied any involvement," Det Sen-Sgt Iddles said. "He remains a suspect and the investigation will continue."

Ms Membrey was murdered some time after she returned home after signing off from work at 11.45pm.

She had set her bedroom alarm for a doctor's appointment the next day, and was writing a letter to a friend in Britain when, police believe, she was disturbed by a knock at the door.

Police believe she knew the man at the door, and let him in. Ms Membrey was killed in the hallway some time later.

Her body was taken in her own car to a remote location, believed to be somewhere in the Kinglake or Silvan areas, and has never been found.

A call to Crime Stoppers re-launched the investigation into Mr Bond after an article that appeared in the Herald Sun in late 2006, eliminating another suspect.

Mr Bond is believed to work in the mining industry, and returns to Melbourne from time to time.

Witness statements from the investigation say Ms Membrey had complained about Mr Bond's behaviour to a work colleague.

Ms Membrey, who worked at the Manhattan Hotel, Ringwood, had told another woman on staff she was concerned about his erratic behaviour.

Another witness told police Mr Bond had returned home on the morning of December 7 covered in blood.

Investigators are also probing whether Mr Bond is the same man witnesses saw Ms Membrey with at the Ringwood Aquatic Centre the day before her murder.

Detectives working on the initial investigation had briefly spoken with Mr Bond as a person of interest.

Witnesses had described the man Ms Membrey spoke to as athletic and handsome.

Police are also investigating whether a car owned by Mr Bond may be the same cream or white sedan seen by Ms Membrey's neighbour, Andrea Pumpa.

After her two poodles began barking, Ms Pumpa went outside to calm them and heard a bang about 1.30am.

She noticed a white sedan with four round headlights and a blackened or missing grille parked outside the unit.

Ms Membrey's parents, Roger and Joy, who broke into their daughter's unit after becoming worried she had missed her doctor's appointment, say they are traumatised.

They are desperate to find their daughter's body to give her a proper funeral.

"It's excruciating her body was taken," Mr Membrey said.

"She's been denied the dignity of a funeral.

"Whoever has killed her has taken the power," he said.

"It's a basic right for everybody to have a funeral.

"The worst part for us is not knowing who and why, and not being able to bury our daughter. As soon as we wake up it's back on.

"For the past 13 years it has been all about Elisabeth.

"We have no idea why she was taken from us," he said.

"One day she was there and the next she wasn't.

"You never get over it. It has had a profound impact on our lives. You don't expect for your child to die before you.

"Sometimes you feel the eyes of someone on you who knows us through Elisabeth's murder, and you feel such a sadness.

"There's also a fear you're going to die, and this is still going to be in limbo."

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Parents seek end to 13-year murder hunt

Miki Perkins
January 17, 2008 - 4:50PM
As Roger Membrey spoke of his wish to find the remains of his beloved daughter Elisabeth and bring her killer to justice his hands shook and his eyes were bright with tears.

Homicide detectives have released a suspect interviewed in Western Australia in relation to the 22-year-old Victorian woman's murder in 1994, but said he remains a person of interest in their 13-year investigation.

Police interviewed the 41-year-old man, a resident of Don Valley in Victoria who works in the West Australian mining industry, in Kalgoorlie today, after tip-offs from the public identified a number of suspects.

"After 13 years we've been waiting a long time and with hope that one day we can get some finality for our daughter," Roger Membrey said, sitting with wife Joy.

"We want to locate Elisabeth's body for burial and give her the dignity she deserves."

Ms Membrey was last seen at 11.45pm on 6 December, 1994, after she left the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood where she was working at the time.  Her body has never been found.

The Don Valley man was a regular patron at the hotel and Detective Inspector Steve Clark yesterday said Ms Membrey had expressed concerns about him.

He was interviewed at an earlier stage in the investigation and both times denied any involvement.

Police will be making further investigations to confirm statements he made during the interview, homicide squad Detective Inspector Clark said. 

He urged anyone with information to again contact police.

"We have the view that we're only one phone call away ... we never give up," he said.

Joy Membrey agreed: "We think it's obscene that they would hold information from us - it seems quite inhumane."

When Ms Membrey left work on the night of her murder it took her just a few minutes to drive home to her unit on Bedford Road, Ringwood.

Police believe a known visitor knocked on the door and she let him into her home.

Sometime later she was attacked in the hallway and killed.  After Ms Membrey was murdered the killer spent hours trying to conceal the crime.

The wall in the hallway had been washed and an attempt made to clean a deep bloodstain on the carpet.

Police believe the killer wrapped Ms Membrey's body in her doona and put it in the back seat of her Mazda.

After driving along dirt roads to hide the body within 100 kilometres of the Ringwood unit, they believe the killer returned the Mazda within three hours.

Police appeal for informants to call back

Posted Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:44pm AEDT - ABC

Victoria Police have made another plea for help in the 13-year-old murder of Ringwood woman Elisabeth Membrey.

The 22-year-old disappeared from her Ringwood home after a shift at the local pub.

A 41-year-old man was interviewed by police in Western Australia yesterday and is being treated as a suspect in her murder.

Detective Inspector Steve Clark says they have made progress in the investigation after receiving a number of phone calls to Crime Stoppers, but they need those people to call again.

"At times there's a considerable difference between information that we receive that becomes intelligence and information that we receive that can be used in evidence at court," he said.

Detective Inspector Clark said the man interviewed in Western Australia has denied any involvement in Ms Membrey's death, but he remains a person of interest.

Her father, Roger Membrey says he gets his hopes up everytime a breakthrough in the case is made.

"You know we just hope that we're able to get that finalisation; to be able to locate Elisabeth's body and to give her a burial and really give her the dignity that she deserves," he said.

There is a $1-million reward on offer for any information leading to a conviction.

Parents buoyed by murder probe progress

Article from: AAP

January 17, 2008 03:51pm

THE parents of Elisabeth Membrey, who disappeared in 1994, say they have been buoyed by news police have interviewed a man in Western Australia.

Roger and Joy Membrey said that after 13 years of not knowing where their daughter's remains were , they hoped to have closure.

"We just hope we are able to get that finalisation to be able to locate Elisabeth's body and to give her a burial - the dignity that she deserves," Mr Membrey said today.

Detective Inspector Steve Clark said that following a tipoff, two homicide detectives flew to WA yesterday to interview a man who lives in Victoria but works in the mining industry.

He said the man, whom he did not identify, was a patron at the Ringwood Hotel where 22-year-old Elisabeth worked when she was last seen on December 6, 1994.

He said the man had previously been interviewed by police investigating the case.

"We believe we have sufficient information in our case to justify interviewing this person," Det-Insp Clark said.

"The view of the homicide squad is that we are only ever one phone call away from solving a case," he said.

"Clearly the message we want to give out is that we don't ever give up."

He wanted the person who phoned Crime Stoppers yesterday to ring back again.

He also repeated that the million-dollar reward for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for Ms Membrey's murder was still available.

Suspect interviewed in Elisabeth Membery homicide investigation

Release date: Thu 17 January 2008 - Victoria Police

Homicide Detectives have travelled to Western Australia to interview a suspect in relation to the disappearance of Elisabeth Membrey in 1994.

Investigators interviewed the 41-year-old man from Don Valley yesterday afternoon as part of an ongoing investigation that has spanned more than thirteen years.

Evidence located at the time has led investigators to believe that Ms Membrey has been murdered.

Ms Membrey was last seen at 11.45pm on 6 December 1994 after she left the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood where she was employed at the time.

In January 2006, a $1 million reward was offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for Ms Membrey’s murder.

In addition to the reward, the Office of Public Prosecutions will consider indemnifying persons acting as accessories to the murder, but will not indemnify the principal offender.

No charges have yet been laid.


Police widen search into Elisabeth Membrey disappearance

Friday, 11 December 2009 00:49

Detectives from Victoria Police's Homicide Squad are hoping someone in the Karratha, WA area will be able to shed some light over the disappearance of Elisabeth Membrey in Victoria.

Investigations have led police to believe that a number of local people have spoken to a person of interest in this case who has divulged information about the night Elisabeth disappeared.

Detectives are hoping someone with crucial information will come forward and provide them with details to solve this 15-year-old mystery.

This appeal follows the 15th anniversary of Elisabeth's disappearance which occurred on December 6, 1994.

Elisabeth Membrey was last seen leaving the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood at 11.45pm on that date.

The next day, blood was discovered in her Bedford Road, Ringwood unit and police have concluded that she met with foul play.

The disappearance is being treated as an unsolved murder.

A $1 million reward was offered in 2006 for information that leads to a conviction. The reward still stands.

Homicide Squad Detective Leading Senior Constable Tim Peck said police were hoping to finally bring some closure to Elisabeth's family and friends.

"We're urging anyone with information to come forward to help put an end to the pain and suffering endured by her family, particularly her parents Roger and Joy."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.

Crucial new evidence leads detectives interstate in hunt for Elisabeth Membrey's killer  

  • From: Herald Sun
  • December 11, 2009 5:00AM

    EXCLUSIVE: CRUCIAL new evidence has led detectives interstate in the marathon hunt to bring Elisabeth Membrey's killer to justice.

    Almost 15 years to the day she disappeared, police believe they have made a breakthrough that could solve one of Victoria's most frustrating murder mysteries.

    Homicide investigators have travelled to Karratha in Western Australia to interview several people who may hold new evidence in the case.

    The Herald Sun believes a suspect in the case has divulged vital information to people about the night Ms Membrey went missing.

    A caller who contacted police has given investigators hope of finally laying charges over the murder, despite never finding Ms Membrey's body.

    Ms Membrey's father, Roger Membrey, last night said he and his wife Joy were hopeful there would soon be an end to their long wait to find out what happened to their daughter.

    "After 15 years we are emotionally weary. We think this has the promise of being a good lead," he said.

    "Joy and I are waiting with expectation that there might be a possible ending to the case.

    "It's very tough not being able to locate her body and Joy and I feel we haven't had any closure. It's an emotional burden.

    "We loved her so much and we feel we haven't done the right thing by her yet. We haven't been able to give her a funeral or the dignity of a burial and it weighs on us quite a lot."

     Her killer is believed to be a man she knew who knocked on her door that night. Blood was found in the hallway of the unit and her body was taken in her own car to a remote location, believed to be somewhere in the Kinglake or Silvan areas.

    A $1 million reward was offered in 2006 for information that led to a conviction.

    Homicide squad Inspector Bernie Edwards said it would remain a live case until Ms Membrey's killers were caught.

    "Whilst the police efforts in Western Australia are a major avenue of inquiry, we will continue to investigate the disappearance of Elisabeth Membrey until we bring those responsible to justice," he said.

    "The family have been waiting for answers for more than a decade, and detectives have continued to work solidly throughout this time.

    "We will remain dedicated to this case until we get the result that the Membrey family and Victoria Police want."

    The investigation has led police to make inquiries across Australia and even internationally.

    Police flew to Western Australia last year to interview a man about the murder mystery.

    It is believed that person of interest is suspected of being a man witnesses saw arguing with Ms Membrey outside her unit hours before her death. A man of similar description, also seen with Ms Membrey at the Ringwood Aquatic Centre the day before she vanished, is a key to the probe.

    A suspect police have been investigating for almost two years was a person of interest at the beginning of their investigation.

    He has been known to move around Australia, particularly in mining towns, and has spoken of Ms Membrey's disappearance.

    Man charged over Membrey murder

    A MAN has appeared in court over the 15-year-old murder of Elisabeth Membrey who went missing from her suburban Melbourne flat in 1994.

    After a breakthrough in the case, homicide detectives last night arrested and charged 43-year-old Shane Andrew Bond, of Don Valley in the city's outer east, with Membrey's murder.

    He appeared at a brief filing hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this morning.

    The charge sheet states that, "the accused at Ringwood on or about 6 December 1994 did murder Elisabeth Membrey."

    Membrey, a 22-year-old aspiring journalist, was last seen leaving the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood where she worked, at 11.45pm on December 6, 1994.

    Speaking outside of court Membrey's emotional parents Roger and Joy, said the journey to today's court appearance had been a lengthy and difficult one.

    "It's been a long long terrible crawl, 15 years and five months, it's just been so traumatic," Mrs Membrey said.

    "The hardest part as a mother is not knowing."

    Mr Bond's lawyer, Paul James, said outside court that his client would vigorously defend the charges.

    "He denies any involvement whatsoever with Elisabeth Membrey and he has maintained that all along," Mr James said.

    He said his client was interviewed by detectives well over a year ago in Kalgoorlie.

    Mr Bond is expected to make an application for bail in the coming weeks.

    Murder trial ordered over missing woman

    THE parents of a missing Melbourne woman say the committing to trial of someone over their daughter's murder is a "milestone" in their 17-year quest for answers about her disappearance.

    Shane Andrew Bond, 44, formerly of Don Valley, east of Melbourne, denies killing Elisabeth Membrey, who was last seen leaving the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood on December 6, 1994.

    The then 22-year-old's body has never been found.

    Today, after a two-week committal hearing, Bond was ordered to stand trial for her murder.

    Bond, who denies ever knowing Ms Membrey, has pleaded not guilty.

    Outside court, Ms Membrey's parents Roger and Joy Membrey expressed relief that the committal proceeding was over.

    "It is a milestone, I guess, for us and it has been pretty difficult over the last two weeks at the committal," Roger Membrey told reporters.

    "We're pleased with the progress that has been made and it has been made only because of a great lot of hard work that has been done by so many people.

    "After 17 years, we are very, very fatigued emotionally. But our desire and our will to keep going is as strong as ever and we will just do that for as long as we have to."

    After being committed to trial, Bond unsuccessfully applied for bail for a third time. Two previous applications have been refused.

    His barrister, George Georgiou, argued the case against Bond was circumstantial and weak.

    But magistrate Ann Collins said Bond had not demonstrated the exceptional circumstances required for him to be released on bail and refused the application.

    Bond is due to face the Victorian Supreme Court for a directions hearing on April 18.


    Man accused of killing Elisabeth Membrey denies conversation about body

    THE man accused of the 1994 murder of Elisabeth Membrey denies having a conversation many years later in which he allegedly described how she hit her head on a coffee table in a violent argument and he disposed of her body.

    Counsel for Shane Andrew Bond also explained a separate conversation in which Mr Bond said Membrey's throat had been cut and her body would never be found, saying a witness would testify that another suspect in the case claimed to have been told as much by police.

    In outlining aspects of Mr Bond's defence, Michael O'Connell SC urged Victorian Supreme Court jury to consider whether the testimony of important witnesses in the prosecution case had been influenced by rumour and gossip, alcohol, having an axe to grind against Mr Bond or a $1 million reward offered by police 12 years after Membrey's disappearance.

    He said one witness who recounted the conversation about Membrey hitting her head on a coffee table "had an axe to grind with Mr Bond - a rather big axe."

    Mr O'Connell read from the initial police interview of Mr Bond, two weeks after Membrey was last seen alive, in which the investigating detective remarked that he looked nothing like the identikit picture prepared by a witness who saw Ms Membrey arguing with a man on the day she disappeared.

    He questioned the reliability of the Crown case, saying "the bulk of the evidence" against Mr Bond was from people recounting "some years after the event what happened some years before that."

    "The evidence will not tell the prosecution story at all," Mr O'Connell said.

    Mr Bond has pleaded not guilty to murdering Membrey, a 22-year-old aspiring journalist who worked part-time at the Manhattan Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood, on December 6, 1994.

    The jury has been told that police identified other "persons of interest" in the case and to convict Mr Bond, they must be certain no other suspect could have killed Membrey.

    Mr O'Connell said he would cross examine these alternate suspects, and urged the jury to scrutinise their evidence carefully. He said it wasn't up to Mr Bond to prove he didn't murder Membrey, or that someone else did.

    "In short... Mr Bond is entitled to the presumption of innocence," he said.

    The jury has heard how Mr Bond told an acquaintance in 2010 that Membrey's throat had been slashed in the hallway of her Ringwood unit. Mr O'Connell said a witness would be called to testify that he heard another suspect in the case - who cannot be named for legal reasons - earlier telling the same thing to a group of people.

    Asked how he knew this, the other suspect replied that police had told him oxygen levels detected in traces of blood found on the hallway walls suggested the blood had come from Membrey's throat.

    The defence would also lead evidence to show that another part of the prosecution case - Mr Bond returning to his home on the morning after Membrey's death - never happened and could not have happened.

    In a second police interview conducted in 2008, Mr Bond's manner and responses were "absolutely consistent with his innocence," Mr O'Connell said.

    The 15-person jury is today visiting the Ringwood unit where Membrey lived at the time of her disappearance. Prosecutor Geoff Horgan SC has said it is not known whether Membrey was killed at the unit or whether she was attacked there and died elsewhere. Her body has never been found.

    The trial before Justice Terry Forrest continues.

    Man accused of killing Elisabeth Membrey was covered in blood - court

    A FORMER housemate of the man accused of murdering Ringwood bar worker Elisabeth Membrey has told a court how the accused man arrived home covered in blood early in the morning of Ms Membrey's disappearance.

    The former housemate of accused man Shane Andrew Bond told a Supreme Court jury today that he was awoken by a slamming door and went to Mr Bond’s room to find him covered in blood.

    Mr Bond had blood on his face, arms, hands, shirt, shorts, legs and shoes, the jury was told.

    The former housemate, who cannot be named, said he asked Mr Bond if he'd been beaten up.

    He said Mr Bond told him that he'd bitten his tongue during an epileptic fit.

    The former housemate said that, in his opinion, there was too much blood to have come from a wound caused by someone biting their tongue.

    He said he did not see any injuries on Mr Bond.

    The former housemate said Mr Bond told him the next morning that he might have been "in a bit of trouble" over the "Elisabeth Membrey thing".

    That night he said he saw a television news report about the Membrey case while at the pub.

    Mr Bond, 45, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

    The trial, before Justice Terry Forrest, continues.


    Shane Bond found not guilty of Elisabeth Membrey murder 18 years ago

    A SUPREME Court jury has found Shane Andrew Bond not guilty of the murder of Elisabeth Membrey 18 years ago.

    The jury this morning found Bond not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

    Bond, 45, of Launching Place, denied murdering the 22-year-old at her Ringwood East unit in 1994.

    As the verdict was delivered, Ms Membrey's mother Joy, who has waited nearly two decades for answers to their daughter's disappearance, appeared to wipe away tears.

    This morning Bond stayed impassive as the verdicts were delivered but broke down in the docks after jurors left the courtroom.

    The verdict came after seven days of deliberation by the jury.

    Mr Bond was one of several suspects in the cold case murder investigation.

    A former workmate of Ms Membrey's had been the prime suspect for a number of years until 2005.

    In 2006 new information led police to look at Mr Bond.

    Blood stains in Ms Membrey's flat and a missing doona were among the few pieces of evidence about her disappearance.

    Defence barrister Michael O'Connell SC told jurors there was no physical evidence against Mr Bond and they would not be satisfied of his guilt.

    Prosecutors had also failed to exclude the possibility that someone else had killed her, he said.

    "The fact is, very little is known about what happened to Elisabeth Membrey in the unit on that night," Mr O'Connell said.

    "Virtually nothing is known about how she died or indeed why she died.

    "In those circumstances it is simply not possible to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused."

    The case against Mr Bond was based on the testimony of several witnesses who he made alleged confessions to and a former housemate who said Mr Bond came home covered in blood on the night Ms Membrey disappeared.

    Other witnesses alleged they had seen Ms Membrey arguing with a man believed to be Mr Bond on the day she disappeared.

    In his closing address in the Victorian Supreme Court trial, prosecutor Geoff Horgan SC urged jurors to accept the evidence of a witness who said that Mr Bond was interested in Ms Membrey but she was not interested in him, and he had been rejected by her.

    Mr Horgan said previous police investigations into the case that looked at other suspects were flawed.

    Ms Membrey was last seen leaving the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood in Melbourne's east, where she worked as bartender, on December 6, 1994.

    Her body has never been found.

    In evidence given during the trial, father Roger Membrey told the jury of he and his wife's growing concern when they went to their daughter's unit after her disappearance and found blood.

    Mr Membrey told the Supreme Court he recalled going to his daughter's Ringwood unit with his wife Joy after phone messages went unanswered on December 7, 1994.

    Elisabeth had failed to attend a doctor's appointment that day, the jury was told.

    "We were getting a bit concerned because the girls didn't seem to be there, they weren't answering, and the place was in darkness,'' Mr Membrey said.

    They managed to get inside the unit.

    We were pleased to see that everything was neat and tidy . . . so it all looked very normal, but there was one exception to that, of course,'' he said.

    That exception was a pool of dried blood in the hallway. Mr Membrey said he rang 000 and taxi services to see if an ambulance or cabs had been called to the home.

    "It was all negative, negative,'' Mr Membrey said.

    The grieving parents of cold case murder victim Elisabeth Membrey say the agony of losing their daughter is as profound today as it ever was.

    Each day, Roger and Joy Membrey light a candle in honour of their daughter, killed almost 19 years ago.

    Their vigil today was particularly heartfelt - it would have been Elisabeth's 41st birthday.

    "It's Elisabeth's birthday...she would have been 41 today and we've been robbed of more than half of her life," Roger told 7News reporter Cameron Baud.

    The death of Elisabeth Membrey is one of Victoria's most high-profile unsolved murder cases.

    On December 6, 1994, Elisabeth, a then 22-year-old part-time bartender, disappeared from her suburban home in Ringwood.

    She was last seen leaving work at the Manhattan Hotel.

    Her body has never been found.

    The Membreys have always been open about their pain and suffering since Elisabeth was killed.

    But the couple's life sentence has become more intense over the past 14 months since Shane Bond was found not guilty of murdering their only daughter.

    The couple are convinced more than one person was involved in the killing and also suspect that one of the accomplices was a woman.

    "It must be a tremendous burden for the person or persons who were involved," Joy said.

    "We believe Elisabeth's murder is beyond the capability of one person. We believe there must be people out there with things on their conscience," Roger added.

    The case remains an open investigation with the homicide's squad's cold case unit.

    A $1m reward is still on offer for information that leads to a conviction.

    As the Membrey's quest for answers and closure continues, so too does their pain.

    "We can't move through it as people are encouraged to do when they're grieving," Roger said.

    "We have no finality and until we get finality, we'll be in limbo."

    Joy added: "It's extremely hard to verbalise exactly what it's like, but it's as bad today as it was in the beginning, if not more so because of the length of time."

    The Membrey's bitter experience has led them to seek major changes to the court system through an advisory committee to the Attorney General.

    "The legal system prevented us actually participating as we felt that we had an obligation to," Roger said.

    The couple's burning desire is to provide their daughter with a burial before any more birthdays.

    Today, they made yet another impassioned plea to the public for information, no matter how insignificant they feel it might be to the investigation.

    "We passionately ask anybody who has information of any strength to pass that on to Crime Stoppers," Roger said.

    Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


    Internet sleuths investigate Elisabeth Membrey cold case: Will her body ever be found?

    THE dark dried bloodstain on the hallway carpet was the giveaway.

    It was visible for all to see, despite the killer’s desperate attempts to clean up. The carpet had been mopped and the hallway walls had been wiped clean.

    But not clean enough. Because despite the killer’s best efforts, traces of blood remained low on the walls.

    For the parents of 22-year-old Elisabeth Membrey it was the first sign she had fallen victim to something terrible.

    At first Joy and Roger Membrey hoped their daughter had injured herself and gone to hospital. They’d gone to her Ringwood apartment in Melbourne’s east with Elisabeth’s boyfriend because she’d failed to answer her phone.

    But when they got there, her doona was missing.

    Elisabeth never made it home. Police later theorised her killer wrapped her bloodied body in the doona and carried her out of the apartment.

    They found a partly finished letter in her room intended for a friend in the United Kingdom, adding to the theory she was disturbed while writing it on the night of December 6, 1994.

    That night she was supposed to be staying at her boyfriend’s but was asked to work late at the nearby Manhattan Hotel instead. She finished her shift about 11.45pm and drove her red Mazda home.

    Ms Membrey, a popular arts graduate who had aspirations to be a television reporter, was alone in the apartment because her flatmate was away.

    Her father Roger Membrey said of the blood smears: “We were pleased to see that everything was neat and tidy . . . so it all looked very normal, but there was one exception to that, of course.”

    Police are in no doubt that Elisabeth is dead. But in the 21 years since she went missing, her body has not been found and no one has been convicted over her death.

    The case quickly became one of Victoria’s most enduring mysteries which resulted in the arrest of a patron of the hotel she worked in — however a Supreme Court jury found the person not guilty after a high profile trial in 2012.

    The evidence against Shane Bond was circumstantial and he was acquitted after the jury deliberated for seven days.

    As with all cold cases police have promised not to give up until the killer is found and there is still a million-dollar reward for anyone with information that leads to a conviction.

    While the case may be “cold” in police terms it is very much alive for internet sleuths. The case has proved a popular topic on Reddit with internet sleuths pouring over details of the case.

    And one believes he has found the resting place of Ms Membrey.

    Writing under the pseudonym of Tom Box, he has identified a specific uninhabited property, in the Woori Yallock Basin, that is less than 60km from Ringwood — the suburb where Ms Membrey lived and worked — with a red soil track that leads directly to a secluded dam.

    Mr Box believed Ms Membrey was likely to be on the property. The presence of the red soil was important because it was similar to dirt found on the wheels of Ms Membrey’s car.

    Forensic tests after she disappeared established the dust and soil found in the wheel trims and doors came when the car was driven on a dirt road at speeds between 60km/h and 70km/h for at least four kilometres.

    As Ms Membrey didn’t drive her car off bitumen police determined it must have been the killer. Additional tests showed the soil was consistent with the Kinglake and Silvan areas – leaving detectives to conclude the body was left less than 100 kilometres from the unit.

    However ‘Mr Box’ believed the distinctive dirt found on the wheels could easily have come from the Woori Yallock basin.

    Through local knowledge and amateur detective work, Mr Box found a red soil track that led directly to a secluded dam.

    “The property at that time had no residence but appeared to have some agricultural activity going on there, so presumably no one around at night,” he told news.com.au

    Last year Mr and Mrs Membrey told the ABC the pain of losing their daughter continued despite the time that has passed.

    “We’re left up in the air. We’ve got no body, we don’t know why, how, or where. So the anxiety is extreme all the time, the not knowing,” her mother said.

    They were both determined to get justice for their “beloved, lovely” daughter one day and vowed never to give up.

    “Not ever, until we’re 95 or whatever. Never,” Mrs Membrey said.

    Her husband added: “No, you can’t, it’s a hole in your heart you can’t just paper over. It’s our beloved daughter.”

    Their pride in her was still evident even after two decades..

    “We never lose sight of the fact she really was a lovely daughter.

    “She was an absolute joy to have as a daughter. Those 22 years are very precious to us,” the ABC reported.

    A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the death of Elisabeth Membrey had been extensively investigated.

    “Unsolved homicides always remain open and the current investigators are best placed to make decisions on what they believe is the right course of action to be taken for an investigation at that time.”

    If anyone has information which they believe can assist police in locating Elisabeth’s remains we urge them to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

    Elisabeth Membrey's family calls for criminal justice reform



    Elisabeth​ Membrey​ has now been gone for almost as long as she lived.

    The 22-year-old with the tinkling laugh, sparkling eyes and cascade of dark, curly hair was last seen leaving work at the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood on December 6, 1994.

    The following evening, her parents and boyfriend – worried they hadn't heard from her – broke into her apartment. Inside, they found a dark bloodstain in the hallway and blood spattered on the walls.

    For her parents, Joy and Roger Membrey​, the nightmare of that discovery has never ended.

    Although she was certainly murdered, Elisabeth's body has never been found. Her parents, denied the dignity of burying their beloved daughter, remain in limbo. As they put it, their pain is never far from the surface.

    But if they hoped the court system would ease their pain, their hopes were dashed.

    Police charged a man with Elisabeth's murder but, in 2008 after an eight-week Supreme Court trial, 45-year-old Shane Bond was acquitted of murder.

    It was not simply the outcome of the trial that stung. During proceedings, the Membreys  felt they were simply observers to a process that had very little to do with Elisabeth.

    Mrs Membrey, a former nurse, was reprimanded when she went to the aid of a witness who collapsed in the witness box.

    The pair was told not to look at the jury; not to smile at them; not to react to witness evidence.

    Bond and his family were allowed to examine the evidence against him, say the Membreys. They were not. Journalists were given transcripts of the Supreme Court proceedings; they had to beg copies from the media.

    "It wasn't our case," Mr Membrey says. "We were reminded of that many times, that we were lucky to be there in the eyes of other people. It was all about our daughter [but] we were not even allowed to open our mouths or smile or anything. It was just pathetic, the whole thing."

    Australia's criminal justice system is an adversarial model that focuses on the prosecution, and defence, of people accused of a crime. Because of this, critics say, the search for "justice" can be a bruising and even re-traumatising experience for victims and their families.

    In October 2014, then attorney-general Robert Clark asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to investigate whether victims should be given a role before, during and after a criminal trial and whether they should be allowed to be more involved with the criminal process.

    "For centuries, the common law has regarded victims of crime as little more than witnesses in cases that are brought by the Crown against alleged offenders," Mr Clark said at the time.

    The inquiry has attracted more than 40 submissions from legal and lawyers' groups, individuals, police and the courts, with most calling for greater roles for victims and their families in the court process.

    For Joy and Roger Membrey, change can't come soon enough.

    "There needs to be change," says Mrs Membrey. "We felt like we were in a horror movie."

    The Law Reform Commission will report to the Victorian government in September.

    Man charged and acquitted over the murder of Elisabeth Membrey says his life is ruined