Full Walsh St inquest vital
THE Walsh St murders shocked Victoria like few other crimes ever have.
The cold-blooded ambush and execution of two police constables was not only the heinous taking of two innocent young lives.
The murders of Steven Tynan, 22 and Damian Eyre, 20, in Walsh St, South Yarra on October 12, 1988, was an attack on the state and on all those who are charged with upholding the law and protecting the public. It was a callous affront to civil society.
Yesterday, at a solemn ceremony at Prahran Police Station both Steven and Damian were formally acknowledged with posthumous Valour Awards, presented to the families of each men.
Cut down in the line of duty, lured to their deaths with a report of an abandoned car, both officers were murdered not for who they were as individuals, but for the uniform they wore.
As individuals, both were full of promise and hope, at the start of their adult lives and embarking on careers in the service of others.
It has now been 30 years since that awful crime.
But time has not healed the wounds and the trauma that remains is intensely personal for the Tynan and Eyre families. Indeed, the scars remain deep and hearts are still heavy in the force as a whole.
Former policeman Frank Eyre was 53 when he lost his son. Now 83, three decades later, he has not given up hope of a formal finding naming those who murdered Damian and Steven. As Mr Eyre recounted to the
Herald Sun yesterday, his son was a proud and professional member from a family line of police officers.
Damian’s final chat with his mother Carmel the night before he died, when he phoned to ask for a recipe, remains a cherished moment.
“If everybody grew to become more like he was, this would be a magic world to live in,” Mr Eyre said.
Four men were tried for the constables’ murder but were acquitted in 1991 and no one has been convicted of the killings.
The names of Jedd Houghton, Victor Peirce, Peter McEvoy, Trevor Pettingill, Anthony Leigh Farrell and Gary Abdallah were linked to the outrage. Peirce’s former wife, Wendy, who was jailed for perjury after doubling back on a commitment to testify, unwound the prosecution case.
Yesterday, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police were committed to continuing to honour the sacrifice of both constables. “We who are left have an obligation to ensure the memories of these young men are never erased,” he said.
Both Mr Eyre and the Police Association have called for a coronial investigation into the murders.
Even now, so many years later, constables Eyre and Tynan deserve that, and so do their families.
The Walsh St murderers and conspirators, in their attack against the state, must be pursued to full conclusion with formal findings.
Justice, even delayed, is vital.