Stu­dents delve into cold case from 1898

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Do­minic El­some do­minic.el­some@gat­ton­star.com.au

STU­DENTS from around the coun­try de­scended on Gat­ton at the week­end to in­ves­ti­gate a long un­solved cold case in the re­gion.

The Mur­phys Mur­ders, also known as the Gat­ton Mur­ders, was a triple homi­cide of the Mur­phy sib­lings that oc­curred on the evening of De­cem­ber 26, 1898 in Gat­ton.

The case was never of­fi­cially solved.

Stu­dents in foren­sics, crim­i­nol­ogy and po­lice from Swin­burne Univer­sity came to town to in­ves­ti­gate the chilling case, and were able to ap­ply the skills and tech­niques they had learned in class in a real world set­ting.

Lec­turer Dr Louise Ste­d­ing said the group wasn’t try­ing to solve the case, but it was vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence for the stu­dents.

“It's an op­por­tu­nity for them to net­work and an op­por­tu­nity for them to lis­ten to ex­pert speak­ers,” Dr Ste­d­ing said.

“It's also an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to ap­ply their knowl­edge and their per­spec­tive to a case that re­ally hap­pened.”

The group also at­tended talks from the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice, toured the South­ern Queens­land Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre and par­tic­i­pated in a re-en­act­ment of part of the in­quest into the mur­ders per­formed by the Lock­yer Re­gional Per­form­ing Arts group.

They also spent time search­ing an area close to where the mur­ders took place 120 years ago, us­ing tech­niques to an­a­lyse the land­scape and iden­tify rel­e­vant ev­i­dence.

Dr Ste­d­ing said the three-day event had been a huge suc­cess and thanked the lo­cal com­mu­nity, his­tor­i­cal so­ci­eties and Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil for their as­sis­tance.

PHOTO: DO­MINIC EL­SOME

UNCOVERING THE PAST: Dr Louise Ste­d­ing (sec­ond from left) and Univer­sity of Swin­burne stu­dents in­ves­ti­gated the Mur­phys Mur­ders cold case in Gat­ton.

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