Andrew Russell's family welcomes review of unsolved homicide cases

NEVER GIVING UP: The family of Andrew Russell, including his father Bruce and stepmother Sue, will never give up the hope of bringing Andrew home. Photo" PHIL BLATCH
NEVER GIVING UP: The family of Andrew Russell, including his father Bruce and stepmother Sue, will never give up the hope of bringing Andrew home. Photo" PHIL BLATCH

THE family of Andrew Russell has welcomed news that NSW Police will review the case surrounding the Bathurst man's presumed murder in 2009.

Police announced on Monday that every murder case from the past 40 years - including Mr Russell's - would be revisited by specialist detectives who will look into the availability of witnesses and new technologies to decide whether there are killers out there who may finally be brought to justice. 

Mr Russell’s sister Kiara White said the family was buoyed by news the case would be reviewed. She said the family had never given up hope of bringing their son and brother home.

“I'm over the moon,” she said. “Hopefully justice will be served and the person who did it will rot in jail."

Ms White said Mr Russell was never far from her thoughts.

“There’s not a day that goes by where we don't think of Andrew and that one day we hope we will be able to put him to rest like he deserves," she said.

Ms White said the trauma of losing her brother had had a massive impact on the family.

“It tears us apart every day,” she said.

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Mr Russell left his home to visit his father on June 2, 2009, but never made it there.

Detectives attached to the then Chifley local area command established a strike force investigating Mr Russell’s presumed murder and, after a lengthy investigation, two men were charged.

Kieran Moore was charged with being an accessory after the fact, but the matter against him was discharged by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Tony Simmons was charged with Mr Russell’s murder but was found not guilty after a judge-alone trial spanning 14 weeks, before Justice Peter Hamill.

In October 2016, a coronial inquest into the disappearance and suspected death of Mr Russell found he died on or shortly after June 2, 2009 and his death was suspicious.

And in March this year  the State Government announced a beefed-up $750,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Andrew’s remains.

Mr Russell's step-mother Sue Wallace said the review of cold cases by police was another chance for the family to get justice.

“We’re so happy. This, along with the reward which was offered, means everything to us," she said.

"We will never stop until we get justice for Andrew, he deserves that much."

The first 20 cold cases will be sent out for review by NSW detectives this week and will be looked at by fresh sets of eyes outside of the homicide squad.

The first matters to be reviewed will be “unsolved” deaths that are clearly homicides­ - including Mr Russell's.

A second category is for matters that are “undetermined”, including cases where it is not clear whether the person’s death was a homicide, by misadventure or a suicide.

“Unresolved” matters include deaths where police know who the offender is but they have either been acquitted at trial or are on the run.

Two more Bathurst cold cases - the disappearance of teenager Jessica Small in 1997 and Janine Vaughan in 2001 - could also be reviewed.

Anyone with information related to any of the disappearances should call Crime Stoppers on  1800 333 000.