Christopher Knaus August 29, 2012
A new breakthrough in a brutal 13-year-old homicide case has prompted police to seek a group of teenagers linked with a seemingly minor break in at the Woden Pitch and Putt two years ago.
The six-member cold case unit, formed two years ago, has been re-examining evidence relating to the murder of McKellar woman Irma Palasics in 1999.
The frail and elderly woman was killed in a horrific home invasion on Saturday November 6, when two men forced their way into her home.
Mrs Palasics and her husband Gregor were bound and savagely beaten, while their home was ransacked and jewellery and cash were stolen.
Tragically, Mrs Palasics died from her injuries. Her husband freed himself and called police, but could not save his wife.
Now, police have established a link between the unsolved murder and a seemingly unrelated aggravated burglary at the Pitch and Putt in Phillip some 12 years later.
Police say they cannot disclose the exact nature of the link, fearing it may jeopardise their investigation.
But they have released CCTV footage of the break in at the Pitch and Putt golf course in Irving Street about 1.50am on Sunday May 16, 2010.
The grainy footage shows four youths charging at a roller door to the storage shed at the course, eventually forcing it from its frame and falling inside.
Criminal Investigations detective superintendent Brett McCann said that identifying the teenagers in the footage may prove crucial to finally solving the homicide.
"This is certainly a very positive breakthrough but without identification and the assistance of the community and the males themselves, we can't take it forward further at this stage," he said.
Detective Superintendent McCann pleaded anyone with information, including the four youths, to come forward to police.
"Surely, you can all put yourself in the shoes of any victim of a homicide," he said.
"It can happen to any of us, at any stage, and I would implore people out there to actually put yourself in the shoes of the Palasics family... and actually think about the assistance you want from people in the community."
Anyone who can assist is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or www.act.crimestoppers.com.au. Information can be provided anonymously.
There is a reward of $100,000 for information that leads to a conviction over the murder.
Detective Superintendent McCann said there is also the possibility of indemnity for anyone not directly involved in the murder, subject to a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The establishment of the cold case unit, made up of six very experienced detectives, has allowed the case to be re-examined with "clear vision".
"There's been a number of avenues of inquiry that have come forth as a result of their hard work," Detective Superintendent McCann said.
The team has been going over six major unsolved homicides in the ACT.