Call to reopen inquest into murder of Melissa Hunt

Today on the front page of The Newcastle Herald I called for the reopening of the inquest into the violent 1994 murder of my sister, Melissa Hunt (Hallett).

Our call for the inquest to re-open or for charges to be laid.

How long is long enough?

Inquests are suspended or closed when the Coroner believes charges should be laid against a known person for a crime such as murder. This is what occurred in March 1998, less than four years after Melissa’s death.

We were present when the inquest was suddenly closed and handed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). At the time, the available evidence pointed very strongly at Matthew Henderson, a former boyfriend of Melissa’s.

As you can see from the newspaper report from the time it seemed to me even then that we had been waiting a long time for answers as to Melissa’s death. And more importantly, justice for her and her children and my parents. Now it is 25 years later and the inquest officially remains ‘suspended’ and yet no charges were ever-laid.

The DPP proved an impenetrable edifice – we could never find any information as to what was occurring and eventually the case was quietly handed back to police to pick up the pieces.

The question then seems powerfully relevant – why not complete the inquest that was never finished and at least allow us to hear testimony from witnesses not heard before, hear the latest summary of the case from police and perhaps even look Matthew Henderson in the eye.

I’ve asked police if they know of his whereabouts, as he is not easy to track down. They have refused to answer. An inquest would answer some of these questions…

The police make a public statement

If nothing else, the police have finally broken silence and made a statement for Nick Bielby’s article today:

The State Crime Command’s Unsolved Homicide Unit confirmed on Thursday it was reviewing the case and re-testing evidence collected from the scene – though it was not specific as to what was being examined.

Homicide Squad commander Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Henney said the process would be overseen by senior investigators and involve three separate assessments that focussed on “triage, review and quality control”.

Detective Acting Superintendent Henney said on Thursday the Unsolved Homicide Unit was “a finite resource” but that NSW Police had a wealth of skilled investigators that increased the capacity to “put fresh eyes on cold cases”.

“We are committed to ensuring the most effective and efficient allocation of resources in order to maximise our capability to provide justice for victims and answers to their families,” he said.

Justice for victims, answers for their families. You can help by praying or if you know anything, coming forward to police.

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2 thoughts on “Call to reopen inquest into murder of Melissa Hunt

  1. Well done to Nick Bielby and the Herald.Finally the call the action is heard.
    While seeing a comment forced out of the Homicide Police after so long is encouraging ,the words “finite resources” is a slap in the face.
    The police can be sure the work sheet will be checked in due course.

    I demand this case be reviewed by an independent inquiry and that all evidence and procedural police conduct be reviewed.

    21 years ago the Coroner named a person to be charged ,enough.

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    1. Scott the reason behind .⚜️🛂🇦🇺 Finite resources .is because the police homicide squad .rapter.and associates .are flat out . resources are stretched to the limit . because of the flood of methamphetamine on our streets.which is biological warfare.a phyco chemical drug which creates neurotoxicity .which means it attacks ones central nervous system.and slowly kills you.creates mental illnesses and phycotic behaviour.the crime rate has tenfolded.as to has stabbings shootings and murders .even though they are pumping police through the police academy faster than a money making machine counts money.the homicide squad ECT.would be stretched to maximum capacity .because of the destruction.this biological warfare drug was designed to do .to the civilian population.the police force seems to be growing at a rate .quicker than a rabbit can pump out babies .there’s a little bit of insight for you to think about.👁️🤓👁️🙏

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