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$1 million reward for Strath Creek cold case murder

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Victoria Police has announced a $1 million reward for information as part of an investigation into the murder of man whose body was found near Strath Creek nearly 40 years ago.

The body of Robert ‘Jack’ Richardson, 49, was located by two fishermen in bushland off King Parrot Creek Road, near Strath Creek, on March 31, 1984.

Police believe Mr Richardson was the victim of an ‘execution-style’ murder two or three weeks earlier.

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At the time, The Free Press reported Mr Richardson, one of Victoria’s top 10 most wanted men, was shot in the back of the head.

He was living with his girlfriend at the time in St Kilda and was last seen with two unidentified men in the area on March 4, 1984, between 1.20am and 2am.

Mr Richardson, who had strong links to organised crime, had been due to to face Melbourne County Court with two co-accused on March 5, 1984, on charges of conspiring to traffic heroin.

At the time, police believed the investigation was linked to a ‘high level’ organised crime, with connections to the Painters and Dockers union, who committed numerous crimes in the 1970s and 1980s.

The crime syndicate was also connected to the attempted murder of a NSW Police undercover officer, who was a prosecution witness in the case.

A 1985 inquest into Mr Richardson’s death found he was murdered by a person or persons unknown, and investigators believe it might have been arranged with the assistance and knowledge of several people, including trusted friends.

Police believe the murder had all the hallmarks of an underworld execution, with evidence suggesting Mr Richardson had no warning and trusted the person who did it.

Crime Command Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said since the time of the original investigation, detectives had received further information about Mr Richardson’s death and those potentially responsible.

However there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone yet.

The crime scene where the body of Robert ‘Jack’ Robinson was found in bushland off King Parrot Road, near Strath Creek, on March 31, 1984. ​

A forensic re-examination of an exhibit located at the Strath Creek crime scene has also identified fresh DNA, which police believe will provide further avenues of enquiry for the investigation.

“It’s also worth noting the timing of Jack’s death – it occurred two years to the day after the original police arrests in relation to the drug investigation and the day before the trial was meant to begin. We do not believe that this was in any way coincidental,” Det Insp Thomas said.

Det Insp Thomas said police believe it was likely people formerly associated with the Painters and Dockers union would have at least had knowledge about what happened to Mr Richardson and who was involved.

“Investigators have spoken to some of these people and are particularly keen to hear from anyone who used to move in those circles,” he said.

Despite Mr Richardson’s criminal background, Det Insp Thomas said the family deserved justice, and encouraged anyone with information to come forward.

“Jack also had a young daughter at the time of his death – sadly she has grown up without a father and never knowing who killed her dad and why,” he said.

“Every person who loses their life in this way, regardless of their background or personal circumstances deserves justice.

“The fact that Jack’s murder is unsolved also mean that we have had someone out there in the community for almost four decades who has never been held to account for their behaviour.”

Police urge anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at

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