Australia PENNY HILL: 19-year-old beaten and left for dead in Coolah, NSW - 8 July 1991


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$1 million reward announced on 28th anniversary of Penny Hill murder

Penny Hill, then aged 20, was found unconscious with severe head and facial injuries on Cassilis Road, near Coolah, about 8am on Monday 8 July 1991. She was taken to John Hunter Hospital, where she died two weeks later, on Sunday 21 July 1991. In 1992, a coronial inquest held in Mudgee returned an opening finding on the cause and manner of death. Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad commenced further investigations into Penny’s murder under Strike Force Samdon, before a second coronial inquest was held in 2012. The second inquest also delivered an opening finding and was returned to investigators, who pursued a number of new lines of inquiry, however, no one has ever been charged in relation to Penny’s death.

In acknowledgement of today’s 28-year anniversary, the NSW Government has increased the reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Penny’s murder to $1 million. Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Henney, said after almost three decades of searching for answers, the Hill family deserve closure. “

Penny had only just moved to Coolah – to begin her first job as a nanny at the Black Stump Motel – just three days before her body was found,” Det A/Supt Henney said.

“Detectives have made a number of public appeals to the community for any information that could help investigators solve this horrific murder. “Over the years, a number of leads have been pursued and today’s reward is another opportunity to appeal to those people in the community who have information about Penny’s death to come forward. “We are committed to getting justice for Penny and providing answers for her family,” Det A/Supt Henney said.

Penny’s mother, Jeanette Hill, said the last 28 years have caused unbearable pain. “There is simply no way to describe the immense agony of losing a child,” Mrs Hill said.

“Every day I am reminded of Penny, of the tragic way in which she was taken from us, and of the life she never got to live.

“It has been almost three decades that we have been searching for answers and once again we ask that anyone in the community who might know what happened to our daughter, please come forward and help police.

“Our family, and our Penny need peace,” Mrs Hill said.

Do you have information that can help police with this case?
Any information you have about this is worth giving to police, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
You can provide information to police via any of the methods below:

Call Crime Stoppers any time on 1800 333 000
 

Elfy Scott

10 daily news reporter


$1 Million Reward To Solve Brutal Murder Of Young Nanny

Investigators are offering a $1 million reward to solve the cold case murder of Penny Hill, a young woman who was brutally murdered in NSW in 1991.

Hill was 20-years-old when she was left in a ditch on the brink of death next to Cassilis Road outside Coolah.

She was found with severe head and facial injuries and was rushed to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital but died in hospital nearly two weeks later.

This year marks the 28th anniversary of Hill's death. At the time of her death, Hill was working as a nanny for the Baigent family, owners of the Black Stump Hotel in Coolah. She had arrived in Coolah just three days earlier to take up the position.

Despite extensive investigations and appeals to the public for information, Hill's killer was never found.

Last year an initial reward of $100,000 was offered by NSW Government for information leading to a conviction for the young woman's murder. The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Sergeant Jason Darcy made the public appeal, saying that Hill's family deserved closure.
"It's any parent's nightmare, obviously [she took] her first job out of town and away from her parents, and this happens to her in only a couple of days since she left home".

In 2012, police reported that the forensic examination of evidence had uncovered a DNA profile of a man who is yet to be identified.

Police have conducted more than 100 DNA tests throughout the state, with samples taken from suspects in Coolah, Dubbo, Orange, Lithgow and Sydney after they were confirmed to be in the area at the time of the murder.

In 2013, NSW police sent forensic samples from a car believed to be linked to the murder to the U.S. for comprehensive testing but the results were inconclusive.

Two coronial inquests have taken place investigating Hill's death, with one in 2012 revealing that Coolah resident Leeola Davis had woken on the night of her death to screams of "Help me, please help me" but had dismissed the sounds as a dream and went back to sleep.

"It was very pleading, it was definitely a woman's voice," Davis said.

"I turned on the lights and looked out the window and down the driveway, I stayed up for a while and I didn't hear anything else."

Davis' husband, Stephen, who lived with his wife behind the Black Stump property, told the inquest that he had heard the click of a van door shutting and the vehicle driving back into town the same night. "This was very slow and a click, not a jump," Davis said. "Something in my mind said, 'that's odd'".

Darcy said in 2018 that police are still pursuing lines of inquiry.
 

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