Nicholls promises Annette Mason inquest
THE LNP has committed to holding a coronial inquest into the cold case murder of Toowoomba teen Annette Jane Mason.
The opposition will direct the state coroner to re-open the case as a priority should they be successful at the next state election.
It is the first solid commitment to solving the cold case and bringing those responsible to justice in more than two decades.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls will make the long-awaited announcement today during his two-day visit to Toowoomba.
Annette Jane Mason's badly beaten and partly naked body was found on November 19, 1989, concealed under a doona in a house she shared with two other women at 131 Anzac Ave, Toowoomba.
Miss Mason, 15, was murdered sometime between 5am and 7am before her body was discovered around 2.10pm.
No one has ever been charged over the shocking murder.
Several persons of interest, believed to be involved in the brutal and senseless murder, currently live in the Ipswich region.
Mr Nicholls, talking exclusively to the Queensland Times, said significant new evidence presented to Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker had warranted the commitment to reopen the inquest.
He said the Mason family had waited long enough for justice.
"We hope today's announcement will bring some comfort to Annette's family, who have never given up hope their daughter's death would be further investigated," he said.
"Annette's mother and sister have fought long and hard for this second inquest, which Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath dismissed without even a meeting to hear their evidence.
"It was only last week the Attorney-General finally agreed to meet with Annette's family, but there was no commitment to reopen the case, which we believe should occur in light of new evidence.
"I urge the Attorney-General to hold an inquest now.
"Memories fade, people die and another delay of an inquest is just further anguish for Annette's family."
Annette's sister, Linda Mason, said she was overjoyed when she learnt about the LNP's commitment towards the case.
She said she hoped her family would not have to wait another 18 months until the next election for justice to be finally served.
"We are very grateful for the time and consideration he has given, in arriving at his decision to grant an inquest if they win the next election," she said.
"I think anyone who takes the time to consider all the information now available would arrive at the same decision and agree this is a solvable case.
"We just want justice for Annette.
"Once a murder becomes a cold case in Queensland your only option is to advocate and hope someone will see what you see.
"That is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do."
Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker said the reopened inquest would be granted on the basis those with the new evidence were ready, willing and able to present it in front of the coroner.
He said the inquest would be ordered under Section 50 of the Coroner's Act 2003.
"We understand some people may be fearful to present this evidence for fear of retaliation from certain parties," he said.
"But Annette's family deserves the answers they have been denied for nearly 30 years."
A 1991 coronial inquest into Annette's death held over four days in Toowoomba delivered an open finding.
Coroner Ross Woodford heard evidence from 27 witnesses, read 147 statements and the 72-page police report but found there was insufficient evidence to commit any one person to trial.
The inquest heard there were initially up to 13 suspects in Annette's murder.
Investigators believed Annette knew her killer, but there could have been more than one person involved.
A $250,000 reward is still current for information which leads to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Miss Mason's murder.
In addition, an indemnity from prosecution will be recommended for any accomplice, not being the person who actually committed the crime, who first gives such information.