Murdered Airlie Beach grandmother Dorothy Britton.
Murdered Airlie Beach grandmother Dorothy Britton. MICHAEL ABBOTT

WATCH LIVE: Police make headway in murder cold case

DETECTIVES are making headway in the cold case murder of Airlie Beach woman Dorothy Britton.

Dorothy Britton, aged 48 at the time of her death and a mother to three boys, was found at 6.30pm at her Airlie Beach address. She had died from a gunshot wound.

Detectives investigating the murder now believe the person responsible for Ms Britton's death had a 'very close association' with her. 

Senior Sergeant Chris Knight of the Homicide Investigation Unit said police were confident that the offender had a close association with Mrs Britton, had extensive knowledge of her lifestyle and routines and was familiar with her loyal and protective Rottweiler dog, Bella.

"Over recent weeks the cold case investigation team have been investigating the murder of Dorothy Britton in Airlie Beach in 1996," he said. 

"Ms Britton was a 48-year-old lady when she passed away and her body was found on the 7th of March, 1996 at her home address as Jubilee Pocket. 

"We believe now Dorothy Britton was in fact murdered the previous day, the 6th of March and we have been conducting inquiries in South Australia, Central Queensland and North Queensland and those inquiries are ongoing. 

"I am confident now to state that we believe the person responsible for murdering Dorothy was a close associate.

I believe that the person responsible had close engagement with Dorothy and was very familiar with her lifestyle patterns, her home address and was very familiar with a loyal Rottweiler dog who was at the house when this murder occurred.

Dorothy Britton's dog Bella
Dorothy Britton's dog Bella

Snr Sgt Knight said ongoing police inquiries suggest the person who is responsible for Dorothy's murder, has spoken with people about it over the years. 

"It is those people we now appeal to come forward," Snr Sgt Knight said. 

"I believe the person of interest has spoken about their involvement in Dorothy's murder and we want those people (spoken to) to come forward as a matter of priority.

Allow the police to do our job, by giving us the information and allow us to make an assessment as to the validity of the information please.

Detectives believe it is possible more than one person was involved in the murder. 

"Whether by motivating someone to do an act or whether by physically attending is still the subject of inquiries," Snr Sgt Knight said of the potential multiple people were involved. 

Sng Sgt Knight described Ms Britton's murder as 'horrific and brutal' and one that the Airlie Beach community has not forgotten. 

"What is very clear to us is despite the age of this investigation, Dorothy Britton's death has remained a salient point for a lot of people that live in that area, it is still very much in the front of their minds and as a result a lot of people that we have spoken to have intimate knowledge of this and it has remained with them," he said. 

It was a horrific crime as you would expect. This was a lady that was living a fairly private life in her house and while she was in her house, minding her own business, someone has brutally taken her life.

Snr Sgt said there had been a number of inquiries conducted in South Australia in recent weeks. 

"I don't want to say where the (suspects) are but we have been conducting inquiries with people that were certainly close with Dorothy back around the time of her murder," he said. 

"South Australia remains important to us as you can imagine, over a passage of time, people have moved on and there are people down there who have information that is relevant to us as there also is in north Queensland, central Queensland and Brisbane. 

"As I stand here before you now, we have detectives in Central Queensland conducting further inquiries in relation to this murder. 

"We are investigating a couple of options, but we have received information that might indicate what has motivated Dorothy's murder, but I don't want to broadcast that yet." 

Snr Sgt Knight reminded the public of a $250,000 reward for information solving Dorothy's murder. 

"That reward has been in existence for a number of years now and is still available to the first person that provides information, provided that person was not directly involved in Dorothy's murder," he said. 

"We have done media appeals over recent weeks in relation to this investigation and we have had a favourable response however I want to reiterate that appeal because that information has led up to those assumptions that I have relayed to you today.

"The investigation is progressing and we have made some milestones over recent weeks despite the age of this investigation.

"We have genuinely new information, it is witness based evidence from people who have spoken to us about matters they were reluctant to speak with us about in the past or perhaps didn't for a whole lot of reasons." 

Snr Sgt Knight said solving Dorothy Britton's murder was very important to the community, the people that still live in Airlie Beach and Central Queensland and her family. 

"Our hearts go out to her family. For 22 years they have had unanswered questions that they deserve. Her children, her husband and her friends deserve these answers," he said. 


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