Father of murder victim Elisabeth Membrey dies without the answers he fought for

The father of Elisabeth Membrey, who was attacked and murdered in her Ringwood unit in 1994, has died, unaware police are now confident they have established the identity of her killer.

Roger Membrey, 83, died on Monday after a long illness.

Joy and Roger Membrey outside court in Melbourne in 2010.Credit:Penny Stephens

His wife and Elisabeth’s mother, Joy, said, “I just hope he is up there and is reunited with our daughter.”

“He couldn’t have loved anyone any more than he did Elisabeth.”

The Age revealed on Saturday that a secret five-year re-investigation of the case had concluded that the brother of Elisabeth’s housemate was the killer.

But Roger was too frail to absorb the news of the breakthrough.

“It is there every day, like an undercurrent”: Joy and Roger Membrey in 2005.Credit:John Woudstra

Roger and Joy Membrey worked tirelessly to keep the investigation into their daughter’s case alive.

In 2010 police charged Shane Bond with the murder. He was acquitted two years later. Detectives now believe he was innocent.

After the trial, the Membreys campaigned for victims’ rights, citing their experience in court as cold and uncaring.

A DNA match to samples collected in the victim’s car have now been linked to the brother of Membrey’s housemate, who was convicted of a rape in Queensland in 2014.

The coroner is now considering reopening the inquest.

Elisabeth, 22, was discovered missing when Roger and her boyfriend broke into her unit on December 7, 1994 to find signs of a struggle and attempts to clean up blood in the hallway.

Her body was draped in her doona, placed in the boot of her Mazda and driven to an unknown location. Her body has never been found.

Joy said that when Roger was battling his fatal illness, “He would walk around the ward crying, holding a picture of Elisabeth.”

After Bond was acquitted, Roger told The Age, “It is there every day, like an undercurrent.”

In 2016, he told The Age he and Joy were pushing for a re-investigation.

“I am 76 years old and we desperately want to find the truth for Elisabeth. We will not be on this Earth forever,” he says. “There is a sense that we have failed her. We are caught in this sort of half life.”

The Membreys were told of the re-investigation, but by the time detectives made the breakthrough it was too late for Roger.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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