MURDER MYSTERY: 50 years on from her murder, Mima McKim-Hill's killer has never been convicted. Mima is pictured at the Railway Ball in 1964
MURDER MYSTERY: 50 years on from her murder, Mima McKim-Hill's killer has never been convicted. Mima is pictured at the Railway Ball in 1964

Police closer to killer in Gladstone's work trip horror

NEW evidence in the cold case murder of Mima McKim-Hill has fostered hope for a breakthrough in naming the Rockhampton woman's killer.

Tomorrow marks 50 years since Mima left on a work trip to Gladstone, but never returned.

On March 9, 1967 it is believed Mima was abducted near Calliope, sexually assaulted, murdered and left in bushland near Biloela. She was just 21 years old.

The unsolved events that day have haunted Mima's friend and former co-worker Shirley Eldridge for decades, so much so, she documented the original story and findings of a second investigation her book; Mima, a Case of Abduction, Rape and Murder.

Shirley Eldridge's book Mima
Shirley Eldridge's book Mima

In the lead up to the 50th commemoration of her friend's death, Shirley said the book had done the opposite of what she intended; rather than "put Mima to rest", it has encouraged people to come forward with new evidence.

Though in her 70s and "at peace", Shirley plans to join Trevor Sorenson, another pivotal figure in reopening Mima's case in 2008, to present new findings to the Queensland Attorney General in the hopes of reopening a second coronial inquest.

Former Rockhampton resident Trevor had followed Mima's story since day one, and encouraged the Queensland Police to reinvestigate the case after he met Shirley in 2007.

In 2009 the QPS named Mima's killer, a South Australian tanker driver who had been in the Gladstone area on March 9, 1967.

However, he died about six weeks prior to the detectives' planned visit, and no one has ever been convicted for Mima's murder.

Shirley and Mima at a social function.
Shirley and Mima at a social function.

It is this lack of closure which has tormented Shirley, and while she says she will still "listen empathetically" to the friends, family and members of the public who contact her, she feels this chapter of her life is nearly at a close.

"For me, I came home from all the promotions and within a month or two I had packed up all the materials I used," Shirley said of her life post book tour last year.

Shirley has entrusted Trevor to take the case forward, a task he has taken on with great determination and duty.

Yesterday, Trevor confirmed he had spoken to three informants over the last week who had initially contacted Shirley.

Mima learning to drive at age 17.
Mima learning to drive at age 17.

He has since presented new information to the Queensland Police Service's cold case department.

"We are hoping that will be enough in conjunction with the cold case unit to active a second coronial inquest, which will be run in a much more contemporary and legal manner and involve many more departments than occurred in 1967-68. As you can imagine a lot's changed in 50 years," he said.

"The previous inquest was abysmal as was the investigation into Mima's initial disappearance, as was the investigation after her body was found."

Given the delicate nature of the case, Trevor did not wish to divulge names or details of the people who had come forward, or the nature of their evidence.

"I'm not prepared to share that, but I can assure it has come from a very reliable person and that information provided by that person it's quite clear that person hasn't just derived this from other sources. This is what that person saw themself" he said of one contact.

The story published in the Morning Bulletin about Mima McKim-Hill's death.
The story published in the Morning Bulletin about Mima McKim-Hill's death.

"The information, yes, could point in the direction of a person who may have been involved in the crimes committed against Mima."

Trevor said police had previously interviewed the second person he had spoken to, and he believes they will be reinterviewed in light of their evidence.

"There's also another person in the background who has provided information," he said.

"Some cases raise more questions than answers, and also we are back to the situation that there's still possibly a number of options of who may have committed the crimes."

Mima's home 115 Gladstone Rd, Rockhampton.
Mima's home 115 Gladstone Rd, Rockhampton.

Trevor said at the crux of the matter is the need for justice, something Mima was "not afforded".

"It's not just Shirley Eldrige and myself, there's still people out there today chafing at the bit from all over the countryside who would like to see closure on this case, there's all sorts of theories out there as to what occurred on the day, but they all come back to two main theories."



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