Police announce $1m reward to find killer of Melbourne mother Maria James

Victoria Police have announced a $1 million reward for information leading to a conviction in the brutal killing of Melbourne woman Maria James.

The mother of two was stabbed more than 60 times in her home, which doubled as a bookshop more than 40 years ago.

The fateful day was June 17, 1980, and on the eve of the anniversary, police announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Mrs. James’s death.

Police say they “still have a number of persons of interest” and have not given up.

“I know that many people out there feel hugely invested in getting a resolution for Maria’s family, and I want to assure them that the police continue to do everything they can to resolve this issue,” Detective Inspector Homicide Dean said Thomas.

“Despite a major criminal investigation, as well as two court investigations, we have been unable to identify who Maria’s killer(s) were or why they killed Maria.

“However, that does not mean we have given up hope that those answers can still be determined or that those responsible can be held accountable.”

Mrs James lived in the house and second-hand bookshop in High St, Thornbury, with her two children.

“By all accounts, Maria was a well-liked and respected member of her local community, who maintained a close-knit circle of friends and was totally devoted to her two children,” police said.

Around noon on June 17, she called her ex-husband John James, leaving a message for him to call her back.

He did not say why he wished to speak to him; however, she said there was someone in the store.

A short time later Mr James answered her call and after answering, Ms James asked him to “hold” and was then heard having a conversation with someone else.

Although the conversation was unclear to Mr. James, it was clear to him that something was wrong.

When Ms. James didn’t return the call, she left work and went to the bookstore to check on her.

When he arrived he found the front and back doors of the shop closed; however, the “open” sign was displayed.

When he entered the room, he found his ex-wife in her bedroom fatally wounded with more than 60 stab wounds.

He had suffered significant injuries to his head and face and his hands had been bound.

Soon after locating Ms. James, Mr. James also discovered that the store’s front door was now open. This suggested that someone may have been inside the address when he arrived.

Two separate eyewitnesses described a man running from the crime scene immediately after Ms. James was found.

A $50,000 reward in 1980 and coronal inquests in 1982 and 2021 have failed to uncover definitive answers.

The $1 million reward will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Police Commissioner.

The Public Prosecutor will consider, according to the established guidelines, the granting of compensation from criminal prosecution to anyone who provides information on the identity of the main culprit(s) in this matter.

“If you have information, then we want to hear from you, no matter how insignificant or irrelevant you think it is,” Inspector Thomas said.

“After 44 years, Maria’s children deserve answers and police remain as committed as ever to giving them answers.”

Read related topics:Melbourne

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL