The sibling of one of the two women who met their tragic demise within the confines of their inner-Melbourne residence four decades ago has earnestly beseeched the public for information, as law enforcement extends a generous reward of $1 million to aid in unraveling the enigma.
In the month of January in the year 1977, Suzanne Armstrong (28) and Susan Bartlett (27) were fatally subjected to stabbing within their abode on Easey Street in Collingwood. According to law enforcement, the assailant perpetrated not only the heinous act of stabbing and mortally wounding Armstrong, but also committed the grievous act of sexual assault. Bartlett valiantly endeavored to assist her friend and was tragically stabbed while intervening in response to the commotion.
Gregory, the tender age of merely sixteen months, son of Suzanne Armstrong, was miraculously found unharmed within his crib three days subsequent to the barbaric incident. He was subsequently nurtured by Armstrong’s sister, Gayle. Gayle recounted that it was the lamentations of young Gregory that alerted the neighbors to the upheaval.
“Gregory was in his eighteenth month when he was discovered ensconced within his crib after a span of two days. It was his poignant cries that eventually drew the attention of the neighboring household, culminating in the revelation,” Gayle elucidated. “I bore the role of his mother, and in recent years, he has managed to establish a connection with his biological father. Regular visits have been made, and a certain degree of intimacy has been nurtured between them. He is progressing satisfactorily.”
In the course of their meticulous scrutiny, the law enforcement agencies have subjected multiple individuals to DNA analyses; however, the identity of the perpetrator remains an enigma. While certain individuals have been definitively excluded as potential suspects, the relentless investigation persists. The malevolent event unfolded at the residence on Easey Street in the year 1977, a domicile cohabited by Armstrong and Bartlett.
Detective Inspector Michael Hughes, a key figure within the Homicide Squad, imparted that law enforcement has identified approximately 130 persons of interest pertinent to the case, a considerable number of whom had previously been subjected to investigation. The ongoing investigation involves methodically eliminating each individual, commencing with those who remain among the living.
In consonance with Detective Hughes, a total of forty-one among the 130 individuals of interest have regrettably passed away. Notwithstanding this setback, he affirmed that substantial strides have been made within the investigation concerning the remaining individuals on the roster. The alleged perpetrator, now believed to have reached their sixth or seventh decade of life, is unlikely to have led a virtuous existence bereft of criminality in the aftermath of the heinous murders that transpired forty-five years ago, as asserted by Detective Hughes.
“I am disinclined to accept the notion that a crime of such savagery can be perpetrated without attracting the notice of the law enforcement apparatus, be it within Victoria or any other jurisdiction,” he contended. “I posit that technological advancements will inevitably bridge this gap, and our resolute perseverance shall ultimately lead us to apprehend the culprit.” It is only the malefactor who harbors something to conceal.
As recounted by law enforcement, Armstrong and Bartlett shared a bond of childhood friendship hailing from the town of Benalla, and their social circle within Melbourne was tightly-knit. Detective Hughes remarked that Collingwood, the very locale where the lamentable slayings transpired, was characterized by its working-class demographics, where denizens felt a sense of security during that bygone era.
The residence on Easey Street, the grim site where Suzanne Armstrong and Susan Bartlett met their untimely demise in the year 1977, stands as a somber testament to the tragedy. (Supplied: Victoria Police)
Detective Hughes vividly portrayed the gruesome homicides as a direful transgression that sent shockwaves throughout the city of Melbourne. At that juncture in history, Melbourne exuded an air of serenity, and it was not uncommon for residents to leave their portals ajar and windows unlocked.
Initial inquiries failed to reveal any trace of forced entry into the domicile.
Preceding the tragic discovery of the lifeless bodies of the two women, a pair of missives were discovered at the premises, as detailed by law enforcement. Inspector Hughes passionately urged anyone who had been interviewed in connection with the case during the period surrounding the murders to reach out to Crime Stoppers. The initial victim’s remains were found affixed to the front entrance, a grim tableau stumbled upon by concerned neighbors who had encountered the victim’s stray canine. The second victim’s body was located within the dwelling, a direful sight left by the victim’s boyfriend, who, in conjunction with his sibling, embarked on a search for his missing paramour.
“People have relocated, altering addresses and changing their abodes. In certain instances, our interactions with them have been of a fleeting nature, transpiring either on the fateful night or within a span of mere days,” he noted.
“Should you be inclined to volunteer your DNA, we shall certainly facilitate this endeavor. The only individual harboring any ulterior motive is the wrongdoer.”
Since the demise of her sibling, Gayle Armstrong has attested to her inability to bear witness to news coverage, lamenting its preoccupation with matters akin to her own.
Her emotions surged forth when she was inquired about the significance of the continued active involvement of law enforcement in their unrelenting pursuit of justice.
“[It holds] boundless significance, a profound import. This endeavor demands closure, a pursuit that should have been initiated thirty-nine years prior, rendering the current endeavor unnecessary.”
“I bear witness to the miracles that [law enforcement] has wrought in solving [other cases], and I am led to believe that Suzanne shall be the next chapter in this tale,” she remarked with unwavering conviction. They shall succeed, unearthing this enigmatic figure. The employment of DNA analysis, even if the individual is no longer among the living, holds the potential to unveil the truth through ancestral connections.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions is also deliberating the possibility of extending immunity from prosecution to any individual who can offer pivotal insights to solve this grievous puzzle.