ACT News

Gwen Winchester dead, aged 78

The widow of slain ACT police chief Colin Winchester has been remembered for her dignity and courage through adversity.

Gwen Winchester passed away on Sunday after a battle with leukaemia.

She was aged 78.

Tributes to Mrs Winchester recalled her "incredible strength and character" after the assassination of her husband, the hunt for his killer, a trial, appeals, and inquiries.

Victims of Crime Commissioner John Hinchey said the family had declined to comment other than to request their privacy be respected.

Mr Hinchey worked with the family during the inquiry into the conviction of David Eastman for the 1989 assassination of Mr Winchester.

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Eastman walked free from jail last year and his conviction was quashed after an inquiry found his 1995 trial had been a miscarriage of justice.

A retrial has been scheduled for February 2016

But Eastman's legal team will first attempt to block the retrial.

The stay application has been listed to be heard over two weeks from July 13.

The family spurned the spotlight as the case descended into legal farce.

But, after Eastman's conviction was quashed, the family issued a statement saying they supported the retrial and remained steadfast and resolute in their pursuit of justice.

Australian Federal Police Association chief executive Dennis Gellatly said Mrs Winchester would be remembered among police as a person who showed "incredible strength and character" through difficult times.

"She was an example to the rest of the community," Mr Gellatly said.

"The name Winchester is synonymous with ACT Policing, we've got the Winchester Centre as the ACT Policing headquarters.

"Our thoughts go out to Gwen's family and friends. "

ACT Chief Police Officer Rudi Lammers said the force extended its heartfelt condolences to the Winchester family.

The detective who spent years chasing Eastman, former Australian Federal Police Commander Rick Ninness, said Mrs Winchester would be remembered for displaying "enormous courage and dignity throughout this horrendous ordeal".

"Gwen Winchester will be remembered for displaying enormous courage and dignity throughout this horrendous ordeal," Mr Ninness said.

"She supported her late husband, Colin, against many attempts to discredit his character, all of which were exposed to be unfounded.

"I offer my sincere condolences and thanks to the family for their support on behalf of all former members of the major crimes squad."

Mrs Winchester will be farewelled at a mass on Friday morning and laid to rest Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery.

She is survived by her two children and grandchildren.

The family asked for donations to be made to the Leukaemia Foundation in lieu of flowers.

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