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Police may offer cold case reward

Troy Forsyth, who was killed in a hit and run on Kent Street in Deakin, March 1, 1987.

Troy Forsyth, who was killed in a hit and run on Kent Street in Deakin, March 1, 1987.

Police are weighing up whether to post a reward for the hit-and-run killing of 17-year-old Troy Forsyth in 1987, as they look at offering money for information on a string of cold cases in the ACT.

The teenager was run down by a blue-coloured Holden panel van as he walked home from an 18th birthday party along Kent Street in Deakin.

The van fled the scene and was never found.

The long-running investigation, now stretching over 26 years, has been without a major breakthrough in years.

But renewed focus has been placed on the case by the discovery of serious irregularities and oversights in the early investigation of Troy's death.

That included claims police may have threatened a potential witness to stay quiet, told concerned informants they wanted an ''open-and-shut case'', refused to consider information suggesting the hit-run was deliberate, disposed of forensic evidence after it was water damaged, made errors in their analysis of the car's colour, and let a blue Holden panel van pulled over near the scene drive away, never to be examined again.

Investigators have used this information to probe fresh leads, but say there is not enough concrete evidence to move the case forward.

ACT Policing has been considering for some time whether it is possible to have a reward posted for information on Mr Forsyth's death.

Those considerations are not specific to the hit-and-run - police are looking at a series of cold cases to check if they are eligible for a reward.

The case is in the process of being assessed against specific criteria to determine whether it is suitable for a reward.

If it is deemed eligible, the proposal would be sent to the

rewards evaluation committee - comprising Chief Police Officer Roman Quaedvlieg, the Director-General of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, and the Director of Public Prosecutions - who would then need to endorse it.

Finally, the reward would need to be ticked off by the Police Minister, Simon Corbell.

Police are considering rewards for a number of cases after the successful move to significantly boost rewards for four unsolved homicides last year.

Police posted $500,000 rewards in September over the murders of Kathryn Grosvenor, Susan Winburn, Irma Palasics, and Frank Campbell.

Those rewards attracted a number of tip-offs, which were passed on to investigators.

The discoveries in the hit-run case made by The Canberra Times have prompted the family to start searching for legal representation.

They plan to make an application to have the original findings of the inquest - which deemed the death an accident - reconsidered.

That could pave the way for a fresh inquest on the cause of the teenager's death.

Valerie Tomkins, Troy's mother, has long believed that many people who know the offending driver have stayed silent.

The family believes the investigation was marred by error and incompetence.

They fear that the driver was either let off for offering up information on more serious crime, or someone attempted to cover up the death.

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