Michelle Buckingham disappeared while walking to a Shepparton caravan park. Photo: Supplied
The detective who led the investigation into the 1983 murder of Michelle Buckingham died this week, just months after a man fronted court charged with killing the teenager.
Albert Fry, known to his family, friends and colleagues as Jim, died on Monday, Melbourne Magistrates Court was told on Thursday, as Steven James Bradley appeared before the court charged with killing Michelle in Shepparton on October 21, 1983.
Prosecutor Michael Thackaberry said Mr Fry, a long-retired detective senior sergeant who worked in the homicide squad, was to have given evidence at Mr Bradley’s committal hearing in November.
Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge granted the prosecution permission to call two former senior detectives, who worked alongside Mr Fry, to give evidence.
Michelle, 16, disappeared while walking to a Shepparton caravan park, where she was staying with a friend.
Her body was found half concealed in a roadside drain in long grass on Violet Town Road, Kialla East, on November 7, 1983. She had been stabbed 19 times.
Mr Bradley, 52, a former Shepparton resident, was charged with Michelle’s murder in March. Police allege he killed the teenager on the day she went missing.
Mr Bradley was arrested in his home city of Brisbane and extradited to Victoria.
The court was told on Thursday that 11 witnesses would give evidence at the committal hearing, which is to be held at Shepparton Magistrates Court from November 19.
Mr Bradley appeared via a video link from Melbourne Remand Centre and was remanded in custody.
Detectives reopened the investigation into Michelle’s murder more than one year ago and chased 30 new leads.
Another man from the Shepparton area was previously charged with the teenager’s murder but has been cleared of any involvement in the new investigation.