Colin Winchester murder unsolved 30 years on
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Colin Winchester murder unsolved 30 years on

"A giant among men - he will live forever in our hearts" is engraved on Colin Winchester's headstone.

Thursday marks 30 years since the Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner was fatally shot outside his Canberra home.

He remains the most senior police officer to be murdered in Australia.

The 55-year-old had just parked in his neighbour's driveway - he did so to make her feel safer - when he was shot twice in the head about 9.30pm on January 10, 1989.

Mr Winchester's cousin Paul Bryant was born that year and is saddened he never got to meet his relative.

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"He was a good, honest man," he said.

Memorials for the police boss are peppered around the nation's capital.

One adorns a church window and there's a street named after him, as is the Winchester Police Centre.

The front page of The Canberra Times for January 11, 1989.

The front page of The Canberra Times for January 11, 1989. Credit:Fairfax Media

The day after the murder, Mr Winchester's friend and colleague Lloyd Worthy addressed reporters in Canberra.

"The assistant commissioner was off duty and it appears his murderers or murderer lay in wait and ambushed the officer as he alighted from his car," he said.

"There were two shots from a .22 calibre weapon, both to the head. The first shot would be fatal and the second shot an extra bullet."

Colin Winchester.

Colin Winchester.

Two days later a battery of police led the procession from Mr Winchester's funeral in Manuka towards Queanbeyan on Canberra's outskirts, with a guard of honour surrounding his family at the cemetery.

His family felt the satisfaction of justice for close to 20 years after former Treasury official David Eastman was found guilty of the murder in 1995.

"Colin can rest in peace knowing that the creaking wheels of justice will incarcerate his assassin," his widow Gwen said outside court.

But Mr Eastman spent his years in jail applying for appeals and reviews, eventually being released in 2014 over concerns with evidence used in the trial.

About six months later Gwen died from leukaemia and was laid to rest at the same cemetery as her husband.

Mr Winchester's memory has been clouded by the pursuit of finding his killer, with a jury last year finding Mr Eastman not guilty after his retrial.

The verdict elicited an audible gasp from the packed courtroom.

A spokesman for the family described it as "another day of mourning" for the AFP.

The AFP and its ACT policing unit will continue to support the Winchester family, they said in a joint statement after the verdict.

Questions remain over who is responsible for the murder, with the police investigation including a theory of mafia involvement.

Mr Eastman has begun his bid for compensation over wrongfully spending 19 years in jail for the murder, with a hearing slated at the ACT Supreme Court later this month.

AAP

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