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Australian Story: Mar 6

Australian Story delves into the unsolved murder of Perth brothel owner Shirley Finn, killed in 1975, ahead of an expected coronial inquiry.

“I didn’t know this would become the most intriguing murder case in Western Australia’s history.” – Terry Willesee, journalist

When Shirley Finn’s body was found slumped in the front seat of her Dodge, with four bullet holes to the back of her head, there was no doubt it was a professional hit. But the question remains, who did it and why?

Rumours of police and political involvement in the June 1975 murder have swirled around the case from the outset, some believing that Shirley Finn was silenced after threatening to reveal the secrets of powerful figures in Western Australia.

In Monday night’s episode of Australian Story, we hear for the first time from Jacqueline, an acquaintance of Shirley Finn, about the brothel madam’s fears and the reported threat made against her by a senior police officer just days before her death:

“…He told me to shut my mouth, watch what I said or ‘bang’.’’

Shirley Finn’s daughter Bridget Shewring was a schoolgirl at the time of the killing. She has been tormented by the failure to find her mother’s killer and fought tirelessly for an independent inquiry.

“There are people out there who know who murdered my mother. I’d like to see them brought to justice.” – Bridget Shewring, daughter

In 2004 her hopes of an inquiry were buoyed when she met journalist Juliet Wills, who had begun investigating her mother’s murder.

“The more I learned about Shirley Finn the more disturbed I became about the level of corruption in this story.” – Juliet Wills, journalist and author

A decade later, Juliet has interviewed dozens of people about the murder. She recently handed startling new evidence to authorities in a successful attempt to secure the coronial inquest Bridget so desperately wanted.

This program includes interviews with people who knew Shirley Finn, most of whom are speaking publicly for the first time in the hope of encouraging others to come forward to assist the upcoming inquiry.

The date of the coronial inquiry has yet to be set. It is expected to commence later this year.

8 pm Monday 6 March on ABC.

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