Cheryl Grimmer's Murderer Has 'Gotten Away With It Twice'
The brothers of Cheryl Grimmer have criticised a judge’s decision to let a toddler's murderer walk free, 48 years after he confessed to the crime.
The three-year-old girl vanished from a shower block in Fairy Meadow, NSW in January 1970.
Her body was never found.
A man, who was 15 at the time of her disappearance and cannot be identified, was charged with her murder in 2017 when detectives re-opened the case and found a transcript of the boy’s admission to her abduction and murder.
The Melbourne man, now 65, was due to face trial in late May -- but the trial was cancelled and all his charges sensationally dropped, after a pre-trial judgement ruled the police interview inadmissible.
This decision was based on there being no adult present during the police interview, even though there was no requirement at the time, nor police protocol to do so until the 1980s.
Her brothers -- Ricki, Stephen and Paul -- have spoken exclusively to 10 News First about the 'flawed' ruling and finding justice for Cheryl.
“(He’s) gotten away with murder twice…first he walks in a confesses and they don’t charge him, now he hides under a technicality,” Ricki Grimmer said.
“We strongly believe that this ruling is flawed and we ask that it is reviewed and overturned.
“In the interest of justice to Cheryl and others, we ask that the Judge's decision is overturned, so that all of the evidence, in this case, can be considered by a jury."
Police have told the family they are in the process of submitting an appeal to the DPP, and that they will be meeting in the near future to discuss their legal options.
"The NSW Police Force is continuing to consider the court's decision and is exploring its legal options," a police spokesperson said.
The family also has a number of concerns about how Cheryl's case has been handled over the last five decades.
“Why was the family not informed 48 years ago that there was a person of interest who had confessed to Cheryl's murder? Until he was charged, we still held out hope that she was alive and would one day knock our door,” Ricki said.
“Secondly, why did it take nearly five decades for charges to be pressed?
“We would like to see an independent inquiry into the handling of the case.”
The brothers have said if they need to pursue legal action 'get the answers we need' then they will, even if it costs them 'everything we got'.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said he is 'keenly aware' the recent decision came as a 'further blow' to the family.
"I am informed the ODPP will be meeting with the NSW Police Force about this matter," he said.
"I have asked the Director of Public Prosecutions for information about the decision not to appeal from the judgment of the Supreme Court".
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions NSW declined to comment.
Cheryl was the Grimmer's only daughter. She had been at the beach with her mother and brothers the day of her disappearance.
"I was pleading with my mother to take us to the beach that day...I wish I hadn't," Ricki said.
At the time her disappearance sparked a massive police operation, with police interviewing hundreds of witnesses.
Cheryl disappeared after heading to the shower block with her brothers. She did not return, and her mother went looking.
It had been a hot day when a change in the weather led to the Grimmers packing up to leave.
Ricki was the last to see Cheryl before she disappeared, and has lived with that pain.
"I have never forgiven myself for not sending him [Paul] or my other brother Stephen to get my mum and I should have stayed watching her-- I can still see her face in the doorway," he said.
There had been multiple reports at the time from witnesses who said they had seen a man leave the beach with a child wrapped in a white blanket.
Both her parents have since passed away, not knowing what happened to their daughter.
In 2011 a coronial inquest into the little girl's disappearance found Cheryl had died sometime after she went missing, from an unknown cause.
Her family has set up a Facebook group called Justice for Cheryl to continue to fight to find answers to what happened to the little girl who went missing on that fateful day.