PD Martin's Blog

April 27, 2010

Justice for Elisabeth Membrey?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — PD Martin @ 9:41 am

I haven’t blogged for a while, but I felt compelled to send out something this week. As a crime writer I write whodunits…and not knowing whodunit in real-life cases is the worst imaginable outcome. As most of the Aussies would have heard, after fifteen years someone has finally been arrested and charged with the murder of Elisabeth Membrey.

The news of the arrest is important to me for many reasons. First off, one of the personality traits I share with my leading lady, Sophie, is a sense of justice – the need for justice. A young woman was murdered, and there were no answers. While many people were questioned and I’m sure suspected, no one was charged. The case was unsolved…a mystery.

And like most people who’ve followed the case and seen Elisabeth’s parents as they’ve waited and waited for their daughter’s killer to be brought to justice, I feel relief for them. I can’t imagine what the past fifteen years have been like for them, knowing their daughter’s killer was out there, unknown and unpunished. And worse still, her body has never been found.

I also have a personal interest in this case. Elisabeth disappeared in 1994 – however blood in her unit and her car indicated murder. I remember my mum calling and saying: “You remember that girl you used to dance with? Elisabeth Membrey? Well she’s been murdered.” And while I won’t pretend Elisabeth and I were close, we took dance classes together for about five years and while we never socialized outside the classes, we got along well and used to chat about all things dance. During these limited insights into Elisabeth, I was struck by what a quiet and gentle person she was. And somehow that made the news of her murder all the more shocking.

 The accused claims innocence – and while most convicted criminals cry “I’m innocent”, some really are. Hopefully in this case the police have arrested the man who brought Elisabeth’s life to a screaming halt with such violence. Time, and the trial, will tell. I’m sure after all these years the police must have a strong case against the accused because the spotlight is certainly on the murder of Elisabeth Membrey once more.

Comments (4)


  1. Yes, I still remember the girl Eloise Worledge in Beaumaris (Vic) who was my age when she was abducted, she was never found, alive or dead. I cannot even begin to imagine how you move on from something like that? Your life would be on hold in a way, afraid to laugh in case someone thinks ‘you’re too happy’ or cry too much in case someone thinks, you’re faking or “get over it”.

    I lived in Moorabbin at the time, far enogh away to feel ‘safe’ but close enough to my home to feel afraid too.

    This young girl would be 44 this year (or close to)

    Love your children, and tell them you love them, you never know what is around the corner.

    Best wishes,

    Comment by Dianne — April 27, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  2. Thanks for writing. Recently a young boy disappeared from a family close to a co-worker of mine and I had first hand experience with the faces of parents who have lost a child. In his case all ended well – he was recovered safe and sound. But for those who mourn the Elisabeth Membreys and, as Dianne mentioned, Eloise Worledges it must be so difficult. Being from the US, where the stupid shenanigans of young pop stars get more press than anything else, I hadn’t heard of Elisabeth Membrey but I’m so glad they seem to have found a resolution for Elisabeth’s family.

    Comment by Jenny — April 27, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  3. I remember hearing about Elisabeth when she disapeared it was in the newspaper and on the internet, my heart goes out to her family. I hope they can get the closure they need and hope this is in fact the person responsible for their daughters murder. My prayers go out to them.

    Comment by Lynn — April 27, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

  4. I was glad to hear about this too. Every year I go to a crime night in about October that raises funds for the Blue Ribbon Foundation. Detectives talk about high-profile cases and how they were investigated and/or solved. One of the cases they talked about last year was the Elisabeth Membrey case. Her parents were there and talked us through life since their daughter’s murder. After they left the lead detective on the case took us through the detail and, at the end, said they were about six months off an arrest.
    One night in March I was thinking about the case and it occurred to me that six months had passed. I wondered what was happening. The next morning I woke to the news that they had made an arrest.
    I only hope now that it sticks. Given they’d waited so long to make the arrest I imagine they felt they had enough evidence this time. I’m looking forward to a conviction and, hopefully, the recovery of her body.

    Comment by Matt — May 11, 2010 @ 5:57 am

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