News Queensland Three decades on, slain Toowoomba teen’s family hope inquest will provide some answers

Three decades on, slain Toowoomba teen’s family hope inquest will provide some answers

A distraught Linda Mason, sister of slain Annette, leaves a 2017 hearing into the teen's brutal murder. Photo: AAP
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Annette Mason was just 15 years old when she was bludgeoned to death in her family’s Queensland home in November 1989.

She suffered massive head injuries after she was bashed across the face, possibly with a piece of wood.

But despite police investigations and a coronial inquiry, no one has ever been charged with her murder.

On Monday, 29 years after Annette’s body was found in the front bedroom of her Toowoomba house, the inquest into her death will be reopened. Coroner Terry Ryan will examine when, where and how she died.

Annette Mason was just 15 in 1989, when she was killed. Photo: ABC

He’ll also try to determine if anyone should be charged with Annette’s murder or manslaughter.

Shine Lawyers solicitor Leanne McDonald grew up in Toowoomba and is representing the family for free during the inquest.

Ms McDonald said Annette’s murder had a big impact on the local community.

“Toowoomba was tarnished and the murderer was out there walking the streets,” she said in a statement.

“What hurts the most for the Mason family is that 29 years later that person who robbed Annette of her life is still free. Justice hasn’t been served.”

Ms McDonald said they were determined to ensure someone was charged this time around.

“Annette was last seen at 3.30am catching a taxi after a night out with friends,” she said.

“We are confident that there are people out there who know more and the Mason family deserves to hear that truth.”

Twenty five witnesses gave evidence during the initial inquest but the coroner of the time found there was insufficient evidence to establish the identity of Annette’s killer.

It was closed subject to “reopening at any stage should further evidence become available”.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath instructed the coroner to reopen the inquest in 2016.

Ms D’Ath said it was “in the interests of justice” the circumstances surrounding Annette’s death be re-examined.

“I met with the Mason family in relation to this case earlier this year, and since that time my department has been in regular contact with them,” she said at the time.

The inquest is expected to run for three weeks from Monday.