News State Victoria News Police offer $1 million reward in cold case murder investigation of Ballarat grandmother

Police offer $1 million reward in cold case murder investigation of Ballarat grandmother

Ballarat grandmother Kathleen Severino was bashed to death in 1987. Photo: Victoria Police
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The last time Kathleen Severino was seen alive, she was standing outside her Ballarat home preparing to welcome the new year.

Police believe that less than four hours later, the 70-year-old grandmother was brutally bashed and left for dead in her bedroom.

Her house was ransacked but nothing was taken, and her devastated family was left to make the chilling discovery the next morning.

More than 30 years on, the murder remains a mystery and Victoria Police is ramping-up its investigation into the cold-case murder.

Million-dollar reward offered

Victoria Police homicide officers hope a $1 million reward will help solve the chilling crime.

Investigators believe Ms Severino was murdered sometime between 10:30pm and 11:30pm on December 31, 1987.

Around that time, a witness reported seeing a male and female near Ms Severino’s Drummond Street home.

A 19-year-old man was charged with murder in July 1990, but the case was dropped after a witness revoked their evidence.

Police believe it’s possible those responsible for the murder may yet be identified.

“We know people who commit or are part of horrific crimes such as these will often disclose their actions to someone,” detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said.

“For that reason, detectives are putting a $1 million reward on the table for information that allows us to identify, arrest and convict those responsible for the murder of Kathleen Severino.”

Not too late for family to get justice, say police

The man previously charged died of a medical incident in 2017.

Homicide detectives said that man and one of his former associates remain persons of interest in the investigation.

“While 34 years have passed since Kathleen’s murder, that doesn’t mean it’s too late for her family to get the justice they deserve,” Inspector Stamper said.

The cold case has been re-opened without success several times in the 34 years since Ms Severino’s death.

“Police will not stop until we get closure for Kathleen’s family, which can only be achieved by holding the individual or persons responsible for the brutal death of a much-loved grandmother to account,” Inspector Stamper said.

“Despite the decades that have passed, there is every reason to believe someone out there today knows what happened to Kathleen and who is responsible.”