Minister for Police Tony Kelly today announced a $100,000 reward for information.
leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involved in the lighting of the 2002 Abernethy bushfire and subsequent death of Mr Ronald Gillett.
Mr Kelly said that police and two coronial inquests have found that the fire near Cessnock had been deliberately lit, leading to the death of Mr Gillett.
"We are offering this reward today to encourage any member of the public to come forward with any information relating to the fire," Mr Kelly said.
"Despite an exhaustive investigation by police as part of Strike Force Tronto, no one is yet to be charged over the lighting of the fire or the death of Mr Gillett.
"Mr Gillett's family deserve to know what happened to their loved one and I hope the community will do what it can to assist police with their inquiries."
Mr Kelly said that after two coronial inquests into the fire had found no new evidence, the Deputy Coroner did recommend that the reward be issued.
"This fire not only took the life of Mr Gillett, but caused a great deal of damage to local property, including the destruction of 12 homes," Mr Kelly said.
"There has been a great deal of interest from members of the local community to find some answers about the circumstances surrounding the fire."
Mr Kelly said that Mr Gillett, who lived in Sydney was killed when his car was engulfed by flames on Kearsley Road, Abernethy.
"Investigators hope that this significant reward will encourage the community to come forward with information.
"I encourage anyone with information to contact police, regardless of how insignificant the details may seem."
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Do you have information that can help police with this case?
Any information you have about this is worth giving to police, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
You can provide information to police via any of the methods below:
- Call Crime Stoppers any time on 1800 333 000
- Report information to Crime Stoppers any time via this site's secure online form
- Visit or call your local Police Station
Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Your help may give police the clue they need to close this case and provide some comfort for the families of victims.
How to claim your reward
- Contact Crime Stoppers or your local Police Station.
- Identify yourself and indicate you have information about a crime and that you wish to claim a reward.
- You will then be put in contact with a police officer involved in the investigation of that case.