– A convicted armed robber, who police believe was shot dead in April 2004, has been linked to the gangland murder of Graham The Munster Kinniburgh, who was gunned down four months earlier.
Terrence Leigh Blewitt, a former boxer and triathlete, has not been seen since he was spotted walking towards a blue Hyundai Excel sedan in Melton on April 12th.
Witnesses said they saw the same sort of vehicle leaving Belmont Avenue, Kew, moments after Kinniburgh was shot dead outside his home on December 13th, 2003. On Tuesday detectives from the Purana Anti-gangland Taskforce seized an identical Hyundai from a property at Alexandra.
And while the present owner is not connected with the inquiry, the previous registered owner was an associate of both Blewitt and murdered underworld drug boss Carl Williams.
The Purana investigation centres on the theory that Williams ordered the hit on Kinniburgh as part of his vendetta against all associates of the Moran crime family.
Police have received information that Blewitt was one of the hit team used to kill Kinniburgh. The head of Purana, Detective Inspector Stuart Bailey, said
Due to his association with Carl Williams, he was nominated as a person of interest in the Kinniburgh murder
Police on Tuesday announced a $100,000 reward for information in the Kinniburgh case. As part of the fresh investigation forensic scientists will check the seized Hyundai for repairs to hide bullet holes as police have been told that Blewitt was shot inside the car.
Inspector Bailey said police hoped the examination of the car would provide
on the Kinniburgh and Blewitt case.
They have been told the armed robber may have been accidentally shot or was murdered soon after he entered the car near the corner of Lachlan and Hume Streets in Melton at 2:20pm.
Blewitt was sentenced in 2000 to six years with a minimum of three for conspiracy to commit an armed robbery when he was arrested sitting off an Armaguard van in Burwood.
He was released shortly before the Kinniburgh murder. In February 2004 he was arrested again for armed robbery after a hold-up of a cash handler making a night deposit at a Mornington bank.
In 1996, Blewitt was shot in the back by a prison guard after he escaped while being taken to a Sydney hospital for treatment.
Williams always denied any connection to the Kinniburgh murder.
I’ve never met him and I’ve never heard a bad thing said about him. I have nothing to profit from his death. It’s a mystery to me.
My conscience is clear,
he told this reporter less than 48 hours after the killing.
Williams was bashed to death inside Barwon Prison in April 2010.
Kinniburgh was a semi-retired safe breaker but was still seen as a powerful underworld influence. He was a close friend of Melbourne identity Mick Gatto, who for some time blamed Williams’ associate Andrew Veniamin for the killing.
In March 2004, Gatto shot Veniamin dead inside a Carlton restaurant in what a jury accepted was a case of self-defence.
Purana is taking a
at 17 gangland murder investigations with a view to providing a brief on each case to the coroner. The car was “crucial” to locating the perpetrators of the crimes and was found through the investigation, Inspector Bailey said.
“We certainly believe that Terrence Blewitt has died and there are two possibilities. He has either been murdered or died as a result of an accident and, we believe, whatever occurred occurred in that vehicle,” he said.
“If you know your gangland war history you will know there were some issues there at the time,” Inspector Bailey said, referring to the fact that Blewitt was linked to Williams’ family and Kinniburgh to the Moran crime family.
He was confident the car would provide fresh evidence, including possibly identifying those in the car at the time. “Forensic testing is pretty good these days. If someone has bled in that car, for example, we are pretty confident we can pick it up even 10 years on,” he said. He described the owner of the car at the time as unhelpful, not currently in jail, and a person of interest – John SilvesterAdvertisements