Colin Stanley WINCHESTER APM
Regd. # 157
Rank: Assistant Police Commissioner
Stations: ACT Police
Australian Federal Police ( AFP )
Service: From 19 March 1962 to 10 January 1989 = 27+ years Service
Awards: National Medal – granted 14 July 1977
Australian Police Medal ( APM ) – granted 26 January 1987
1st Clasp to National Medal – granted 8 June 1988
Born: 18 October 1933
Died on: 10 January 1989
Cause: Shot – Murdered
Buried at: ?
Australian Federal Assistant Commissioner shot dead.
Colin Stanley Winchester APM, (18 October 1933 – 10 January 1989) was an Assistant Commissioner in the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
He was a baker’s son who’d worked in the mines at Captain’s Flat and a good-humoured larrikin.
Friends and work colleagues described him as being of great strength, courage, integrity and love, who was tough, hard-working, honest and compassionate.
Colin Winchester had been a police officer for 27 years, first in the Australian Capital Territory Police Force and then in the AFP.
On 10 January 1989, the Canberra suburb was particularly quiet, drowsing in the still, warm, evening air, ACT Policing Chief Police Officer Colin Winchester drove to his Deakin home.
At 9.15pm, as he stepped from his car Assistant Commissioner Winchester was dead, shot twice in the head at point blank range with a Ruger 10/22 .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle fitted with a silencer.
Colin Winchester’s death made headlines around the world and sparked one of the most complex criminal investigations in Australian history. It ran for more than five years.
There were many allegations of mafia involvement and that the Assistant Commissioner had been executed by the Mafia when it was revealed he’d been part of a controversial investigation targeting drug financiers and suppliers.
At a sting involved a marijuana plantation at Bungendore, a Mafia informant who told his bosses that Colin Winchester was corrupt. It was said that the police chief was shot because Mafia bosses Winchester was cleared when an independent auditor found that with no unexplained wealth to his name, it was unlikely that Colin Winchester had been on the take.
David Harold Eastman was convicted of Winchester’s murder on November 11, 1995, after a four year surveillance investigation.
Justice Ken Carruthers during his sentencing remarks said “the scientific aspect of the case resulted in
“one of the most skilled, sophisticated and determined forensic investigations in the history of Australia”.
Justice Carruthers sentenced Eastman to life imprisonment.
Winchester was Australia’s most senior police officer to have been killed.
COLIN Winchester, a former miner then 29, joined the ACT police force in 1962. Some of the ACT police were said to act like country cousins of Sydney police, and rather looked up to some of the more flashy, if dubious, detectives therein. It has been asserted that Winchester was corrupt, at least at any earlier period when he is said to have handled bribes relating to a Canberra illegal casino. However, an audit of his financial affairs after his murder revealed nothing untoward.
The ACT Police and Commonwealth Police were merged in 1979 to form the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Channel 10 reporter Christopher Masters says that factional infighting deriving from the original divisions remain, and have impeded the Winchester investigation.