Peter Justin FORSYTH
( late of Ultimo )
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ?
Goulburn Police Academy Class 260
Stations: Campsie, Leichhardt
Service: From ? ? 1994 to 28 February 1998 = ? years Service
Awards: Regional Commander’s citation in 1996, while still on probation, for his role in arresting an armed offender
Born: 16 May 1969 in Goondiwindi, Queensland
Died on: 28 February 1998 @ 12.14am
Cause: Murdered – Stabbed
Event location: Ultimo
Funeral date: Thursday 5 March 1998
Funeral location: St Mary’s Cathedral, St Marys’ Rd, Sydney CBD
Buried at: Toowoomba, Qld on Monday 9 March 1998
GPS 27*34’29″S / 151*55’12″E
Interment # RCLAW5-008-0017
Memorials: 1/ There is an Auditorium in Glebe, NSW, named in honour of Peter.
2/ William Henry Street Ultimo NSW, Near junction of William Henry and Harris Streets.
Round blue ceramic plaque approximately 40cm in diameter with gold lettering and mounted on a wall.
As you pass by, remember
William Henry Street will never be the same.
Constable Peter Forsyth
died whilst serving the community
he lived in, doing the job he loved.
15 May, 1969 – 27 February, 1998
About 11.25pm on 27 February, 1998 Constable Forsyth was walking to his home in Ultimo with Constables Jason Semple and Neville when they were approached by a young male selling Ecstacy tablets (an illegal drug), which was later found to be a simple Panadol tablet. After speaking with this person and a second offender, Constable Semple informed them that they were police officers and attempted to make an arrest. One of the offenders, Murray Walter HEARN, then produced a knife and stabbed Constable Forsyth and Constable Jason SEMPLE before running off. They were pursued for a short distance by Constable Neville before he quickly returned to assist his injured colleagues. The injured police were soon conveyed to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, however Constable Forsyth unfortunately died of his wounds at 12.14am. Constable Jason Semple underwent surgery and later recovered.
The constable was born in 1969 and joined the New South Wales Police Force in 1995. At the time of his death he was stationed at Leichhardt.
Freed after killing a cop, Murray Hearne married his jail psychologist
Murder Uncovered: Officers down
HE KILLED a cop, left another one critically injured, and now is free and married to the prison psychologist he started an affair with in jail.
Murray Hearne, the man who stabbed unarmed and off-duty police officer Peter Forsyth is on parole, and free to rejoice in the birth of his son with prison mates on Facebook.
Details of Hearne’s post-prison life are detailed tonight in Channel Seven’s true crime show Murder Uncovered.
The show finds Hearne, released from jail in March 2014 after 16 years behind bars, to Wagga Wagga where he lives with his wife, Bobbie Bergmeier, and their son.
The show reveals the pair met when she was an intern and he was an inmate, in Junee prison.
And while Hearne refuses to talk to Murder Uncovered about his life now, he has no such qualms on Facebook, where among those congratulating him on the birth of his son is another convicted killer: axe murderer Keith Schreiber — who spent more than a decade in jail for killing Jack Van Krevel at the request of his former lover.
“A new life added to this world,” Hearne posted on Facebook when baby Micha was born.
Peter’s daughter, Brodie — cheated of her own father thanks to Hearne — struggles with the news.
“I’d tell him (Hearne) every day when he looks at his child and thinks about all the love he has for his child, he can think about us (she and her brother Mitchell),” Brodie says.
“Think about my dad and think about how he (Hearne) has taken all that away … the school assemblies, the sports award … everything.
“He gets to have that and we don’t. It’s selfish.
“I want him to take care of that child and keep it in the back of his mind that he gets to go through that. We had to do that without our Dad.”
“IT HURTS IN MY CHEST”
For those that loved Constable Peter Forsyth, the pain is ever-present.
It lurks there, just beneath the surface, still raw, bubbling over when memory stirs it.
It’s the pain of a husband, father and mate snatched away while his killer walks free.
It’s almost two decades since Peter and his colleagues, Jason Semple and Brian Neville, went for few quiet Friday night beers, and Peter never came home.
The trio was unarmed, and off-duty when offered of a drug deal by a group of teenagers.
When they tried to arrest Murray Hearne, Peter wound up dead, Jason critically injured, and Hearne went on the run.
Jason rarely speaks of the night his mate tried to save him and wound up collapsed on top of him, stabbed, never to see his beloved wife Jackie and children Mitchell and Brodie again.
All speak at length of the night Murray Hearne turned cop killer, and of the painful nights ever since, on Channel Seven’s Murder Uncovered tonight.
“You can’t plan for this …. I miss him”, says Peter’s widow, Jackie Reimer, wiping tears as she relives that night.
Watching back old videos of Peter with their children gives her a “physical pain. It hurts in my chest. It’s a real pain, it’s not just a feeling.”
Peter’s daughter, Brodie now 20, acutely feels the absence of a man she loves, but never knew.
“I feel like I know so much about Mum. I can tell when I walk in if she’s had a good day or a bad day, she doesn’t need to tell me,” Brodie says.
“And then I don’t know one thing about Dad.
“I don’t know how he carries himself. I don’t know his sense of humour. I don’t know … just the little things you should know about your dad. I don’t know those.”
Jason Semple is a mountain of a man — of a size that if he told you to get stuffed, you’d probably start making arrangements.
A man not easily given to tears. A man, who, when Hearne stabbed him, didn’t feel the knife. “It felt like a soft punch,” he says.
But on February 28, 1998, he was the new kid on the block — “the full rookie” invited by Peter with another officer, Brian Neville, for a few post-work ‘welcome drinks’ in Sydney’s inner-city Ultimo, not far from where Peter lived.
“It wasn’t meant to be a last catch-up,” says Brian, fighting tears..
The trio had finished at the pub and were walking along Harris Street when a young male in a group of four yelled “do you want some E’s?” (the drug, Ecstasy).
Suddenly, three off-duty cops were on duty.
Realising Murray Hearne was the one with the product, called him over to them asking to see the drugs. Then they grabbed him and walked him down the road, to search him.
When Hearne rose out of a crouch, the night took a fatal turn.
“I felt a couple of blows … first to my chest and stomach … but I thought I was getting punched,” Jason remembers.
“It felt like weak punches … like ‘is that all you’ve got?’.”
Hearne made a break and bolted. Jason felt like he was ‘leaking’, lifted his shorts, and realised he’d been stabbed.
As Brian went in pursuit of Hearne, Jason watched blood spray from his stomach.
Peter came to his aid, laid him in the gutter, started shouting for help.
‘NOBODY KNEW HE’D BEEN STABBED’
“Peter was calm, he was single-minded on getting me help. … Pete was so normal, nothing to indicate he’d been injured,” says Jason.
“Nobody knew he’d been stabbed. Least of all him.”
Until Peter collapsed onto Jason’s chest.
“Pete’s talking to me, then next thing he’s basically laying on top of me … it was like he’d just fainted on top of me … I remember looking down watching the blood, thinking ‘what’s wrong with Peter?’,” says Jason.
The tears come.
“And the last thing he ever says to anyone on earth is ‘she’ll be right mate’.”
Peter was stabbed twice in the heart. Jason was taken to hospital and surgery.
Peter was pronounced dead not long after midnight.
And Hearne was on the run.
Initially, police had no idea who the cop killer was that they were hunting for.
But Hearne couldn’t resist bragging to friends. Within 24 hours they had a name, and two properties under surveillance. Now they needed evidence, or a confession. Preferably both.
By Monday, they’d spotted him, and had his phone intercepted, and had to endure listening to him watch a news report about the injured Jason.
As he watched, Hearne told someone he was on the phone to: “that’s the big c*** … that’s him … I dropped him on his arse”.
When the story of the hunt appeared that night on the TV show Australia’s Most Wanted, the crack came.
His own stepfather contacts police: “I’m nervous. because it’s one of my kids that did it,” he said. “His name is Murray Hearne”.
Arresting officers tell Murder Uncovered Hearne cried when he was caught. And he wet himself.
Meanwhile, those that loved Peter, buried him.
Jason was told he was too sick to attend. He went anyway, ditching the wheelchair and walking into the service.
Jackie tried to keep it together for the children.
“My time for me was late in the middle of the night, when nobody else was around,” she says.
“I had to hold it together and pretend that I was strong (for the kids), but I was only pretending. I wasn’t strong,” she says.
FACE TO FACE WITH A KILLER
Jackie wanted answers, and hoped Hearne’s trial would give them.
Until he changed his plea the morning it was to start, pleading guilty to the murder of Peter Forsyth, and to a lesser charge for stabbing Jason.
“I was shocked and disappointed all over again,” she says. “I was ‘you’re not going to say anything … you’re not going to tell me anything. I’ve got nothing again now. Nothing.”
Hearne was sentenced to 27 years jail. It was reduced on appeal.
Another blow to those grieving Peter.
From jail Hearne asked to see Jason. Jason told him “to stick it”.
But eventually, Jackie looked her husband’s killer in the eye.
“I thought ‘this is going to be my only opportunity to get some answers’,” she says.
“He was very nervous … hyperventilating. Shaking. Sweating,” she says.
“I looked at the person he was now, years later. He was not some thought kid any more.”
He was looking for forgiveness, but he didn’t get it.
“I think so, that’s his problem. Not mine,” she says.
Peter Forsyth’s son, Mitchell is now 22.
Asked what he’d say to his father’s killer if he got the chance, Mitchell’s voice drips with contempt.
“What would I say to him? Nothing. I wouldn’t give him a second of my life.”
Murder Uncovered airs at 9pm tonight on Channel 7
Cop killer living in Wagga with former Junee jail psychologist and their son | Photos, timeline
A COP KILLER who served 16 years jail for the murder of a Sydney police officer is living in Wagga with his former Junee prison psychologist wife and their infant boy.
Convicted murderer Murray Hearne, now 37, was the focus of a Channel Seven investigation on Wednesday night exploring his brutal murder of Constable Peter Forsyth.
It has now been revealed Hearne works locally as a cabinet maker and is on parole.
The then-18-year-old fatally stabbed Peter Forsyth and seriously wounded fellow officer Jason Semple after approaching the off-duty policemen and offering them drugs.
Constable Forsyth, a father-of-two, and rookie Mr Semple were unarmed when they left drinks at an Ultimo hotel in inner-Sydney.
They detained him and tried to check Hearne’s ID, when the 18-year-old pulled out a knife.
He fatally stabbed Constable Forsyth twice in the heart, and his colleague Jason Semple twice in the stomach.
While the murderer is enjoying his new life as a dad, the widow of the slain policeman has told of her anger towards her late husband’s killer.
“You don’t think this is going to happen in your life. You can’t plan for this,” Constable Forsyth’s widow, Jackie Reimer said.
“It hurts in my chest. It’s a real pain. It’s not just a feeling.”
She shared details of the harrowing moment she came face to face with Hearne.
“He was hyperventilating and shaking and sweating,” she said.
“He was really very nervous.
“I looked at him as the person that he was now all these years later. He was not some tough kid anymore.
“He told me where he threw the knife, in a garbage bin.”
In June 1999, Hearne was sentenced to 27 years’ jail for killing Constable Forsyth and seriously wounding Jason Semple.
However, he was released from prison eleven years early.
In his time at Junee Correctional Centre, Hearne met a young psychologist, Bobbie Bergmeier.
Four years before he was released, the convicted killer and the psychology intern began a relationship.
In 2014, the year of Hearne’s release, Bergmeier was disbarred as a psychologist.
In a rare interview with Channel Seven’s Murder Uncovered crew, officer Jason Semple has told of what the policemen went through that night, before Constable Forsyth’s murder.
“I rarely speak openly about things, but it’s important to share my story,” he said.
“I don’t want people to forget my mate and colleague, Peter Forsyth, and what we went through that night and what he did for me.
“It’s also for the thin blue line that we’re a part of.
“So much has happened since then, but I’ll never forget his sacrifice.”
Detective Inspector Wayne G. Hayes was OIC of the investigation.
On the 2/3/98 the step father of Hearne phones Triple zero and names Murray Walter Edward Hearne as the offender.
On the 3/3/98 HEARNE was interviewed by Detective Inspector Wayne Hayes whereby Hearne refused to answer any questions and was then charged with the Murder of Peter Forsyth and Attempt Murder of Jason SEMPLE.
22 April 1999 Murray Walter Edward HEARNE appears in Court for a Plea of Not Guilty but ultimately pleaded Guilty, on that date, to the Murder of Peter Forsyth but the lesser charge of Malicious Wounding Jason Semple.
On 4 June 1999 HEARNE was Sentence to 27 years gaol which was later reduced on Appeal.
Hearne asked to meet SEMPLE whilst serving his sentence at Junee Gaol. SEMPLE declined. Hearne also wanted to meet Jacqui Forsyth. She met him in Gaol a few years before his release. She sat face to face with HEARNE who was shaking, sweating and very nervous.
He told her that he threw the knife into a garbage bin.
HEARNE met his Prison Psychologist, Bobbie Maree Burgmeier, 4 years before his release from gaol. She is now his wife. He married the young female Psychologist who was helping him in the Goal. She was eventually ‘struck off’ for having a sexual relationship with the murderer and falsifying records.
Hearne only served 16 years of his 27 year Gaol sentence before he was released on Parole in March 2014.
Now ( 2017 ) lives in Wagga Wagga with his wife and baby and he is employed as a cabinet maker.
Murray Hearne is on FB and is a Friend of Keith Schreiber – axe murdered.
Hearne has a full tattoo sleeve down left arm and tatts on his right leg. Is of a solid build.
Jason Semple eventually left NSWPF after a good career and is now retired with PTSD.
Prison psychologist struck off for sexual relationship with murderer
A young female psychologist has been struck off for having a sexual relationship with a convicted murderer she was treating in jail and falsifying official records to cover it up.
Bobbie Maree Bergmeier met the inmate – known for legal reasons as Client A – when she began working as an intern psychologist at the Junee Correctional Centre in April 2010.
Client A was serving a 21-year-sentence for murder and malicious wounding and had been in jail since he was 18.
Ms Bergmeier and Client A met monthly as part of her work with prisoners managed by the serious offenders review council (SORC). Around April 2011 Ms Bergmeier and Client A began having intimate telephone conversations which became sexualised.
The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) alleged Ms Bergmeier told Client A she “loved him and couldn’t wait to be with him”, “she missed him and never had a best friend like him”, “that he was sexy and she wanted him forever”, “she was having a house built for both of them” and “she wanted to start a family with him”.
On Wednesday, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Ms Bergmeier used “forethought, planning and subterfuge” to conceal the relationship from her colleagues and supervisors and “flaunted the security system for the purpose of her own personal gratification”.
She used a colleague’s password to enter false information into Client A’s case notes and altered the SORC allocation list to falsely show another psychologist as Client A’s treating practitioner.
She also used the false name Briony Watts to take around 300 Skype calls from him during the time she worked at the prison.
She resigned from the job in August 2011 but continued to stay in contact with him, visiting him at Mannus Correctional Centre, having close, personal relationships with his family and friends, and applying to be his sponsor for weekend and day leave.
She continues to be in a relationship with Client A, who was paroled in March this year and lives with Ms Bergmeier’s mother. She is working as a behaviour support practitioner at the Mercy Centre and is studying to be a primary school teacher.
The tribunal reprimanded Ms Bergmeier in the strongest possible terms, cancelled her registration as a psychologist and banned her from providing health services in both the public and private sectors.
Although Client A was serving time for murder, he had been in jail all of his adult life and was “needy and dependent and psychologically vulnerable”, the tribunal heard.
In addition to being a “serious violation of professional boundaries”, Ms Bergmeier had been “unmindful or insensitive to the consequences of her actions for Client A”, who had had no opportunity to develop relationships outside prison.
Ms Bergmeier said she accepts responsibility for her actions and acknowledges her wrongdoing.
However, the HCCC told the tribunal her decision to maintain her relationship with Client A despite the ramifications for her professional career “indicates an ongoing decision to prioritise her personal relationship over her professional obligations”.
Ms Bergmeier graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a bachelor of psychology in 2008. She became a registered psychologist in April 2011, around the time she says the relationship with Client A became personal.
Constable Peter Forsyth memorial
Plaque commemorates Constable Peter Forsyth who was killed in the line of duty.
Constable Forsyth was stabbed in Ultimo by a man he was trying to arrest for drug dealing. Murray Walter Hearne was jailed for 27 years for the murder of Constable Forsyth and the stabbing of Constable Jason Semple. But the sentence, imposed by Supreme Court Justice James Wood, was reduced by a third in 2001 on appeal.
|Address:||William Henry Street , Ultimo, 2007|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -33.877996
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
PCYC Glebe / Leichhardt FB page
NATIONAL POLICE REMEMBRANCE DAY 29th SEPTEMBER 2013
DEDICATION to GLEBE POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.
Constable Peter FORSYTH was an officer that was stationed at GLEBE POLICE STATION. He was well known in the area for his passion for working with youth in the housing estate area of Glebe.
The auditorium at Broadway is dedicated to his efforts in working in and living around the Glebe area. The auditorium is referred to as the PFA ( Peter FORSYTH Auditorium ).
Constable Peter FORSYTH was stabbed in the chest while arresting a drug dealer in inner-city Ultimo on February 28, 1998.
29 August 2013
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Post by Cameron P
NSW Police Constable Peter Forsyth, tragically murdered when confronting a drug dealer whilst off duty in 1998. Pete was a Qld boy whom I had the pleasure of knowing and working Security with at Broadbeach Qld before he joined the Police. He was an absolute champion bloke, great husband, father and mate to all of us lucky enough to know him, he always bought a smile to our faces and knew how to lighten up any situation. The depth of his courage and sense of doing the right thing by people knew no bounds. Gone but never forgotten, R.I.P Pete.
Post by Nifty N
I will never forget Pete Forsyth‘s contagious laugh! The cheeky work antics and his dedication as a father of two beautiful children which he adored and his dedication to duty and his community!! The night he died will haunt me forever with memories I can’t erase, but the times we worked together and socialised will forever be memories I cherish! I am glad that those great memories of some 13 and more years ago still seem like they were yesterday!! I think of you often mate!!!
Craigaroo Elliott Sitting on the side of an interstate highway running laser with a tear in my eye. Pete the Queenslander was one of the funniest, easy-going blokes I ever met. Shared a floor with him at the academy, had a beer or two with him off-duty.
I’m proud to call my mate and will always honor his memory.
Sheryl Lee Mole ALWAYS a LITTLE BIT MORE THAN JUST PETE. Just a little bit more interest in other folks welfare, Just a little greater showing that he really did care. Just a little more kindness to those he meet each day And a little greater effort to aid them on their way. Just a little more determined to do the best he could. To help some other fellow and prove a friend who would. Just a little bit more sunshine along life wary road. And a little bit more ready to ease another’s load. Just to work a little harder for other people’s good. And to show a bit more friendship MY FRIEND PETE could. !!!! I miss you each and every day .
Kylie McNulty Beautiful Person . Thinking of you every at this every year.
Constable Peter Forsyth
28 Feb 1998
Const Peter Forsyth was stabbed whilst affecting an arrest ( posthumously awarded the Commissioner’s Valour Award ).
This photo recalls that tragic event.
The monument reads,
“As you pass by, remember William Henry Street will never be the same. Constable Peter Forsyth died whilst serving the community he lived in, doing the job he loved. 15 May, 1969 – 27 February, 1998”
“Constable Forsyth was stabbed in Ultimo by a man he was trying to arrest for drug dealing. Murray Walter Hearne was jailed for 27 years for the murder of Constable Forsyth and the stabbing of Constable Jason Semple. But the sentence, imposed by Supreme Court Justice James Wood, was reduced by a third in 2001 on appeal.”
‘He will be missed by all. My mate, our mate, is gone.’
Minutes before, Mitchell had been waving to mourners lining Glebe Point and St John’s roads while they tossed proteas, daisies and gladioli onto the roof of the hearse. The crowd, struggling for some way to mark its appreciation of the 28-year-old officer, broke into applause.
Then the three-year-old was handed the memento of his dad by a funeral assistant who reached into the car and tousled his hair.
His mother, Jackie, clutched him under one arm, and 15-month-old Brodie Rose under the other, as they caught a moment alone to remember the husband and father killed a week ago in a senseless stabbing at Ultimo, and the extraordinary public mourning his death roused.
There were many in tears, or fighting them back, among the NSW and Queensland police honour guard flanking the Forsyths. Locals wept openly beside them. Relatives in cars behind clutched their mouths with grief.
Constable Peter Justin Forsyth was farewelled by family, colleagues, friends and dignitaries yesterday in a funeral service with full police honours at St Mary’s Cathedral. It was attended by 2,600 inside and 500 outside.
In their ranks was Probationary Constable Jason Semple, 25, stabbed in the stomach during Friday’s fatal assault, who arrived in a wheelchair but walked with help up the cathedral steps.
Constable Brian Neville, who escaped injury and chased the youths allegedly responsible for the attack outside the Ultimo Community Centre, acted as a pallbearer for his dead mate.
More than 1,500 police officers attended from across the country and New Zealand. So, too, did the paramedics who attended to him.
His colleague, Constable Shane Forsyth (no relation), told mourners: “Memories of Pete will live forever. I only wish that I had known him for a longer time. A lot was fitted into a life that was so short.”
And to the Forsyth children: “Mitchell and Brodie, you will always know your Big Bear. The memories of him will never die.”
The Police Commissioner, Mr Ryan, delivered a valediction to the “well-liked lad“, born in Goondiwindi, Queensland, in 1969, and who joined the Police Academy in Goulburn in 1994.
“Peter was a brave man,” Mr Ryan said. Constable Forsyth was awarded a regional commander’s citation in 1996, while still on probation, for his role in arresting an armed offender.
“He was conscientious and proud to be a policeman. He had no hesitation, even while off duty, in tackling crime and criminals head on.”
The Premier, Mr Carr, Opposition Leader, Mr Collins, Police Minister, Mr Whelan, and the Lord Mayor, Councillor Sartor, also attended.
Eulogies by Constables Craig Elliot and Guy Flaherty, colleagues and friends from the Leichhardt local area command, revealed Constable Forsyth as a cheerful, mischievous young man.
Constable Flaherty recalled the day his mate was returning from the races by train with his mother, Joan, when he politely asked a crowd of rugby players to keep their language down.
“Well, this bloke came over full as a boot, flipped the seat back and sat opposite Peter and his mum,” Constable Flaherty said.
“He said `Is this your mum?‘ Pete said, `yeah‘. He said, `Ya know, your son has just stood up and told a heap of blokes to shut up just for you. You must be so proud of him to be that loyal‘.”
Constable Forsyth‘s widow, comforted by the Dean of the cathedral, Father Anthony Doherty, wept as Constable Flaherty finished his address.
“Peter used to say to me there are bad men and then there’s us. He was a policeman who would serve the community for which he was part of, keen to help and do the right thing.
“He offered safety, security to his community, love and loyalty to his family as well as to his friends. He will be missed by all. My mate, our mate, is gone.”
Local residents confirmed Constable Flaherty‘s words. Many had met him through his policing duties or his work with the police community and youth club. Forty Glebe High School students, each grasping a white rose, also waited to say goodbye.
One of the mourners, Ms Fran Campisi, cried as she recalled how the young constable helped her during a prolonged domestic dispute.
“He used to ring me up to see if I was OK,” she said. “The day before he died he rang me to see if I was still being harassed. It’s just devastating; he was so lovely, so caring and so sincere.”
At Glebe police station the counter was lined with cards and flowers and the public had left more than $500. Donations to the Peter Forsyth Memorial Fund may be made at any NSW or ACT Commonwealth Bank branch.
Constable Forsyth will be buried in Toowoomba, Queensland, on Monday.
Beyond Courage FB page
NSW; Teenager admits murdering policeman
1999 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.
AAP General News (Australia)
NSW: Court told murdered cop had tried to help colleague
SYDNEY, April 29 AAP – Police constable Peter Forsyth had been stabbed once in the heart when he came to the aid of a colleague who had been knifed, a judge was told today.
According to the statement of facts which was read out in the New South Wales Supreme Court, a youth and Murray Walter Hearne had offered the two men and another officer an ecstasy
tablet for $40.
But Const Forsyth had said something like “you are bloody idiots, you know who we are don’t you”.
The constable also was heard to say “you are drug dealers, I live in the street, I have got kids who live in the street”.
The statement said during the ensuing struggle Probationary Constable Jason Semple was stabbed twice and he realised Const Forsyth was also knifed when he came to his assistance.
Hearne, 19, has pleaded guilty to murdering Const Forsyth, 28, and to maliciously wounding Const Semple, 25, on February 27, on a street in inner-city Ultimo.
Justice James Wood is hearing submissions on sentence, which are continuing.
Widow forces Premier to get tough on killers
Widow forces Premier to get tough on killershttp://news.com.au/newspulse/
By SARAH BLAKE
11 March 2001
JUDGES will be forced to hand down tougher sentences to murderers, following a campaign led by the widow of murdered police officer Peter Forsyth.
Premier Bob Carr ordered new sentencing guidelines for the State’s judges after a private meeting last Tuesday with Jackie Reimer and victims’ rights lobbyist, Martha Jabour.
They approached the Premier after Constable Forsyth’s killer had nine years cut from his sentence by the Court of Criminal Appeal.
“It has been put to us that there should be sentencing guidelines for murder,” Mr Carr told The Sunday Telegraph yesterday. “This is an issue I will take up with the DPP, the Bar Association and the Law Society.”
The Premier said he was prepared to look at amending “truth in sentencing” legislation if it was clear that sentences were not meeting community expectations. This followed investigations by The Sunday Telegraph which showed average murder sentences had fallen by two years since the legislation was enacted.
Bureau of Crime Statistics figures show average minimum terms for NSW since then has been 12.9 years. Previously, murderers served an average 14.5 year term, according to the Department of Corrective Services.
Mrs Reimer – who changed her surname from Forsyth when she remarried last year – said the moves were a “great step in the right direction”.
“It’s obviously too late for Peter’s case, and that’s just another thing that we will have to tolerate, but I am happy for the heartache it will save other people,” she said.
Sentencing guidelines would be issued by Chief Justice Jim Spigelman, through the Court of Criminal Appeal, to ensure uniform sentences for different categories of murder.
This would stop disparities such as that in the Forsyth case, said Martha Jabour, executive director of the Health Department-funded Homicide Victims Support Group.
“Justice Wood gave the right sentence initially. He had taken into account all of the objective factors: that the offender was young, that he had limited education,” she said. “The Court of Criminal Appeal then overturned the sentence and reduced it by a third because of the same factors.
“If there was consistency in sentencing, then we wouldn’t have any of these problems.”
Judicial education would also put an end to insensitive handling of victims by the courts.
The Forsyth judgment was handed down on the third anniversary of Const Forsyth’s death, adding greatly to the anguish of his family.
The three Court of Criminal Appeal judges defended the reduced sentence by stating that by the time murderer Murray Walter Hearne was released, he would be almost 35, and that he would not have a wife and child – which was punishment enough.
“The impact of that incarceration will not cease immediately on his discharge and he will thus have very substantially lessened opportunities of a career, wife and children. That is no minor punishment,” the judgment said.
Mrs Reimer said that victims of crime found such treatment “frustrating and bewildering”.
Sentencing guidelines have been in force for those guilty of fatal driving offences for the past 18 months.
The guidelines, which cover drivers who are drunk, on drugs, negligent and angry, have resulted in every prisoner found guilty receiving a jail term.
Widow’s fury fuels fight for justice
By Malcolm Brown
September 5 2002
Jackie Reimer, widow of murdered policeman, Peter Forsyth, said last night it was high time police who performed the often thankless task of protecting the public knew they had the full support of the justice system.
“At the end of the day it is not just for me, it is for everyone who is caught in this terrible situation,” she said.
Ms Reimer, 31, had been widowed with two children on February 28, 1998, when Constable Forsyth was stabbed in Ultimo by a man he was trying to arrest for drug dealing.
Murray Walter Hearne was jailed for 27 years for the murder of Constable Forsyth and the stabbing of Constable Jason Semple. But the sentence, imposed by Supreme Court Justice James Wood, was reduced by a third in February last year by the Court of Criminal Appeal.
The court substituted a maximum term of 18 years with a minimum of 13 and said the original sentence had been “manifestly excessive”. A furious Ms Reimer said at the time: “I am trying to work out what I am going to tell my children.”
Then, Ms Reimer and Ms Martha Jabour, executive director of the Homicide Victims’ Support Group, met with the Premier to explain to him what it was like for people affected by such brutality.
“This is what has come out of it,” Ms Reimer said last night. “When the appeals come to hand, these people are not going to get massive reductions in their sentences.”
Ms Reimer, now married to a former classmate of Constable Forsyth, Senior Constable Jason Reimer, said it would be comforting to families of victims to “sit in court and know there is a minimum sentence”.
“Now it is not just going to be a case of sitting there very vulnerable and hoping the trial judge will be realistic,” she said.
Ms Reimer, who now has four children, said she was getting over the trauma, preferring not to dwell on dangers of policing.