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Inquiry hears pain of unsolved Aboriginal child murders

Sydney (AFP) - The families of three Aboriginal children who were murdered by a suspected serial killer were Friday to speak at an inquiry which heard the crimes would likely have been solved had they been white.

The New South Wales state parliamentary standing committee on law and justice is looking into the response to the murders of Evelyn Greenup, 4, and Colleen Walker-Craig and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, both 16.

All three disappeared from the Bowraville mission, on the New South Wales mid-north coast in the early 1990s but despite criminal investigations and two murder trials, no one has ever been convicted.

Thomas Duroux, father of Clinton Speedy-Duroux, told national broadcaster ABC he hoped to one day see justice for the loss of his son whose remains were found in bushland in 1991.

"Well, we've just got to try, just try and get something to get it to court again, that's all we have to do. We've just got to keep going, we'll keep kicking on anyway," he said.

On Thursday, the inquiry heard from a senior investigating police officer who said race had impacted on the how the murders were investigated and stressed that the crimes should have been solved.

"I'm a homicide detective, I'm not a do-gooder or bleeding heart, but I think I need to sit here and say that because of race and to a lesser degree socio-economic factors, it has impacted on the manner in which these matters have been investigated," Gary Jubelin said.

"We're talking about the murder of three children living in the same street over a five-month period. It should have been solved and it could have been solved if the appropriate attention was given."

The bodies of Greenup and Speedy-Duroux were found separately in bushland in early 1991 but Walker-Craig's body was never recovered although she is presumed dead given her clothes were found weighted down in a river.

Jubelin said a detective sergeant with no homicide experience should not have been tasked with leading a potential serial killer investigation.

"So the families, they told me right from the start, people don't care because they're Aboriginal. I thought they were wrong, naively thought they were wrong, but I 100 percent support what they say," he said.

Officials said the families were due to meet the committee behind closed doors on Friday, so they could speak freely about the disappearance of the children.

The politician chairing the inquiry, David Clarke, said that after 24 years of court cases, inquiries and appeals he hoped that "complete justice" could be achieved.

"They're hoping for justice," he said of the families. "We all hope for justice," he told the ABC.

Aborigines, who number about 500,000 of a total population of 23 million, are the most disadvantaged Australians. They are believed to have numbered around one million at the time of British settlement two centuries ago.