12th October 2019
On one of the darkest days in the history of Victoria Police, the ambush and murder of the Divisional Van crew, call sign Prahran 311, Constables Steven TYNAN and Damian EYRE, I reflect on today, October 11, in 1988. The day the chain reaction started with the shooting of Graeme Jensen in a roadside intercept in Narre Warren by members of the Armed Robbery Squad ( ARS). Don’t get me wrong, Jensen was a low life, recidivist criminal who was an alleged prolific armed robber and was tied up with the Allen/Pettingill clan who were into anything and everything you could possibly think of, and then some.
Jensen’s death, at the hands of members from the ARS caused a knee jerk reaction on the part of Jensen’s associates that culminated in the ambush and murder of Tynan and Eyre just before 0500 hrs on October 12, 1988 a mere 13 hours after Jensen’s death. It was obvious who the initial suspects were right from the get-go.
The two junior Constables weren’t the only victims though.. Veteran Homicide Detective Senior Sergeant John Hill who investigated Jensen’s shooting, committed suicide in 1993 two months after being charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with being an accessory to murder after the fact, for allegedly concealing evidence that the police members involved were criminally liable for Jensen’s death.
John Hill always maintained his innocence of the charge and felt that his integrity had been destroyed when he was charged. Sadly he didn’t live to see the charges being thrown out and VicPol lost one of its most amazing mentors and best detectives. Eight members from the ARS were directly presented by the DPP, but only one member’s charges proceeded to trial where he was aquited, that member is now Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill (no relation to Det Snr/Sgt John Hill).
Over the years, tongues have loosened and consciences been pricked resulting in further investigations and more information becoming public record. Some police royally botched things and made incredibly poor errors of judgement on this day 31 years ago and the ramifications have become part of our history. Maybe one day the whole truth will come out, it won’t change things for Damian Eyre, Steve Tynan or John Hill and their families but it will put to an end the secrecy and teflon like cloak of inviolability that surrounds the main players.
RIP Steven, Damian and John, you’re remembered to this day because of how you passed and the events that preceded it.