New evidence could trigger reward in Juanita Nielsen murder
Fresh evidence from beyond the grave has led to friends and admirers of Juanita Nielsen to push for a $1 million reward to solve the 45-year-old mystery of her murder.
As the terraced Kings Cross home the heiress fought to save from developers has become a shrine to locals, residents' leader Andrew Woodhouse said the reward was crucial to break the case because people who know what happened are still alive.
The call for a reward has been prompted by the death last week of Alan Saffron, 71, whose father Abe Saffron, the original King of the Cross aka Mr Sin, was widely believed to be behind Ms Nielsen's disappearance and murder.
Alan Saffron's widow Genevieve told The Daily Telegraph from their Texan home that Alan had left behind documents he told her contained the truth about his ruthless father's business dealings including the death of Ms Nielsen and the fire in Luna Park's ghost train in 1979 that killed seven, including six schoolboys.
Mr Woodhouse, president of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage & Residents Society, said he believed a reward would be worthwhile because of the last thing Alan Saffron told him.
"When I last spoke to Alan he told me that he could not release the documents until after he was dead because he feared for his life from those involved, which means some are still alive," Mr Woodhouse said yesterday.
"Juanita promoted a community feeling that people mattered and that's why finding her killer still matters. This is one of the biggest unsolved murders in Australia. "
Mrs Saffron, 73, said she would release the documents after the year-long mourning period required by her late husband's Jewish religion.
Mike Denzey, who was in the publishing business with Ms Nielsen, said she was a courageous woman who stood up to the "heavies" of Kings Cross, including corrupt cop, the late detective Fred Krahe. Krahe was sacked by the police and went to work for property developer Frank Theeman, whose high-rise plans for Victoria Street were thwarted by Ms Nielsen.
"She was murdered by the Kings Cross mob, possibly with the involvement of police," Mr Denzey said.
He and Ms Nielsen were joint investors in the Bondi Spectator, a publishing business which published her campaigning newspaper NOW, which came out once a fortnight.
With her trademark beehive hairdo, Ms Nielsen was the heir to the Mark Foys retail fortune.
"She was a very stylish lady, very proud of the fact she was Mark Foy's great niece," Mr Denzey said.
He said a reward could help if police had a suspect they wanted to flush out.
Some friends of hers are still afraid to speak out even after all these years. One former model who worked with her would not be named.
"What happened was dreadful," she said.
Born Juanita Smith, she kept the name of her Dutch husband after they divorced, and returned to Australia where she campaigned against high-rise development in Kings Cross where she lived at 202 Victoria Street. A plaque marks her former home, now heritage-listed.
She was last seen visiting Saffron's Carousel Club, home to the legendary Les Girls drag queen show, on July 4, 1975. Carousel manager Eddie Trigg had invited her to discuss advertising in her paper.
Trigg and Carousel barman Shayne Martin-Simmonds were later convicted of conspiracy to abduct her in the days before she was killed. No-one has been charged with her murder.
At the 1983 inquest into her death, one of Saffron's partners in the Carousel, James McCartney "Big Jim" Anderson, named Krahe as her killer. Anderson said he couldn't remember when he started at the club but it was "24 hours after my wife was shot". Anderson's wife was shot seven times and survived but the charges against the gunman were dropped.
Saffron arrived at the inquest in a powder-blue Volvo "driven by a pretty young woman in a black pants suit" according to newspaper reports. He denied any involvement in Ms Nielsen's death. He also denied Anderson's claims of paying off police and supplying women to police.
The inquest jury found she was dead but could not say how she died. The jury added a rider: "There is evidence to show that the police inquiries were inhibited by an atmosphere of corruption, real or imagined, that existed at the time."
Since then, police have kept the case alive with a review by the State Crime Command's Unsolved Homicide Squad and a reinvestigation under Strike Force Euclid and police said it would be reviewed again "in due course".
A $50,000 reward offered in 1982 still stands.
"Any fresh information which may progress the investigation is always welcome," police said in a statement yesterday.
"The NSW Police Force regularly assesses and considers increase in rewards in its ongoing investigations of unsolved homicide cases."
Originally published as New evidence could trigger reward in Juanita Nielsen murder