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Australia NSW coroner receives application for fresh inquest into 1979 Luna Park Ghost Train fire

12:40  10 april  2021
12:40  10 april  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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The state coroner has received an application for a fresh inquest into the Luna Park Ghost Train fire of 1979. (ABC News) © Provided by ABC News The state coroner has received an application for a fresh inquest into the Luna Park Ghost Train fire of 1979. (ABC News)

An application seeking a fresh inquest into the 1979 Luna Park Ghost Train fire has been made to the New South Wales coroner.

State coroner Teresa O'Sullivan has requested a review of all evidence from New South Wales Police to make a determination.

Six children and one adult were killed in the blaze, which was blamed on an electrical fault by police at the time.

An inquest at the time found this was not supported by the evidence and an open finding was delivered.

The fresh application received on April 8, comes after the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that her government would "consider" another inquest into the incident.

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"I know that if that was my family, I'd want that to happen," Ms Berejiklian said in response to the ABC's investigation series EXPOSED, which revealed overlapping accounts from witnesses about youths or bikies seen on the night, as well as the smell of kerosene at the popular ride.

"That's why parts of the NSW government are considering our options there and if we can go down that path, we will. But I do want to confirm that we are giving it good consideration."

A fresh inquiry is also supported by NSW Liberal senator Andrew Bragg, who said last week that it is up to the state to decide what form it takes.

"The fact that these families haven't had answers for 42 years really is an indictment on the justice system in NSW," he said.

The first and only inquest, in 1979, was later criticised by the National Crime Authority in a report which labelled it as "substantially ineffective".

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Former senior police told the ABC investigation that notorious crime boss Abe Saffron ordered the fire, further claiming he got away with the plan due to assistance from corrupt police.

Detective Inspector Doug Knight, the officer who led the investigation, was revealed by witnesses as a "fixer" who would corrupt court matters by deleting, changing and manipulating evidence, as well as intimidating witnesses.

Some witnesses who spoke during the ABC investigation claimed they were "intimidated" or "hounded" to change aspects of their original statements.

Many of the witnesses spoke publicly about the horror of the night for the first time, including survivor Jason Holman.

His four friends — 13-year-olds Richard Carroll, Jonathan Billings, Seamus Rahilly and Michael Johnson — all perished, along with Craig Godson, 4, his brother Damien, 6, and their father John, 29.

Les Dowd, who was there on the night of the deadly fire, claimed to have overheard talk of arson from a group of suspicious males.

Aspects of his recollection are corroborated by other witnesses.

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This is interesting!