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Source: State of Victoria Police

Homicide Squad detectives are today renewing their appeal for information to help solve the 2007 murder of Joanne Howell in Hughesdale.

Joanne was located injured in her Poath Road apartment shortly before 11.20pm on 21 April, 2007.

The 51-year-old had been brutally assaulted and strangled, and despite treatment from police and paramedics, died at the scene.

A friend told police he had spoken to Joanne via phone earlier that night for around half an hour from 8pm, leading investigators to believe she was killed sometime between 8.30pm and 11.19pm.

Neighbours also reported hearing a loud noise from the property sometime between 9-9.30pm.

When police arrived, it did not appear anything was missing or stolen from her unit.

A then 52-year-old man, who was Joanne’s former partner, was arrested at the scene and subsequently released pending further enquiries.

Despite an extensive investigation, no one has ever been charged with Joanne’s death.

A coronial inquest into the matter was held in 2011 and returned a finding that it was likely an indictable offence had been committed in connection with Joanne’s death.

The finding also stated it was likely her former partner was involved in her death.

This man remains a person of interest for investigators, however police are again appealing for anyone with information about the matter to come forward.

This year the case was reviewed by current Homicide Squad investigators and today they are releasing a digital composite image of a man they wish to identify and speak to.

Officer in charge of the Homicide Squad, Detective Inspector Tim Day, said police were not ready to give up on this matter.

“We strongly believe that this is a solvable case,” he said.

“Thirteen years is a long time for any family to wait for justice, but it might now be just the right time for someone to come forward with the answers that investigators need.

“Police have been told a lot of stories during the course of this investigation; now we’re waiting for someone to tell us the truth.

“History has shown time and time again that there will always be someone out there who knows the real story and I am urging that someone to come forward now and speak to us.

“I’m asking for anyone who has information about Joanne’s death, including who is responsible and why, or anyone with information about the person shown in the image to please contact police.

“Police haven’t forgotten about Joanne and the community shouldn’t either – if you know anything, now is absolutely the time to come forward.”

Anyone with information that could assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Natalie Webster

Media Officer

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