Search for answers in 40 year old murder case

As part of the appeal, detectives are also re-releasing an image of Nanette and her Manuka Drive home. Picture: SUPPLIED

Homicide Squad detectives are appealing for information in relation to the murder of Boronia woman Nanette Ellis in the hope it could provide a breakthrough in the case.

The 41-year-old was attacked and killed in her Manuka Drive home on 10 February 1984, some 40 years ago.

Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said Nanette was a single mother of two boys, who had a job she enjoyed and lived a quiet life in Boronia.

“She was well liked by all those who knew her and had no criminal associations or anything that would potentially lead to her being killed in such a violent manner,” he said.

That day, Nanette had gone to her job as an advertising manager at a local newspaper as usual and had made plans to go out to dinner that evening with a number of her colleagues.

About 5.15pm, she was seen by a passer-by pulling into the driveway of her property in her yellow 1982 Toyota Corolla sedan.

Sometime after entering the house, Nanette was attacked by an unknown offender or offenders and stabbed a number of times.

Her body was subsequently found at the rear of the family home shortly after 6pm that night by her 16-year-old son Greg, who had been at a neighbour’s house watching TV.

In the days leading up to her death, Nanette’s vehicle was the subject of a number of rock throwing attacks on her way to and from work.

A number of other vehicles in the area were also damaged in the same way around the same time.

Following the rock throwing incidents, her car was also subject to a series of vandalism attacks in her driveway where paint was tipped over the car, the tyres were slashed and the radio aerial and number plates were removed.

The incidents were investigated by local police, however no suspects were identified and no clear link was able to be established between the rock throwing incidents, vandalism or her death.

Nanette’s family have released the following statement:

“Nanette was taken from us in horrendous circumstances 40 years ago.

She was a caring mother, daughter, sister and aunt, and would have no doubt been a wonderful grandmother had her life not been cut viciously short. At the time her life was simple and honest – it revolved around her work and raising her two sons, and her passion for art in the expression of painting.

To this day we remain tormented at the thought of what she endured. The sequence of events leading up to the day she died, and the brutality of her last moments. Had she died from illness, she would have been surrounded by the care and affection of others. If she had died of an accident, someone would have been there to help and support. But there is no comfort to be had, there is no consoling thought in the way she died, attacked brutally in the sanctity of her own home, what should have been the safest of havens.

Our lives have gone on but have never been the same again since Nanette’s death, a sense of enduring loss and sadness continue to this day, exacerbated by not knowing who was responsible, and why Nanette was targeted.

We believe that someone must know who murdered Nanette. No one can carry such an appalling secret forever without sharing it with another. We believe someone must know who murdered Nanette, and we ask anyone with information to come forward in confidence and share this information with the police. We would also appeal to the person responsible, to find it in their conscience to do the right thing and hand themselves in.

Please help us find some closure to Nanette’s death after all these years.”

To mark the 30th anniversary of Nanette’s death, police announced a $500,000 reward for information leading to the identification and conviction of those responsible for her death.

That reward remains on offer and the investigation remains ongoing, however no one has ever been charged in relation to the fatal stabbing.

Homicide Squad detectives have spoken to a number of people over the past four decades and followed up hundreds of pieces of information in an effort to identify Nanette’s killers.

Police are hopeful that this renewed appeal on the 40th anniversary of her death could potentially lead to new avenues of enquiry for investigators.

As part of the appeal, detectives are also re-releasing an image of Nanette and her Manuka Drive home.

A reward of up to $500,000 will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner, for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Nanette Ellis.

Detective Inspector Thomas said that forty years is an incredibly long time for her family to go without answers. Her sons have grown up without their mum and she never got to see them with families of their own.

“Over the years, a number of investigators from the Homicide Squad have looked at this case in the hope that time may provide the opportunity for new developments, and we still haven’t given up hope,” he said.

The Department of Public Prosecutions will also consider granting indemnification from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders.

Detective Thomas said that while a significant amount of time has passed, there are potentially still people out there who know why Nanette was killed and who was responsible.

“The time to come forward is now. The Ellis family have waited four decades for answers – four decades of grief and mystery,” he said.

“If there is anyone out there who knows anything about Nanette’s death, no matter what it is, I urge you to come forward and speak to police or Crime Stoppers.”

Anyone with information about Nanette’s death and those responsible is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or