Brutal killers, drug dealers and thousands of other offenders have served time behind bars thanks to crucial tips to Crime Stoppers SA, marking an incredible 25 years of service to the South Australian community.
Information supplied to Crime Stoppers SA by the public has so far helped SAPOL catch more than 22,400 criminals and solve almost 35,000 crimes – including some of the most heinous cases in state history.
Police Minister Vincent Tarzia said about 500,000 tips have been received by Crime Stoppers SA since the charity began its patrol on July 8, 1996.
“The evidence has been tried, tested and is indisputable – Crime Stoppers SA helps keep South Australians safe and secure,” Minister Tarzia said.
“Nasty criminals are behind bars because of information supplied to Crime Stoppers SA by the public. SAPOL has been supported with reliable tip-offs that have made a huge difference over the last 25 years.
“It was a no-brainer for the Marshall Liberal Government to stand behind the crime-fighting charity and become the first South Australian Government to directly fund Crime Stoppers SA.
“We thank Crime Stoppers SA for all its hard work and offer our congratulations on this special 25-year milestone. And crooks beware – you could be next.”
Crime Stoppers SA Chair, Sharon Hanlon, said the organisation has secured its reputation as a proven way for the community to help bring criminals to justice, supplementing SAPOL’s investigation tools like DNA technology and facial recognition software.
“Time and again we see how even the smallest piece of information can make a big difference and we continue to be humbled at the community response every time we put a call out for information,” Ms Hanlon said.
“Crime Stoppers believes everyone has the right to feel safe from crime, which is why we also develop and deliver a range of crime prevention initiatives and share practical advice on how you can protect your community, and the people and things that are important to you.
“Our results are among the nation’s best, with an average of 25 crimes solved each and every week thanks to the community – which is why our many successes over 25 years should be celebrated by all South Australians, because a safer SA results from a team effort.”
The Marshall Government secured the safety of South Australians and future-proofed Crime Stoppers SA with a cash boost worth more than $800,000 in the State Budget 2020-21.
Minister Tarzia urged South Australians with information about criminal activity to speak up.
“If you have information about an unsolved crime or suspicious behaviour, contact Crime Stoppers SA on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestoppers.com.au,” Minister Tarzia said.
Some of the most notable cases solved with help from Crime Stoppers SA include:
Murder of Carolyn Mathews – 2001
Shortly after the murder, a caller rang Crime Stoppers SA and provided information about the identity of the person hired to kill the mother-of-two. Carolyn’s husband and his girlfriend were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 years. The hitman, who plead guilty to the murder and gave evidence against his co-accused, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 20-year non-parole period.
Murder of Beverley Hanley – 2010
Since the murder of Beverley Hanley at her Elizabeth North home, more than 120 calls have been made to Crime Stoppers SA. The calls helped "corroborate" previous information received by investigators. In 2019, a 44-year old Victorian man was arrested and charged with murder.
Murders of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce Pearce – 2015
Following the discovery of remains of a young girl in a suitcase alongside a Murray Mallee highway in 2015, Crime Stoppers SA received an unprecedented number of calls. It was ultimately two critical calls that led to the identification of the young girl, Khandalyce Pearce. The discovery linked the girl to her mother, Karlie Pearce-Stevenson, whose body was found in Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales in 2010. A man known to the pair plead guilty to the murders and is now serving two life sentences.
Murder of Robert Whitwell – 2016
The killing of 81-year old Robert Whitwell occurred at his Craigmore home. At 8.55pm on 22 August 2017, an anonymous call was made to Crime Stoppers SA nominating two people for the murder. They were arrested days later and charged with murder.