IT has been 30 years since teenager Leigh Leigh was sexually assaulted and murdered in the dunes of Stockton beach, but her memory is forever etched in the minds of Novocastrians.
On November 3, 1989, the 14-year-old Newcastle High School student was raped and murdered after attending another teenager's party at the disused North Stockton Surf Club. It was a crime that shook the close-knit community and has many still believing, decades on, that not all involved were brought to justice.
The year 8 student's naked and battered body was found in sand dunes at North Stockton the morning after the party.
Matthew Grant Webster, an 18-year-old from Stockton who had acted as a bouncer at the party, was one of three people convicted over the horrific crime, ultimately serving 14 years of a 20-year sentence. He had admitted to using a rock to kill Leigh Leigh.
Two others were convicted of sexual offences, including sexual intercourse with a minor, and supplying cannabis. One was another party bouncer, Guy Wilson, 19, who spat at Leigh, poured alcohol over her and kicked her when she was on the ground.
Wilson was sentenced to six months in prison while a third male, 15, received a community service order after being charged with sexually assaulting Leigh.
Webster, who admitted killing Leigh after she resisted his attempts to have sex, refused to dob in any mates who might have been involved in the attack, during which Leigh was kicked, spat on and bashed. It is believed she was raped by up to 10 people.
The state Ombudsman reviewed the case after the Newcastle Legal Centre had made a submission to the NSW Parliament in 1996 claiming that other people had been involved in Leigh's death.
The NSW Crime Commission made adverse findings against some police involved in the case, and referred the matter to the Police Integrity Commission in 1998.
Two years later, the PIC recommended that five detectives be charged because they had unlawfully arrested two murder suspects, improperly recorded evidence, and bashed Webster before he had confessed to the crime in February 1990.
At the time of Webster's release from prison, in 2005, Leigh's family friend Hilda Armstrong and her granddaughter Danielle Johnson believe that secrecy and a botched police investigation caused suspects to evade prosecution.
"It's horrible that they are still out there," Ms Johnson said at the time.
Suspicions that some perpetrators had got away with it were widespread.
Members of the murdered girl's family Webster's parole hearing they held "no ill thoughts" towards him and wished him well in the "re-establishment of his life".
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