Farewell to heroic investigator Alan Bourke

RIP: Former Gympie Police Superintendent Alan Bourke.
RIP: Former Gympie Police Superintendent Alan Bourke. Renee Pilcher

ON July 10, 2010, Alan Bourke, the gentle but heroic investigator who solved two of our region's worst murders, decided to take the rest of his life off.

In an interview with The Gympie Times that afternoon, then Superintendent Bourke showed his relaxed sense of humour when he told staff to hold his calls.

"Tell them I'll call them back tomorrow," he said.

It was this sense of humour that helped him survive his crucial investigative role in solving two of the region's most horrifying and soul-crushing murders.

Few living creatures have suffered as did Sian Kingi, the pretty 12-year-old Noosa schoolgirl whose life was taken by two of the most evil murderers in history.

It was a ruthless and sadistic killing which chilled everyone who heard about it and permanently affected just about everyone who had anything to do with its investigation and subsequent trials.

As The Gympie Times reported from that 2010 interview, no-one can bring back an innocent life.

But it was Alan Bourke's painstaking backroom police work, combined with information from two people who were not even direct witnesses, which ultimately secured the convictions of Barry John Watts and Valmae Faye Beck.

Their conviction lifted a burden of fear from young people and their parents throughout Queensland, but especially in the Gympie and Sunshine Coast areas.

As he said in that interview, there are some things you never forget, no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes, the details would wake him up in the night.

Another such memory was of the Oliver and Leedie murders, the surnames of two girls aged nine and 10, who were beaten to death and raped in the sand dunes near Coolum.

"That was horrific as a crime scene," he said.

The killer felt no such concerns apparently and walked to the ocean for a swim before returning down the beach to his home.

"Fortunately he dropped his wallet and we solved the crime in 24 hours," Mr Bourke said.

Alan Bourke died on Monday night.

Gympie Times

Topics:  alan bourke memorial police

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