Killer person of interest in Tas inquest

On the 46th anniversary of the disappearance of beauty contestant Lucille Butterworth, the man suspected of killing her received a letter in the mail – purportedly written by her.


“Geoffrey, our anniversary is this week and I would like to meet up again to celebrate, Lucille,” said the letter.

It arrived last Tuesday in a red envelope containing photos of the then 20-year-old platinum blonde typist.

On Monday Geoffrey Charles Hunt’s lawyer Greg Richardson told of the bizarre incident when he unsuccessfully applied to an inquest to have his client’s name, address and criminal history suppressed.

Counsel assisting the coroner Simon Nicholson said when Hunt was arrested in 1976 for the murder of a Hobart car saleswoman, he also allegedly confessed to killing the young woman.

He said Ms Butterworth is believed to be dead and Hunt is the prime suspect.

On July 7, 1976 Hunt was arrested for murdering Susan Knight, 24, whom he beat repeatedly on the head with a rock before burying her in bushland.

During a subsequent interview the same day he spoke about Ms Butterworth, Mr Nicholson said.

“There is no record of that interview,” he added.

“Serious consideration of Hunt’s involvement in the Butterworth case did not resume until the 1990s.”

Released from prison on parole in 2000, Hunt has denied any knowledge of Ms Butterworth’s disappearance.

She was last seen on August 25, 1969 as she waited to catch a bus to New Norfolk, north of Hobart.

Thinking she had missed her bus, Ms Butterworth accepted a lift, Mr Nicholson said.

“Lucille Gaye Butterworth is deceased and most likely died as a result of foul play and most likely on the night she disappeared and not far from the bus stop where she accepted a lift,” Mr Nicholson said.

She was seen at the bus stop talking to the driver of a blue FB Holden, similar to the car driven by Mr Hunt in 1969, the inquest was told.

Mr Hunt lived across the road from Ms Butterworth’s fiance and the inquest will hear evidence the suspect was seen on occasion to watch her sun bathe.

A former police officer will give evidence of Mr Hunt’s confession to Ms Butterworth’s killing, including that he “snapped” and strangled her and disposed of her body and belongings along the banks of the Derwent River beside a road heading to New Norfolk.

The area has since been excavated by forensic police but no trace of her was found.

The inquest before coroner Simon Cooper continues and is scheduled to run for a month and hear from 40 witnesses.