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Slater and Gordon Lawyers have today welcomed an announcement by the Acting State Coroner that he will reopen the coronial investigation into the cold-case murder of Thornbury mother Maria James.

Mrs James was murdered in her Thornbury bookshop in 1980 and her murder was never solved. The original inquest finding was that she had been murdered by ‘a person or persons unknown’.

Principal Lawyer Naty Guerrero-Diaz, who is representing Mrs James’ son Mark on a pro-bono basis, said today’s decision was a welcome development – not just for the James family but also for other families looking to have old cases re-examined.

“We hope this new coronial investigation is the first step in providing the James family with some much needed answers,” Ms Guerrero-Diaz said.

“As this is a homicide we hope that the Coroner will go on to hold an inquest and that will finally provide some answers in the 38 year old cold-case.

“New evidence uncovered by the ABC raises the question of involvement by the Catholic Church, in particular two parish priests who have been identified as potentially being involved in Mrs James’ murder.”

Ms Guerrero-Diaz said she believed police bungles in the original case meant Mrs James killer or killers were never brought to justice.

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