Freedomroo – Man arrested for the cold case murder of siblings strangled in their Moorabin home in 1989

Pictured: Doris McCartney, 71

Man is arrested for the cold case murder of a brother and sister strangled in their home in 1989 – a week after $1 million reward is offered

  • Doris McCartney, 71, and Ronald Swann, 69, were found strangled in their home
  • There were no signs of forced entry, nothing was stolen and no clear motive
  • On Thursday morning, a 58-year-old man wearing a baseball cap was arrested

A man has been arrested for the murder of a brother and sister in a cold case that has baffled police for 31 years.

Doris McCartney, 71, and Ronald Swann, 69, were found dead in a home they shared on Keith Street in Moorabbin, Melbourne’s south-east, on October 22, 1989. 

Mr McCartney and his deaf sister were bashed and strangled, but there were no signs of forced entry, nothing was taken, and there was no clear motive.

Detectives offered a $1million reward for information on the siblings’ murders last week, before a 58-year-old man in a baseball cap was arrested on Thursday morning.

Pictured: Ronald Swann, 69

Doris McCartney and Ronald Swann (pictured) were found strangled to death in their home in 1989

Victoria Police told Daily Mail Australia the man, from Rowville in the city’s outer south-east, is in custody and will be interviewed on Thursday afternoon.

He was photographed in a police car covering his face with a baseball cap. 

Numerous were interviewed by police after one of Ms McCartney’s former lovers made the grizzly discovery three decades ago, but no one was charged.

Homicide Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Newman told a 1991 inquest that Mrs McCartney – a mother-of-three – was ‘used and abused’ by men and boys between the ages of 15 and 86 since her husband died 10 years earlier.

A coroner described a revolving door of male visitors, including members of a local cricket club, schoolboys, council workers, and neighbours. 

A 58-year-old Rowville man was arrested on Thursday and photographed in a police car covering his face with a baseball cap (pictured)

A 58-year-old Rowville man was arrested on Thursday and photographed in a police car covering his face with a baseball cap (pictured)

According to an published by The Age in 1991, the elderly widow would leave her bedroom window open at night so visitors could get in.

Mr Swann moved in with his older sister because her children were concerned about her behaviour, but ended up letting in at least some of her visitors.

One ex lover said he felt sorry for her.

‘God knows how many men had attended Doris for the purpose of sex,’ he told the newspaper at the time.

Last week, her son Ian McCartney said he grieved for his mother and uncle every day since the brutal murders.

‘There’s not a day in 31 years that I haven’t thought about it,’ he said. ‘Sometimes it’s hours, other times it might be five minutes.’

Her teary-eyed daughter Patricia Newman begged anyone with information to come forward.

‘If you know anything, please, come forward no matter how insignificant you think it is. Please, I beg you,’ she said.

Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Tim Day said in a press conference ‘someone out there knows why Doris and Ronald were killed’.

‘Thirty-one years is a long time to keep a secret.’ 

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.  

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