By Fiona Blackwood
The surviving brother of suspected murder victim Lucille Butterworth has paid tribute to his late brother Jim and says the family will never give up the search for Lucille’s body, which now enters its 50th year.
- Lucille Butterworth’s body has never been found
- An inquest found she had been strangled but no charges have ever been laid
- Former detective David Plumpton paid tribute to Jim Butterworth’s dedication
There have been tributes for Jim Butterworth, who died on Friday having dedicated a large part of his life trying to solving the mystery surrounding his sister’s disappearance in 1969 in Tasmania.
His brother John Butterworth said the passing of his 82-year-old brother was sad, but would not end the family’s quest to solve the mystery.
“It’s not over. I’ll keep looking, I’ll keep searching and hopefully one day we might find out exactly what happened to her,” he said.
Ms Butterworth was 20 years old when she vanished from a Hobart bus stop on the way to a Miss Tasmania event in New Norfolk.
Mr Hunt has denied any involvement.
The Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions deemed there was not enough evidence to charge the man named by the coroner as responsible for strangling Ms Butterworth.
John Butterworth said the passing of Jim had hit the family hard.
“To have him not there as part of the strength that we afforded to each other to try and find out what happened to Lucille is very sad,” he said.
But he said the search for the body would continue.
“It would have been nice for us both to have found her remains and put her to rest and get justice for her,” he said.
Brother to continue river dives
John Butterworth conducted 12 dives in the Derwent River near Millbrook Rise in the Derwent Valley earlier this year in search of clues.
Lucille Butterworth and boyfriend John Fitzgerald were unofficially engaged at the time of her disappearance. (Supplied)
“I wasn’t satisfied and I will probably end up going back, bearing in mind that there could very well be some kind of technology that we could use,” he said.
He said his brother would be remembered for his tireless efforts to find out what happened to Lucille, but also for his work restoring the boat Preana.
“To his credit that was an exceptional boat and just extremely, an extremely good job he did with his volunteers,” John Butterworth said.
‘It was 50 seconds ago’
Former Detective Inspector David Plumpton, who worked on the Butterworth case, said he was struck by Jim Butterworth’s loyalty to his family.
“When everybody else moved on, so to speak, Jimmy Butterworth not only didn’t move on but wouldn’t let you move on,” he said.
Brothers John (left) and the late Jim Butterworth (right) with Inspector David Plumpton in 2011. (ABC)
“When we discussed the disappearance of his sister Lucille you could see it in his eyes this wasn’t 50 years ago, it was 50 seconds ago.”
He said Mr Butterworth was larger than life.
“Let’s not make him out to be a saint though, the man was a larrikin, make no bones about that,” he said.
“He was a tough, push through, hard man looked after his family, but had an absolute soft spot for people he liked and loved.
“He did many things with his life, he was a successful businessman … who never gave up on Lucille. He was one of God’s gentlemen.”
Lucille’s former boyfriend John Fitzgerald (left) and brothers John (centre) and Jim (right) flanked by loved ones outside Coroner’s Court. (ABC News: David Hudspeth)