$1 Million Reward Announced For Information To Help Solve 1974 Murder

One of the state's biggest rewards has been announced for any information leading to a conviction over the murder of Maria Smith in 1974.

What you need to know
  • The 20-year-old's body was found inside her Randwick unit in 1974
  • Police say Maria Smith was bound, sexually assaulted and strangled with her own stockings
  • No one has ever been charged

NSW Police and the State Government have announced a $1 million reward for any information leading to a conviction over the murder of Maria Smith more than 40 years ago.

Maria Smith's body was found inside her Randwick unit on April 22, 1974. Police say the 20-year-old was bound, raped and strangled to death with her own stockings.

No one has ever been charged.

The student teacher was last seen alive inside her apartment on St Marks Road early that morning, getting ready for work with her husband. He left just after 7:30am -- and his wife was supposed to leave an hour later.

But detectives believe the young woman answered a knock at the door after her husband left. Police think the attacker asked for a pen and paper - before striking Maria when her back was turned.

Her husband, Steve Smith came home that evening to find his new wife dead in their bedroom.

Maria Smith had been married for just 59 days.

Maria's brother, Peter McGuinn, joined police today, calling for any further information about the day his sister was murdered.

“From that day, it was like there’s a void that couldn’t -- and can’t -- be filled,” Mr McGuinn said.

“Even after 44 years, we still think about Maria often, mostly it’s our childhood memories and what could have been, but other times, I think about what actually happened -- who killed my sister?"

“Even though our parents have passed without that answer, we know that someone knows who did it and hope that this reward is encouragement to come forward and tell the police,” Mr McGuinn said.

The Homicide Squad’s Unsolved Homicide Unit has established Strike Force Auris to take another look at the circumstances surrounding Maria Smith's death.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, says the announcement could be the catalyst for someone to come forward.

“Maria’s murder had an incredible impact on the community at the time, but it is nothing compared to the suffering her family have endured over the last 44 years,” Det Supt Cook said.

“She had only been married eight weeks and, at the age of 20, had her whole life ahead of her."

The huge reward is the second of it's kind in the state's history. Police only offered the same amount for the safe return of missing boy, William Tyrrell in 2016.

Minister for Police, Troy Grant has also welcomed the reward, and has encouraged anyone with information to come forward.

“No matter how long a case goes unsolved, the family and friends of the victim have to live with their grief as well as the knowledge that justice has not been served,” Mr Grant said.

“At the time of her murder, Maria was 20 years old and had only recently been married. It’s time to give her family and loved ones closure."

The reopening of this case comes after NSW Police announced plans to revisit all cold cases since the 1970's.

More than 500 cases will be revisited with fresh eyes and new technology - in the hope of finding more clues. All previous lines of inquiry will also be reviewed.

The first 20 cases are being sent off for investigation outside the Homicide Squad this week.