Announced August 2020
Victoria Police have announced a $1 million reward for information surrounding the murder of Thomas Cooper.
On the night of Monday, 18 August 1980, Tom and his then girlfriend drove to the beachside carpark at Rickett’s Point in Beaumaris, located near the Beaumaris Yacht Club on Beach Road.
The couple had gone to the carpark together that night to spend some time together in private, with the carpark itself situated a short distance from Beach Road and out of view of the public.
Sadly, it also afforded someone the opportunity to hide and stalk anyone who happened to visit the carpark that night.
Tom and his girlfriend arrived at the carpark at about 7.15pm, with Tom parking his white Holden sedan and the couple remaining inside their car.
The pair had only been there for about five minutes when a male appeared from the darkness and without warning smashed the driver’s window with the barrel of a rifle.
Tom started the car and then desperately drove it out of the carpark onto Beach Road to try and get away from the male.
Whilst doing this, the male fired several shots into the driver’s side of the car and unfortunately Tom was struck by three rounds.
Despite his injuries, Tom managed to get the car out onto Beach Road, but soon after he collapsed and his vehicle ran off the road.
Sadly, Tom died shortly after as a result of his gunshot wounds.
His girlfriend was able to flag down passers-by and immediately raised the alarm.
The male who attacked the couple that night appeared to be alone and is described as being Caucasian in appearance, with black hair, unshaved with a moustache, and was wearing a dark coloured hat and clothing, possibly a coat.
An Identikit image of this male was provided to the public in 1980, with this description subsequently modernised in 2020 and digitally aged to show what the male may look like if he were still alive today.
Investigators also established that the weapon used in the attack was a .22 calibre rifle, however the weapon has never been located.
At the time of his death, Tom was only a teenager and there was nothing in his background or lifestyle to suggest to police that he was targeted that night or that he had any significant disputes with any person who would seek to do him harm.
Detectives describe it as an act of senseless and indiscriminate violence which ended in the death of a young man who had his life ahead of him.
It’s also likely that his death occurred simply because Tom happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In 2020 a reward of up to $1M was offered for information relating to Tom’s death and this remains on offer for anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction in this case.
Detectives are hopeful that, whilst over 40 years after his death, someone will be able to provide information about who was responsible for Tom’s murder and why.
Police have also released a photo of Tom as well as the original identikit image and updated photo of the male they are seeking to identify.
A reward of up to $1M will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police, for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Thomas Cooper.
The Director of Public Prosecutions will consider, according to established guidelines, the granting of indemnification from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders in this matter.
Reviewed 25 January 2023