First week of fingerprint collection on Norfolk Island a success

Release Date: Monday, August 19 2002, 12:00 AM

After completion of the first week of the mass fingerprint collection exercise on Norfolk Island more than 476 sets of prints have been taken for elimination and comparison purposes.

Local residents of Norfolk Island have shown their willing to assist the Australian Federal Police and Norfolk Island Police with the investigation into the murder of Janelle Patton on Easter Sunday earlier this year.

The collection process started at 8.30 last Monday (12 August) morning with the Chief Minister, Mr Geoff Gardner being the first volunteer provide his fingerprint samples.

The response from the island residents has been strong with a further 250 local residents having made bookings to have their fingerprints taken this week.

There have been a good cross section of the community in age and gender, among the volunteers who have given their fingerprint samples to date.

In conducting the voluntary fingerprint collection program among 15 to 70 year olds on the island, the AFP is seeking a break through in the murder investigation. It is hoped that the matching of fingerprints to those found on exhibits associated with Janelle Patton's body will provide a vital link in solving the crime.

Once this process is completed arrangements will be made to gather similar samples from the 680 Australian and New Zealand tourists who were also present on the island at the time of Janelle's Patton's death.

The collection process will continue on Norfolk Island for as long as is necessary to collect fingerprints from all those willing to participate. This is likely to take about another two to three weeks.

Those residents who are willing to participate are asked to call 22222 to arrange a suitable time to have their prints taken. Appointment times will be available between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm seven days a week.

The collection center at Rawson Hall, Taylors Road, Burnt Pine will operate seven days a week and will be staffed by officers from the Norfolk Island police investigation team and other qualified AFP officers.

The process is completely voluntary and takes about 30 minutes per person.

The samples collected as part of this exercise can only be used in relation to the murder investigation of Janelle Patton. They cannot be used for any other purpose, including the investigation of any other crime.

Media contact: Beryl Janz AFP Media Ph 0412 627 148

Media enquiries:
AFP Media (Canberra): (02) 6275 7100