Victims of the Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney have been remembered on the 40th anniversary.A former police officer who survived Sydney’s Hilton Hotel bombing has vowed on the 40th anniversary of the attack to “find the bastards who did it” and have them locked away.
Senior constable Terry Griffiths, now 74, was among retired paramedics, police and victims’ families at an emotional service in the hotel on Tuesday.
“Our love for one another is stronger than any bond,” Mr Griffiths said, fighting back tears.
In the early hours of February 13, 1978, a garbage truck was torn apart when it collected and crushed a bomb, which had been placed in a bin outside the CBD hotel.
Garbage collectors Alec Carter, 37, and William Favell, 36, were killed and police officer Paul Burmistriw, 31, died from his injuries nine days later.
Mr Griffiths was among a dozen people injured, who carry the scars of one of ‘s first domestic terror incidents.
“I’m 74 now and sometimes I think there’s not much further to go, but I’ll give it my best shot,” he told the service.
“I’m still going to try to find the bastards who did it and get them locked up. No fooling around.”
While the intended target was believed to have been then-prime minister Malcolm Fraser and 11 visiting heads of state – in for the first Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting (CHOGRM) – the culprit remains a mystery.
During his brief speech, Mr Griffiths alluded to one of the enduring conspiracy theories about the blast – that n security forces may have played a role in planting the device.
The 1979 ASIO Act allowed the government to “close the door” on anyone investigating any crime committed by the secret service, Mr Griffiths said.
“As a result of that we can’t get the people before the courts who are responsible for the bombing,” he told the crowd.
“I appeal to everyone who has the power and the authority to look into the matter again and I hope they’ll take me seriously.”
The memorial, attended by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, included a presentation of photographs from the scene showing the severely damaged rubbish truck and debris strewn across the street.
Mr Burmistriw was posthumously awarded the national police service medal and NSW Police Medal.
His niece, Cheryl Plevey, said the anniversary was difficult, partially due to an increased level of publicity.
“Every year, you pick up something different from each story,” she told AAP.
Ms Plevey said seeing photographs drove home how remarkable the emergency response was, including from those who were injured themselves.
“Natural instinct kicked in for them to help people,” she said.
“For them to pick themselves up and go and help someone else, it’s amazing what people can do.”
Retired chief inspector Gary Raymond recalled being called to the scene and having little information about the explosion’s source.
“It doesn’t matter what service it is, when you see members down you just go cold,” he said.
Acting AFP Commissioner Leanne Close said the blast had a broad impact on public confidence in n law enforcement agencies.
“It is perhaps some consolation that over the four decades of policing, technology, intelligence practices and collaboration are now quite significantly different to the practices in 1978,” she said
“I can assure you that one thing remains constant .. our determined commitment to protect the people of to the best of our ability against these types of heinous crimes.”