Muriel Craig felt her body begin to shake as the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal read out its decision to deny the man accused of the Bowraville murders a retrial.
No one has ever been charged with the murder of her daughter, 16-year-old Colleen Walker, but the families were hoping this case could be tried alongside the retrial of four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-old Clinton Speedy-Duroux.
On Thursday, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the application for a retrial, deciding a new double jeopardy exception for 'fresh and compelling' evidence hadn't been met.
"I don’t think anyone knows the lengths we went to try and find her.”
Ms Craig told NITV Radio this week her family has spent almost 30 years worried they will never see justice for Colleen.
“He gave us an answer we didn’t want to hear… my mind went blank and I just got up and walked out,” Ms Craig said.
Then outside she had to deal with all the journalists, with one reporter even knocking her in the face with a microphone.
Colleen disappeared when she was 16 on a visit to see friends in Bowraville from her nearby hometown of Sawtell. Her mother had arranged to meet her the Koori Knockout but she never showed.
“Straight away I knew something was wrong because that wasn’t like her, she would have been there where she said she was going to meet me,” Ms Craig said.
When Ms Craig first reported her daughter missing, the police didn't take it seriously. They suggested the teenager had probably gone 'walkabout'.
She also said the police questioned whether she was actually Colleen's mother because of her darker skin colour.
“I didn’t stay in the police station, I walked out… I knew they weren’t going to do anything,” Ms Craig said.
“I felt like swearing at them and saying something to them… I was really upset.”
Ms Craig left her home in Sawtell to stay in Bowraville for three weeks in a desperate pursuit to find her daughter.
“She came to me in dreams and showed me places. I tried to find them you know, but I don’t think anyone knows the lengths we went to try and find her,” Ms Craig said.
“I need to know before I pass on where she is.”
Ms Craig said if it wasn’t for her family around her, she wouldn’t have found the courage in herself to make it through.
The NSW government is seeking permission from the High Court to appeal the decision.
The NSW Attorney-General, Mark Speakman, said he will apply for special leave to appeal the decision that was handed down from the NSW Criminal Court of Appeal to the High Court.