$1M reward announced for suspicious death of Connor Tolson

Detectives from the Arson and Explosives squad are hopeful that today’s announcement of a $1 million reward will assist in solving the 2015 suspicious death of Connor Tolson.

Connor, who was 21 at the time, was found dead after a fire in his bungalow at the rear of his family’s Malvern East home on 19 September 2015.

Connor had been out celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday in Brighton the evening of Friday 18 September, before leaving the party and walking to the train station with three other guests about 11.30pm.

He was picked up by a rideshare driver near North Brighton Railway Station at approximately 12.13am on 19 September, and shortly after dropped off near his home in Malvern East.

At around 3.30am, Connor’s sister heard noises that sounded like movement in the backyard however when she looked out her window, she didn’t see anything.

Between 4.30am and 4.45am, local residents smelt smoke and went to investigate the source of the smell.

A number of calls to triple zero (000) to report the fire were subsequently made shortly after.

Connor’s sister awoke just before 5am and noticed the bungalow on fire. She woke her mother, and when they went outside, they found the bungalow well alight.

Connor’s mother kicked open the front door, but the bungalow was already filled with smoke and flames.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze and inspected the bungalow, later locating Connor’s body.

Initially the fire was thought to be non-suspicious.

An inquest into Connor’s death began in May 2017. The findings were delivered in January 2018, and following this, the matter was referred to the Arson and Explosives Squad to investigate as a suspicious death.

This was in part due to the results of the autopsy report, which indicated Connor’s death had occurred prior to the onset of the fire.

Detectives are hoping that today’s reward announcement will encourage someone with information about the fire and Connor’s death to come forward.

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 Connor Tolson.

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.

Any information given will be treated as confidential and may be given at any time to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Quotes attributable to Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy, Arson and Explosives Squad:

‘Connor was a talented young musician whose young life was tragically cut short that night.

‘His family deserves an answer as to why, and I would like to strongly reinforce to the community that this is very much an active investigation.

‘There is the possibility that the person or persons responsible for his death may have spoken to someone about Connor and today’s reward announcement may lead to them finally coming forward with information.

‘People’s circumstances can change over the years and someone who may not have wanted to provide information to police previously may now feel ready to do so.

‘It doesn’t matter how insignificant you think the piece of information is, it could be exactly what our investigators need to make a breakthrough in this case.’

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