Police make arrest over Phyllis Harrison murder

Today a 45-year-old man was arrested for the murder of Phyllis Harrison on March 3, 1998.

The 71-year-old grandmother was found in her Elizabeth South home by her daughter and grandson. She had multiple stab wounds, and her house had been ransacked.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey said the arrest was part of the SA Police cold case campaign, Operation Persist.

“This arrest is a result of the dedication, commitment and persistence of the investigators who have worked for 22 years to bring Phyllis’ killer to justice,” Assistant Commissioner Harvey said.

It comes after new evidence was identified through the investigation and advances in forensic evidence.

“Today’s arrest has provided some answers for the victim’s family, who know someone will be brought to justice for her death.

“However, there are still 112 other unsolved homicides being investigated as part of Operation Persist, all of those families want answers as well.”

So far Operation Persist has resulted in 20 arrests for 11 murders (some of which are up to 45 years old). Three bodies have been recovered, however there are still 51 unrecovered bodies being investigated.

Information about unsolved murders and other crimes is on the Crime Stoppers website. If you know anything about an unsolved murder call Crime Stoppers now on 1800 333 000.

Statement from Phyllis Harrison’s Family

Julie Lane, Dianne Smoker and Dean Harrison.

On behalf of the family we would like to say that we are extremely happy and relieved that this person has finally been arrested for our darling mum’s brutal murder 22 years ago.

It has been a very long and heartbreaking time for us all but through the hard work and tenacity of the Major Crime detectives, past and present, finally justice has prevailed and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Also thank you to the police liaison officers who have always kept us informed of the progression of mum’s case and were always very empathetic to us.

In the early years we attended the victims of crime support group which we found very helpful during our time of grief.

Of course this arrest in no way compensates for our huge loss, as mum was the centre of our world not only was she loved by her family, she was loved and respected by the local community as well.

Thankfully modern technology today has finally solved mum’s case and this person is now accountable for this horrible crime.

Hopefully now the family are able to move on with our lives.

We trust that justice will be done and that the process of sentencing will be successful so that we and the community can feel safe once more.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.