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My Dad didn't do it

Thursday, 4th April, 2013

Jack Marx suspects that Peter Hatzi killed teenager Thelma Dal Pozzo 61 years ago. Jack Marx suspects that Peter Hatzi killed teenager Thelma Dal Pozzo 61 years ago.

By Kurtis J Eichler

The son of the late Peter Hatzi says he doesn't accept the suggestion his father killed teenager Thelma Dal Pozzo on the night of June 2, 1952.

Emanuel Hatzi, now 70, is refuting claims made by a writer penning a book on the murder that his father was the likely killer.

Mr Hatzi died aged 61 in 1974.

Ms Dal Pozzo's body was found lying upwards with portions of clothing torn off on the Turf Oval, just 200 yards from her Beryl Street home.

It was believed she left a North Football Club dance alone after going there with friends.

Later that night nearby residents heard screams coming from what is now known as the Norm Fox Oval.

An autopsy revealed she had been strangled and raped. Police tracked down 22-year-old local Gilbert Ryan in Sydney, where he was arrested for the murder and later sentenced to death.

Surviving police officers maintain they cracked the case, but writer Jack Marx isn't convinced Mr Ryan was responsible following 18 months' worth of research into the case for a book to be released in November.

Mr Hatzi says he didn't attend an "inquest" into the case at a Broken Hill pub last month but was shocked to hear Mr Marx's findings.

"There is no way in the world," he told the BDT.

"I knew Gilbert Ryan's brother, Tommy Ryan. He's passed away and that poor bugger would come up to me at the pub and break down. He knew it was his brother."

Peter Hatzi was Ms Dal Pozzo's brother-in-law and Mr Marx said he suspected, from what he had been told, that the two were having an affair.

Mr Marx suggested the 17-year-old planned to expose that she was pregnant and laid out this as the motive for the murder.

Retired solicitor Con George was friends with Mr Hatzi from 1951 until 1963 when he moved to Sydney to study law.

As a local, Mr George studied the case and to this day says there is no evidence that Mr Hatzi did the deed.

"I don't think he did it at all," Mr George said. "I think it's a complete lie and I can't understand any reason for Marx bringing this up. There's no evidence and it just doesn't gel."

Mr Marx yesterday said the only evidence he had to lay blame on Mr Hatzi was the testimonies of people alive at the time.

"I had too many people telling me the same story," he said.

"It's a story that has been around for 60 years and his name is attached to it."

If Mr Hatzi was responsible, Mr Marx said he wasn't necessarily an evil person.

"I just believe good people can do bad things at one point in their life."

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