NSW Police hoping million-dollar reward brings Denise Govendir’s cold-case killer to justice

Denise Govendir  was beaten to death by an intruder in her Sydney home in March 1998.

Denise Govendir was beaten to death by an intruder in her Sydney home in March 1998. Photo: Wizonsw

Denise Govendir was known for leaving her front door open and fridge full.

Loved ones flew from overseas for her funeral – and to this day, her daughter talks of how many people remember her with love.

Early on March 10, 1998, the 53-year-old was killed in a home invasion at Dover Heights in Sydney’s east.

More than 25 years later, her family have described the anguish of not knowing who is responsible as police unveiled a $1 million reward in the hope of finally cracking the cold case.

Investigators were told from day one that Ms Govendir and her 55-year-old husband Aaron Govendir were assaulted by a man who broke into their home claiming to be a police officer.

Mr Govendir said he was knocked unconscious before being restrained with cable ties.

A generous, supportive soul

The intruder then allegedly seriously assaulted Ms Govendir, who died from her injuries.

The man fled in her white 1997 Ford Laser sedan before, Mr Govendir said, he regained consciousness and called police.

The car was found in neighbouring Rose Bay nearly two weeks later.

On Friday, Ms Govendir’s daughter Tahli spoke of her mother’s generosity, love and support, which came despite her living in an unhappy marriage.

“How she died was only a tiny little bit of her and that’s not the part that I focus on,” she said.

“I still have people who say, ‘I remember her, I miss her, I think about her all the time’.”

Tahli Govendir said her mother would ring her several times a week and they would have dinner every Wednesday when she moved back to Sydney.

“She had a life that was much more important than how she died,” she said.

The $1 million reward is being offered for information that could help police solve the murder and provide closure to Ms Govendir’s family and friends.

A coronial inquest held between 2005 and 2008 confirmed she died from blunt-force head injuries.

Not here ‘to teach me’

Homicide Squad commander Danny Doherty said it would mean a lot to police to be able to offer some answers.

“We haven’t been able to provide those answers to the family and you can see how much it means to them,” he said.

Police believe the attack was premeditated and have called for anyone with information, no matter how little, to come forward.

“I’m now 53, which is the age she was when she died,” Tahli Govendir said.

“And I’m not sure how to be 54, because she wasn’t here to teach me.”


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