Jane Thurgood-Dove

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Jane Thurgood-Dove
Portrait Jane Thurgood-Dove
Born Jane Elisa Magill[1]
(1963-03-17)17 March 1963
Died 6 November 1997(1997-11-06) (aged 34)
Muriel Street, Niddrie, Victoria
Cause of death Murder
Body discovered Muriel Street, Niddrie, Victoria
Resting place Fawkner Memorial Park, Fawkner, Moreland City, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Known for Murder victim
Spouse(s) Mark Thurgood-Dove
Children 3
Parent(s) Helen and John Magill

Jane Elisa Thurgood-Dove was the victim of a murder in Niddrie, Victoria, Australia in 1997. On 6 November 1997, she was confronted in the driveway of her suburban Melbourne home and shot repeatedly in the head and body as her three young children, aged 3, 5 and 10, cowered inside her car.

The murder shocked the public. Despite the Victorian government posting a $100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction,[2] no one has been charged in relation to this murder.


Jane Thurgood-Dove arrived at her Muriel Street, Niddrie, home in the afternoon of 6 November after collecting her children from school. As she climbed from her 4WD, she was approached by a man described as a "short, pot-bellied man" who preceded to chase Thurgood-Dove around her vehicle. When she tripped and fell, the man pulled out a large calibre pistol and, in full view of her terrified children, shot her repeatedly to her head, killing her instantly.

The man ran to a waiting getaway car - a stolen metallic blue Holden Commodore - driven by a younger, slimmer man. The assailants sped off. The car was later found torched in nearby Farrell Street. Investigations revealed that the Holden Commodore was stolen the previous day from Princes Park, Carlton.


Following the murder in 1997, police initially followed two distinct lines of investigation, but more recently[when?] a third possibility presented itself.

1. The husband[edit]

Most victims are murdered by people they know. Therefore, it was not unreasonable that police first consider if Mark Thurgood-Dove, Jane's husband, was involved.

However, police investigations tended to support Mr Thurgood-Dove's assertions that his marriage was happy and healthy. Mark Thurgood-Dove was a hardworking man with no previous criminal record. In April 2000, he passed a polygraph test and has since been eliminated as a suspect.

2. The Secret Lover[edit]

Jane Thurgood-Dove had revealed to at least two friends that a well-respected, serving policeman was deeply in love and obsessed with Jane and, indeed, had been diagnosed with depression since her murder. It is not known whether any intimate relationship ever developed between Jane and the policeman.

In 1998, Melbourne's Herald Sun carried the front-page headline that the policeman was the prime suspect in Jane Thurgood-Dove's murder. He is believed to have admitted loving her and asking her to leave her husband, but denied killing her. It was speculated that the policeman hired two hitmen to kill Jane when she refused to leave her husband.

The policeman was interviewed by the Homicide squad on three occasions. The policeman had no alibi for the time of Mrs Thurgood-Dove's killing and, indeed, failed a polygraph test on 29 April 2000. However, police could not uncover sufficient evidence to charge the man.

Some police were concerned that the suspect in the case was still an operational policeman and armed. The policeman, who worked in the city, was believed to have daily dealings with the public and routinely carried a revolver in the course of his duty. Some police had sought his removal from operational duties.

But police command was believed to have refused to suspend or transfer the man after he produced medical and psychiatric evidence that he was fit to continue active duty.

On 7 October 2003, the Herald Sun quoted a senior homicide detective eliminating the policeman, who was the prime suspect in the Thurgood-Dove murder, from further inquiries.[3]

3. Mistaken identity[edit]

Following the announcement of a $1 million reward, police received information that a group of Geelong bikers had been implicated in the murder. It was said that Thurgood-Dove was mistakenly murdered, with the real target being a woman of similar appearance who lived in the same street.[4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jane Elisa Magill Thurgood-Dove at Find a Grave
  2. ^ Herald Sun, '$100,000 reward to killer's axxomplices, Phillip Cullen, p.1, 17 September 2001
  3. ^ Herald Sun, 'Policeman cleared of murder', Cameron Smith, 7 October 2003
  4. ^ Silvester, John (27 July 2004). "Hitman's planned victim felt marked for death". The Age. 
  5. ^ Webb, Emily (2014). Murder in Suburbia: Disturbing stories from Australia’s dark heart. Scoresby, Victoria: The Five Mile Press. p. 76. ISBN 9781743465288. 
  6. ^ Police offer deal to former bikie over murder of Jane Thurgood-Dove, By Mark Buttler, 2012-11-04, Herald Sun