Police seek information on 20-year cold case of Adelaide man burned alive in home

NBN U.K. News

NBN U.K. News

Posted February 10, 2019 12:56:33

Franco Murat was attacked in his home by three unknown people almost 20 years ago, with the alleged attackers covering his head with fabric and setting him alight.

Key points

  • Franco Murat suffered burns to his upper torso, head and face
  • The French national died in hospital three weeks after the attack
  • Police say they still have no firm suspects and are calling for any information

Mr Murat was attacked in his home at Blair Athol on August 16, 1999, suffering burns to his upper torso, head and face.

The 60-year-old retired chef was asleep at the time of the attack, initially surviving the horrific burns to his body and running into the street for help.

The father-of-three from Adelaide died three weeks later in hospital and South Australian police say they are no closer to finding those responsible.

Police have renewed calls for information from the public and believe he may have been targeted for jewellery and opals in his home.

The case remains open as part of Operation Persist — an investigation led by Major Crime reviewing unsolved cold case murders in the state.

He was able to speak with police and ambulance officers following the attack and said he heard three different voices — those of two men and a woman.

Police said the attackers had taken accelerant to Mr Murat’s home and doused him with it and then ransacked his home on Prospect Road.

Detective Brevet Sergeant Simon May described the attack as “callous”.

“It’s an incredibly callous thing to do and a horrific way to die,” he said.

Following Mr Murat’s death police said there were a number of calls to Crime Stoppers, but information had since dried up.

Targeted for jewellery and opals

Police admitted there was still no clear motive for the attack but believed jewellery and opals were taken from his home.

His silver-coloured Magna sedan was also found completely burned out in a laneway about 1 kilometre away.

Police said Mr Murat was a hobby “noodler”, someone who fossicks for opals, and it appeared he had items of jewellery and stones hidden around his home.

They said he was a French national who was born in Sardinia and raised in Switzerland and later moved to South Australia with his wife and family in 1978.

“He had no enemies we know of, but what we know of this attack seems to suggest it was targeted,” Detective Brevet Sergeant May said.

“We have no firm suspects, but know that one key piece of information can change an investigation such as this, so I would urge anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

A reward of up to $200,000 will be paid to anyone with information that leads to a conviction in the case.

Topics: murder-and-manslaughter, crime, law-crime-and-justice, police, adelaide-5000, sa, blair-athol-5084