Former Superintendent Alan Bourke.
Former Superintendent Alan Bourke. Gympie Times

'Bourkey' a dogged detective who helped put worst in prison

ONE of the constant figures during a decade of violent crimes that shook the region was renowned investigator Alan Bourke.

'Bourkey', as he was known, rose to the rank of Superintendent, before retiring in 2010 after 32 years of service.

He was instrumental in the investigation of Noosa schoolgirl Sian Kingi's murder in 1987.

Former Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said Mr Bourke's work to match numberplates taken down by witnesses, which led to a match with Valmae Beck, had been an outstanding piece of detective work.

The match sparked a fast-moving investigation which eventually ended in life sentences for Beck and her husband, Barrie John Watts, for the savage murder of 12-year-old Sian.

In the 1990s 'Bourkey' was involved in a number of high-profile murder investigations, including the killing of Amanda Bliss in Kuluin and the rape and murder of schoolgirls Patricia Leedie and Leanne Oliver at Warana.

 

05 Mar 1993 : Detective Alan Bourke walks the Carseldine college cap park with Valmae Beck (serving life sentence as accomplice to Barrie John Watts over the 1987 rape and murder of Noosa schoolgirl Sian Kingi). Beck gave evidence against Barrie at the murder trial of Helen Mary Feeney - crime qld murder sex assault attack
Detective Alan Bourke walks the Carseldine college car park with Valmae Beck (serving life sentence as accomplice to Barrie John Watts over the 1987 rape and murder of Noosa schoolgirl Sian Kingi) in March, 1993. Beck gave evidence against Barrie at the murder trial of Helen Mary Feeney but never revealed where Helen's body was. SUPPLIED

Mr Bourke died in late-2014, at his Tin Can Bay home at the age of 62.

The Oliver and Leedie case, during which two young girls were raped and beaten to death on the beach, was solved within 24 hours, due in large to the dogged work of Mr Bourke.

His funeral drew hundreds of mourners, who came to pay their respects to the tireless investigator.

Fellow officers described him as a tenacious detective who took community safety as a personal responsibility.

 

Deceased Acting Police Chief Superintendent' Alan Bourke played a crucial role in the investigation.
Deceased Acting Police Chief Superintendent' Alan Bourke played a crucial role in the Sian Kingi murder investigation. chris mccormack / cm167688b

In 2012 'Bourkey', then-retired, vowed to continue to keep Sian Kingi's story alive, to ensure no one forgot what Watts had done to her in order to keep him behind bars.

Beck died in 2008, but Watts remains in high-security prison.

He applied unsuccessfully for parole in 2009.

"I want to make sure enough pressure is brought to bear so that this guy is never released," Mr Bourke told The Sunday Mail in 2012.

"No one should ever forget what this person has done to an innocent girl.

"If the community forgets, the more chance this guy has probably got of getting out."