The Brutal Unsolved Murder of Melbourne Mother Jenny Rose Ng

On Friday the 23rd of April 1982 two girls – one seven and the other nine – left school and walked to a housing commission building in Elizabeth Street, Richmond. They took the lift their mother’s flat, hoping to sneak in a quick lunch before joining their 11-year-old brother back at school. What they found when they opened their flat door, however, left them horrified.

Their mother, 39-year-old Jenny Rose Ng, lay lifeless on the living-room floor, soaking in a pool of her own blood. She’d been stabbed over 30 times and her killer was nowhere to be found.

Who Was Jenny Rose Ng?

Portrait of a young Jenny Rose Ng in a dress sitting on a tree stump. Image Source: ABC News

Jenny Rose Ng was born in Hong Kong in 1943. She moved with her family to Australia at a young age, though not much more is known about her early life. As she grew older, however, Jenny certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

It seemed everyone who met Jenny Rose left with something good to say about her. Described as “bubbly, very friendly, very affectionate” with a persistent “smile on her face” (Oakes, 2012), Jenny was the kind of woman who would light up any room she entered. It was no surprise when she caught the eye of a suitor: Kam Hor Ng.

And as time went on, the loved-up couple’s relationship flourished. In 1969, they married in Hong Kong before moving back to Australia where they would begin their adventures.

Two years after their marriage, their eldest son was born and over the next three years, they were again graced with two beautiful daughters. As the years passed, however, the spark once ignited between Jenny Rose and Kam began to dull.

In a 2012 article for The Age, Detective Senior Sergeant of the Homicide Squad at the time Ron Iddles noted the Ng’s marriage ‘was unhappy’ and while her husband Kam ‘had not wanted her to leave’, Jenny felt it best they spend some time apart (Oakes, 2012). Eventually, Kam left the apartment and the couple separated.

In 1981, Jenny Rose had another daughter. Although life as a single mother of four was undoubtedly difficult, Jenny remained a “strong independent woman”, determined to “bring up [her] family on her own” (ABC, 2018). Throughout all the struggles in her life, Jenny was always a “completely devoted mother“. She “love[d] her kids to death”, and she would stop at nothing to give them the best life she could provide.

“I just remember scenes of being with her”, Jenny’s daughter said, “she’s always there” (Oakes, 2012).

Jenny Rose posing with one of her four children. Image Source: The Herald Sun

Friday the 23rd April 1982

Friday the 23rd of April started as many school days did. Jenny woke up her son and two eldest daughters, helped them get ready, then sent them off at 8:30am where they presumably made the short four minute walk to Richmond West Primary School. Jenny Rose and her then 11-month-old daughter all remained home in their flat in the Elizabeth Street housing commission building, but they weren’t alone for long.

A 20 story Elizabeth Street, Hawthorn, Flat Building, likely the one Jenny Rose had been living in prior to her murder. Image Source: 9 News

At around 10:30am, a neighbour reported hearing someone walk past their window and knock twice on the door of Jenny’s flat. They then heard Jenny begin speaking to someone – a man – in Cantonese. Around forty-five minutes later, the neighbour recalled hearing loud noises ‘like furniture being moved and things falling but no screaming or crying” (Oakes, 2012). The man then left Jenny’s apartment, with the neighbour reporting ‘the door to [Jenny’s] flat slam loudly’ and ‘a man say something angrily’ in English. The neighbour did not hear the man walk past her window again, so assumed he’d taken the stairs and left the flat (Oakes, 2012).

At 12:30pm, Jenny’s two eldest daughters returned to their Elizabeth street apartment building. They took the elevator to the 19th floor and approached flat 119, noting the door was – oddly for Jenny – left unlocked. As they entered the apartment, they were met with a horrific scene.

“… when we walked in, we saw her body on the living, dining room floor.” One of Jenny’s daughter’s – her identity concealed – would later state “She was face down in some blood” (Carbonell, 2012).

Jenny’s 11-month-old daughter was still asleep in her cot. She was in Jenny Rose’s room, completely unharmed.

Timeline of Events

The following timeline details the movements of Jenny Rose Ng the day of and the days following her murder. These events are taken from the statements of investigators, witnesses, and relevant reports (cited in the ‘Resources‘ section of this article). Not all events can be accurately verified or placed in correct chronological order due to insufficient information. If you believe an event to be incorrect or inaccurately placed within this timeline, please use the ‘Contact Me’ form on this website.

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – Prior to 8:30am

    Jenny Rose wakes her son and two eldest daughters and gets them ready for school.

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – Approximately 8:30am

    Jenny’s son and two eldest daughters leave for school. Jenny Rose and her 11-month-old daughter remain in the home.

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – Approximately 10:30am

    A neighbour of Jenny Rose’s hears someone walk past her window (suggesting they’d taken the lift) and knock twice on Jenny’s door. Jenny is heard speaking to a man in Cantonese.

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – Approximately 11:15am

    The neighbour hears noises ‘like furniture being moved and things falling but no screaming or crying’ (Oakes, 2012).

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – Around 11:15am to 12:30pm

    The neighbour hears the door to Jenny’s flat close and a man muttering in English. She did not hear anyone pass her window and so assumed he’d used the stairs to leave.

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – Approximately 12:30pm

    Jenny’s two eldest daughters arrive home for lunch. They notice the door to Jenny’s flat is unlocked, which was out of character for Jenny. They walk in and find their mother “on the living, dining room floor. She was face down in some blood” (Carbonell, 2012). She had been stabbed over 30 times.

    Jenny’s 11-month-old daughter was in Jenny’s room, unharmed and still asleep in her cot.

  • Friday, 23rd April 1982 – After 12:30pm

    The girls alert their neighbours, who call the police.

  • Monday, 26th April 1982 – Unknown Time

    Police confirm Jenny was stabbed to death using a sharp, thin-bladed knife and begin searching local public rubbish bins, believing the killer may have disposed of the knife as he left the scene. No knife is recovered.

  • Friday 23rd April to Monday 26th April 1982 – Unknown Times

    Police set up a caravan at the flats to encourage neighbours to provide any information they may have on Jenny’s murder and the unknown Cantonese-speaking man that left her flat. Police report a poor public response and little useful information is recovered.

The Investigation

I just bawled,” one of Jenny’s daughter’s stated, “and said ‘No mummy, don’t leave us, I love you’ and things like that. Clutching her” (Oakes, 2012). Jenny’s distraught children were dragged from their apartment to the home of a Greek neighbour, who attempted to console them as police quickly began to analyse the scene.

Jenny Rose Ng had been brutally stabbed over 30 times, sustaining injuries to her ‘chest, throat, back and arms’ (Boseley, 2018). She was fully clothed and, to some solace, showed no signs of sexual assault

As they searched the house, investigators became more and more confused. There were no signs of forced entry, no unusual fingerprints and ‘no bloody foot or handprints‘ (Oakes, 2012) as would be expected from such a vicious and undoubtedly bloody stabbing. It was almost as if Jenny’s killer were never there at all.

Portrait of a smiling Jenny Rose Ng. Image Source: ABC News

After hearing about the ‘mystery Cantonese-speaking man’ who’d entered Jenny’s apartment earlier that day, police became “confident that this person may have known Jenny and ultimately may have been involved in her murder” (Victoria Police, 2018). They began to set up police caravans, hopeful that someone who’d seen this mystery man would come forward and provide some much needed information. Unfortunately for investigators, no further leads were gathered and their mystery man was never identified.

On Monday the 26th of April, three days after Jenny’s murder, police began the grueling task of searching every public rubbish bin they could. Jenny’s wounds suggested she’d been attacked by a ‘sharp, thin-bladed knife’ (Harrington, 1982) and with no murder weapon located at the scene, police believed the killer may have disposed it in a public bin as he fled. However, even with these extensive searches, the weapon was still never recovered.

The Suspects

As Jenny’s case was further investigated, police became convinced that Jenny’s murder was not a random attack.

There were no signs of forced entry, suggesting the murderer had either ‘opened the door with a key or was allowed in by Jenny‘ (Harrington, 1982). The brutal nature of the murder itself also indicated there was some kind of relationship between Jenny and her killer prior to her death. “She was quite aggressively stabbed”, one of Jenny’s daughters stated, “It seemed a very personal attack” (Carbonell, 2012). The Victorian Homicide Squad mirrored this sentiment, suggesting the killer’s familiarity with the Elizabeth Street housing commission building could mean the killer “might even be a tenant at the flats” (Harrington,1982).

However, finding somebody with the motive for murder was difficult. According to one of Jenny’s daughters, Jenny had ‘no known enemies’ (Oakes, 2012) and no known romantic partner at the time of her death. With no other leads, investigators were stuck with only one suspect: Jenny’s defacto husband Kam.

Marrital Suspicions

When someone is murdered, investigators usually turn their eye to those closest to the victim, and for a good reason. From 1968-1992, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research recorded that a whopping 40.6% of homicides were committed by suspects from the same family as their victims, with an additional 38.3% of homicides committed by friends or acquaintances of the victim.

When it came to location of homicides, 65.3% of female homicide victims were killed in their homes. The vast majority of these victims were killed by family members.

Jenny and Kam’s separation appeared far from amicable, with Senior Sergeant at the time Ron Iddles stating Kam had ‘not wanted [Jenny] to leave’ (Oakes, 2012). Kam did appear to fit the profile of Jenny’s killer: he’d certainly known Jenny and the flat she’d lived in, he spoke Cantonese, and he appeared to have somewhat of a motive – anger at his wife over their divorce. However, after speaking with a workmate of Kam’s, they discovered that Kam had a solid alibi.

“He has clearly been a suspect at times”, Detective Inspector Tim Day said in a 2018 article with The Age, “However, we are satisfied at this point in time that he is not a suspect” (Boseley, 2018).

In 2021, Cold Case Homicide Squad Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Trichias mirrored that sentiment, telling the Herald Sun police were “comfortable on the evidence in hand there is nothing to suggest that [Kam] murdered Jenny”. However, Senior Sergeant Trichias also added that: “until somebody is charged [Kam] will remain a person of interest as we have to keep an open mind” (Atkinson et al. 2021).

Since Jenny’s passing, it has been reported that neither Jenny’s daughters nor her son have had any involvement with their father.

Conclusion

Jenny Rose posig with one of her children. Image Source: The Herald Sun

“I find it really difficult as to why someone would really want to harm my mum.” One of Jenny’s eldest daughters begins, “She was just so friendly, so warm, she was a lovely person, really devoted to her kids. She was always there for us and it’s really difficult to see how someone could take her life away from, you know, just herself and us kids and her family.” (Carbonell, 2012).

The death of Jenny Rose Ng may have been a source of great sadness and trauma among the Ng family, but they still haven’t given up. From dropping off missing persons flyers in Elizabeth Street to creating a website (now removed) asking for information, the Ng children have remained their mother’s biggest advocates. “Anything I can do to help bring people forward to try to give us some peace, and give us closure to the case – we would really appreciate it as a family” Jenny’s daughter states, “I certainly in my heart would appreciate this kind of closure.” (Carbonell, 2012)

Police also continue to beg the public for information. “It’s never too late to tell us what you know and any piece of information, no matter how insignificant you might consider it to be, could be exactly what investigators need”. (Victoria Police, 2018)

In 2018, the Homicide Squad announced a $1 million reward for any information that would lead to the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Jenny’s murder.

“As time passes people may feel like there’s less impact, it’s not as important, people have moved on with their lives, they’ve lived with it and it doesn’t mean so much any more,” one of Jenny’s daughters’ stated, “But it does, it means everything.” (Oakes, 2012)

If you have any information that could lead to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for Jenny Rose Ng’s murder, contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or go to the Crime Stoppers Victoria website at: https://crimestoppersvic.com.au/ 

There is a $1 Million reward available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Jenny Rose Ng’s death.

If you believe any of the information in this article to be incorrect, or know of any information that has not been mentioned in this article that may assist with the public’s understanding of this case, please contact me using the ‘Contact Me’ page on this website.

Resources

Gallagher, P., Huong, M.P.N.D., Bonney, R. (1994) Trends in Homicide 1968 to 1992, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, accessed 9th September 2021 <https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Publications/CJB/cjb21.pdf>.

Jenny Rose (2018) Victoria Police, accessed 7th September 2021 <https://www.police.vic.gov.au/jenny-rose>.

Jenny Rose Ng stabbing death: murder reward of $1 million on offer (2018) ABC, accessed 7th September 2021 <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-22/241-million-reward-offered-on-cold-case-murder-of-jenny-rose-ng/9684908>.

Carbonell, R. (2012) Family plea for information on 30-year-old murder, The World Today; Sydney, accessed via ‘Proquest’ 7th September 2021 <https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.slv.vic.gov.au/docview/1008779892/11CA28EE53840B4PQ/4?accountid=13905>.

Boseley, M. (2018) Who killed Jenny Rose Ng? $1m reward offered, The Age; Melbourne, accessed via ‘Proquest’ 7th September 2021 <https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.slv.vic.gov.au/docview/2028437658/11CA28EE53840B4PQ/2?accountid=13905>.

Atkinson, J., Atkinson, J. (2021) Melbourne cold case crimes: Bung Siriboon, Thomas Cooper, Helen McMahon, Herald Sun; Melbourne, accessed via ‘Proquest’ 7th September 2021 <https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.slv.vic.gov.au/docview/2507254175/11CA28EE53840B4PQ/3?accountid=13905>.

Oakes, D. (2012) Time has not softened the blow for murdered woman’s daughter, The Age; Melbourne, accessed via ‘Proquest’ 7th September 2021 <https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.slv.vic.gov.au/docview/1008763068/11CA28EE53840B4PQ/13?accountid=13905>.

Murder of Vic mum unsolved after 36 years (2018) AAP Bulletin Wire; Sydney, accessed via ‘Proquest’ 7th September 2021 <https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.slv.vic.gov.au/docview/2028254948/11CA28EE53840B4PQ/16?accountid=13905>.

Harrington, T. (1982) Police seek knife used by Richmond murderer, Monday 26th April, page 5, accessed via ‘Newspapers.com’ 7th September 2021 <https://www.newspapers.com/image/122112712/?terms=Jenny%20Rose%20Ng&match=1>.

Usher, R. (1984) Homicide: a way of life, The Age; Melbourne, Thursday 29th March, page 11, accessed via ‘Newspapers.com’ 7th September 2021 <https://www.newspapers.com/image/122224653/?terms=Jenny%20Rose%20Ng&match=1>.

Eccleston, R. (1982) Girls find mother murdered, The Age; Melbourne, Saturday 24th April, page 5, accessed via ‘Newspapers.com’ 7th September 2021 <https://www.newspapers.com/image/122107392/?terms=Jenny%20Rose%20Ng&match=1>.

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