Opinion: Society a safer place with Holdem behind bars

The years fly by. It doesn’t seem that long ago the now long-retired Detective Inspector Mal Griebel was leading the hunt for missing six-year-old Louisa Damodran. But in fact it was 30-odd years ago - 1985 to be exact.

Griebel’s regular updates on 3ZB became legendary as the city waited with baited breath in the hope she had been found alive.

She had gone missing on her way home from school in Bromley, and a huge search was under way.

Mal Griebel, 2007
Mal Griebel, 2007
As appeals for sightings of Louisa continued, behind the scenes police already knew the situation was grim.

A member of the public told police a car she was following contained a child who matched the description of Louisa.

The child seemed distressed, almost wanting to get out of the vehicle, but she put it down to an argument with the male driver, probably her father.

With this information and a good description of the car, it didn’t take long for Holdem to become suspect No 1.

A known child sex offender, he had just been released from prison.

He was tracked to a motor camp in Woodend, where he was staying with a woman.

Holdem was a career criminal who was used to being interviewed by the police. He would not be an easy customer to crack.

He stuck to his story he wasn’t anywhere near Bromley when Louisa went missing.

It was initially backed up by the woman he was staying with, but as time went by the stories began to change.

Peter Joseph Holdem.
Peter Joseph Holdem.
It was the moment detectives were waiting for. The door had slightly opened and in they went. Holdem’s alibi was quickly shot down. Police knew they had their man.

But it was too late for Louisa.

Holdem had throttled her and thrown her in the Waimak where she had drowned.

Louisa Damodran.
Louisa Damodran.
On Thursday, we reported another Parole Board hearing to determine if Holdem is safe to be released in the community.

Not surprisingly he isn’t.

Holdem himself didn’t even seek parole. He probably knew he wouldn’t get it.

Holdem is now in his mid-60s and has been in jail since 1986.

Society is a safer place with him behind bars.







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