Police offer $1m reward to help find Les Samba's killer

Date: August 3, 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact: Crimestoppers or


A MILLION-DOLLAR reward has been offered for information leading to the conviction of horse racing trainer Les Samba's killer.

Police believe a suspected race fix could lead them to the mysterious murderer.

The 60-year-old Mr Samba (pictured) was gunned down on Beaconsfield Pde in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Middle Park on February 27 2011.

The Department of Public Prosecutions will also consider granting indemnification from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders.

On the night of Mr Samba’s death, detectives established that he left the Crown Metropol Hotel, where he was staying for the weekend, just after 9pm.

He was shot 30 minutes later by an unidentified gunman, who was last seen fleeing east along Langridge St.

A spent cartridge shell that was discovered during a search of Beaconsfield Pd in March last year has been examined and is believed to be connected to the murder.

The weapon used in the shooting is yet to be recovered.

Victoria Police’s organised crime taskforce Purana is leading the investigation.

Information on the alleged race fixing scandal came as a direct result of the Samba investigation, but police would not disclose how.

Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said police believed the race fixing scandal and Mr Samba’s murder might be connected.

"(Purana) felt if they could deal with this race fixing allegation it may assist us in solving the murder so it’s just one of a number of lines of inquiry that are being followed,’’ he said.

Mr Ashton said police had been liaising with racing officials which would allow them to further investigate if any other races had been potentially fixed.

"They’ve taken it on board and there obviously looking at the broader implications for the sport,’’ he said.

Det Sen-Sgt Stephen Cooper said Mr Samba’s family had become frustrated at the length of the investigation.

"They’re still quite concerned about the murder remaining unsolved. They’re frustrated, definitely, and I can understand their frustration but they certainly understand where we are in the investigation and what we’re seeking from the public today," he said.

Sen-Sgt Cooper said it was vital detectives learnt what Mr Samba’s movements were over five crucial hours leading up to his murder.

Purana Task Force Detective Sen-Sgt Stephen Cooper hopes the $1 million reward will encourage anyone with information to come forward to assist with the investigation.

"We are hopeful that this fresh appeal for information, along with the announcement of the $1 million reward, will lead to a breakthrough in the case,” he said.

"This investigation has taken detectives interstate, where a number of warrants have been executed. Police have also interviewed a number of people both here in Victoria and interstate but no charges have been laid.

"It’s been nearly 18 months now, and police would like to solve this murder and provide answers to Mr Samba’s family, but we need help from the community.

"Someone out there knows who is responsible for Mr Samba’s death and we are urging them to call Crime Stoppers immediately.”

The fresh appeal for information comes as Victorian organised crime detectives were probing allegations a top jockey and other racing identities conspired to fix a race last year.

Detective Supt Gerard Ryan said he believed detectives could "certainly" solve the murder if they could solve the race fixing allegation and other issues that were emerging.

It was reported racing figures involved in the apparent race fix arranged for two jockeys to ride in a way that reduced the chances of the favourite winning and boosted another horse's chances of success.

Corruption issues across Australia were also understood to be under scrutiny by police.

Along with race fixing these reportedly included money laundering, tax fraud and paying jockeys secret commissions for providing inside race information.

Homicide squad detectives have travelled to NSW, Queensland and South Australia in their quest to solve his murder.

Mr Samba, 60, was shot first in front of a house on Beaconsfield Pde. He then ran along the beachfront road but was cut down by more gunfire.

Reward information

$1 million