Vic man arrested for SA cold case murder

Caroline Schelle

A DNA breakthrough has led to the arrest of a Victorian man over the "vicious" murder of an Adelaide woman more than a quarter of a century ago.

Mother-of-two Suzanne Poll was stabbed to death while she was working at the Sands & McDougall shop in John Street at Salisbury in 1993 and the case remained unsolved.

On Friday police arrested a 46-year-old man from Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, after a warrant was issued for murder.

"It was only yesterday that we got written confirmation that we had a (DNA) match.The majority of today has been spent trying to locate the present whereabouts of the offender in Victoria," Detective Superintendent Des Bray told reporters on Friday.

The DNA had initially been recovered at the crime scene 26 years ago, but despite database searches and hundreds of checks against people there was no match until recently, the detective explained.

The attacker was injured during the "vicious and sustained attack" and had left a considerable amount of DNA at the scene, he said.

Despite regular checks on national and international databases there were no matches until recently.

"A recent familial link led to further inquiries in recent weeks with confirmation of the DNA match yesterday leading to today's arrest of a man in Ballarat," Det Sup Bray said.

The case shocked the community and police had spent 26 years until Friday trying to track the killer.

"We believe this crime most likely started as a robbery, but don't understand why is escalated into the murder of a completely innocent woman," Det Sup Bray said.

Ms Poll was counting the takings at the shop when a man entered at closing time about 9pm on Thursday April 29, 1993.

She was attacked and tried to flee to a back room but was stabbed to death.

The police revealed the alleged killer had never come under investigation before and he had lived just 300 metres away from where the mother-of-two worked.

Detectives from South Australia will travel to Ballarat over the weekend and are expected to apply for the man's extradition on Monday.