There is no chance of further evidence relating to the unsolved murder of Maria James being brought to light despite the recovery of a missing quilt, an inquest has been told.
Ms James, a 38-year-old mother-of-two, was stabbed 68 times in June 1980 at her Thornbury home and bookstore.
In June this year a quilted bedspread from the crime scene was recovered.
But other items of evidence, including Ms James' blood-stained clothes, have long been missing from the police exhibits.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Sharon Lacy, asked Sergeant Rodney Jones whether there was any prospects of locating Ms James' clothes, including her green jumper.
“No,” Sgt Jones told the Victorian Coroners Court.
“Because of the passage of time (and) because of the relocation processes … if it was handled or touched in the last 30 years, there would be a record of it.”
A blood-stained pillow case thought to be from Ms James' home was tested in 2003, the court heard previously.
This item was used to rule out some of the six main suspects identified at the inquest, before it was revealed in 2017 that it was from an unrelated case.
Ms Lacy said “14 years of potential progress” in the investigation was lost due to this error.
Police records show pillow slips were in fact taken from Ms James' home in June 1980, but their whereabouts are unknown.
Coroner Caitlin English asked Sgt Jones whether, given the quilted bedspread was recovered, it would be possible for the missing pillow cases to also turn up.
“I don't believe the quilt was ever missing … it just wasn't retrievable electronically,” he responded.
Ms English persisted, asking Sgt Jones whether he had pursued all possible avenues for finding the pillow slips.
“Correct,” he said.
It has also been revealed that blood-stained bedding items stored by police were destroyed in November 1994 after being considered a “biological hazard”.
Sgt Jones said he believed this may have been triggered by the HIV/AIDS crisis and a notorious Australian public safety advertisement that aired in 1987.
“The term biological hazard is motivated by the Grim Reaper campaign in the late '80s,” he said.
“That may be the motivation for not holding them beyond their investigative use.”
Ms Lacy asked if there was a commonly held fear that touching blood-stained exhibits may transfer HIV-AIDS.
“Yes, that's my opinion,” Sgt Jones said.
The inquest continues.Internet Explorer Channel Network