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Russell death was suspicious: NSW coroner

AAP logoAAP 13/10/2016 Andrew Leeson

After an inquest and the acquittal of a man charged with his murder, the family of NSW man Andrew Stephen Russell are still searching for answers about his 2009 death.

On Thursday NSW deputy coroner Harriet Grahame ruled that although Mr Russell's body has never been found, he died in suspicious circumstances.

In referring the case to the homicide squad's unsolved file she acknowledged the pain of Mr Russell's family, saying: "Andrew's death is clearly suspicious, and yet no person has been convicted."

"I offer Andrew's family and friends my sincere and heartfelt condolences," she said.

She found the 23-year-old died on or shortly after June 2, 2009, probably in the Bathurst or Sofala area in the NSW Central Tablelands but the exact cause and location of his death was unclear.

Six years after Mr Russell went missing, a long judge-alone trial in the NSW Supreme Court acquitted Tony Simmons of murder.

Mr Simmons had previously made admissions relating to Mr Russell's death to undercover police officers during an elaborate charade that involved officers posing as members of a fake criminal organisation, Ms Grahame said in her findings.

He later told police he was "only talking s..." and was acquitted of the murder in May 2015.

"Without fresh evidence I am unable to establish the manner, cause or place of Andrew's death," the coroner said.

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