William Tyrrell - Photo courtesy of NSW Police
William Tyrrell - Photo courtesy of NSW Police

‘I knew they’d get him’: Tyrrell inquest hears of bizarre chat

A person of interest in William Tyrrell's disappearance approached the local shopkeeper to rejoice police had "got" another man, a NSW inquest has heard.

Frank Abbott's interaction with people in the mid-north coast township of Kendall, from where three-year-old William went missing in 2014, was examined at the toddler's inquest in Taree on Wednesday.

William Tyrrell who disappeared from Kendall on the NSW mid-north coast on September 12, 2014.
William Tyrrell who disappeared from Kendall on the NSW mid-north coast on September 12, 2014.

Patrick Teeling, the Johns River General Store owner, said Abbott came up to him when news broke that Tyrrell investigators had seized a car associated with another person of interest, Tony Jones.

No one has ever been charged over the disappearance of William who vanished while playing at his foster grandmother's Kendall home on the morning of September 12.

"Frank was saying 'I knew they'd get him, I knew they'd get him'," Mr Teeling told the Coroners Court.

"I said 'Who' and he said 'That Jones chap' and I wondered what that was all about."

Tony Jones (in cap) flanked by police outside the inquest into William Tyrrell's disappearance at Taree Local Court. Picture: AAP
Tony Jones (in cap) flanked by police outside the inquest into William Tyrrell's disappearance at Taree Local Court. Picture: AAP

Mr Teeling told the court he'd not previously discussed the Tyrrell investigation with Abbott who he'd known since the early 1990s.

"So he decided he just had to tell you?" counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC, asked Mr Teeling.

"Yeah, for some unknown reasons," the shopkeeper replied.

"I did (see media coverage of Jones that night) ... it worried me why he is telling me that." Abbott, who is currently in a Cessnock jail on an unrelated conviction, was questioned by police in late 2019.

Representing himself at the inquest via video link from prison, he took issue with Mr Teeling saying he "ran up to him".

Police search for forensic evidence relating to the disappearance of William Tyrrell in the small town of Kendall. Picture: Nathan Edwards
Police search for forensic evidence relating to the disappearance of William Tyrrell in the small town of Kendall. Picture: Nathan Edwards

After Abbott suggested he had a walking frame, the shopkeeper agreed the running may not have happened.

Mr Jones on Tuesday told the court he had no recollection "whatsoever" of the day William went missing, before claiming he might have been having extramarital sex with his next-door neighbour.

Hundreds of people have been dubbed "persons of interest" during the investigation and a case detective admitted during the inquest there's "a very low standard to meet in order to become a person of interest".

AAP