William Tyrrell inquest hears more on likely abductor

 

POLICE on a second search for William Tyrrell last year found bones, a speargun, shovels, toys and backpacks, all items possibly "connected with a small child and the disposal of a body".

A search of Benaroon Drive and thick lantana in surrounding bushland by 40 police officers with cadaver dogs in June last year found the items.

But not one was anything "indicating William's presence".

NSW Police forensic profiler in the case, Detective Sergeant Laura Beacroft, told the inquest into the three-year-old's 2014 disappearance she concluded from the finds that William had been "taken away" from the area.

Sgt Beacroft was seconded to Strike Force Rosann and conducted the four-week "forensic search" of the immediate area and of surrounding fire trails and tracks.

She told the inquest she was looking to establish that "if William was taken, whether it was someone on foot or in a vehicle, and the route within the Kendall State Forest to move from that area".

Earlier, the inquest heard the boy was most likely abducted by a "sneaky, complex offender" who was a family member, friend, neighbour, person of trust or a stranger unknown, the inquest into the missing boy has heard.

Gerard Craddock, Counsel Assisting the inquest into the disappearance of William Tyrrell, told the hearing the toddler was taken away from his foster grandmother's home by being concealed "by a stranger or somebody he knew".

"It is not rational to think he could have kept ahead of police fire service emergency service ... personnel or the flocks of citizens" involved in the search for the missing toddler, Mr Craddock said.

"William did not simply run away or meet with accidental misadventure."

 

William Tyrell Copy pics
Missing boy William Tyrell

Citing statistics about missing children worldwide, Mr Cradock said 97 per cent of the perpetrators of child abduction murders were "family members of acquaintances".

"(But) there are very few family members who had access to William on ... 12 September 2014," he said.

"If William was murdered, and that's a big if, it may be this rare 3 per cent of cases.

"Offenders in child abduction ... come in all shapes, sizes, colours, genders, economic status."

Mr Craddock said other cases revealed offenders were often "a sneaky complex character who has hidden his or her desires for some time and has chosen to act on those desires."

He said that public or media speculation about the alleged guilt of persons or witnesses called to the inquest had no basis.

"There is no evidence anyone called before this inquest was involved in his disappearance," Mr Craddock told the hearing. "This is an inquest, not a criminal trial."

He said it would be wrong to think police believed "that any witness called ... is guilty of abduction or homicide".

"It is possible some of the witnesses have further information."

Mr Craddock said if police believed a witness was guilty they would be before a criminal court.

He said suspicions raised about witnesses had resulted in "quite a degree of naming and shaming in the media".

 

Police officers searching for William Tyrrell on the third day following his disappearance. Picture: Peter Lorimer
Police officers searching for William Tyrrell on the third day following his disappearance. Picture: Peter Lorimer

As the inquest resumed in Sydney today, the missing boy's biological grandmother arrived at court.

The ex-detective who is the deposed head of the William Tyrrell strike force, Gary Jubelin, has also turned up on the morning of the first day of the inquest's resumption

Among more than 40 witnesses expected to be called over the next four weeks are a convicted paedophile, Anthony Jones, and two mystery women.

Anthony Jones has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for assaulting children and women, escaping from police custody, theft and drug possession.

He denies any involvement William's disappearance.

William Tyrrell vanished, aged three, from the care of his foster parents at a house in the NSW Mid North Coast town of Kendall on September 12, 2014.

No trace of the missing toddler has ever been found.

The list of witnesses for the inquest includes locals from around Kendall, where William disappeared in 2014, and Laurieton, where part of the search took place.

They include assorted members of the community, such as former washing machine repairman Bill Spedding, his wife Margaret, Laurieton Public School official Valda Ballesty, hairdresser Angela Eschler and people who took part in the search.

A neighbour of William's foster grandmother, Paul Savage, and NSW Mid North Coast locals Patrick Teeling and Laurieton milk vendor and former journalist, Gordon Wiegold, will also be called.

Another local man, Geoff Owen, who had installed the decking at the Benaroon Drive house where William was playing before he vanished, is also a witness.

Three police officers and Elizabeth Rowley, the wife of Laurieton police officer Senior Constable Christopher Rowley, are listed.

Husband and wife Daniela and Martin Parish, who owned Laurieton's Cafe Buzz, will be called as well as two mystery women, listed only by the pseudonyms of "Amy" and "Tanya".

Current prison inmates will be called.

 

Former NSW Detective Gary Jubelin speaks to the media as he leaves the Downing Centre Courts in Sydney, Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
Former NSW Detective Gary Jubelin speaks to the media as he leaves the Downing Centre Courts in Sydney, Tuesday, July 30, 2019. AAP Image - Dean Lewins

It is expected many of the Kendall and Laurieton locals called will give evidence in the inquest's third week, which will take place at Taree courthouse on the NSW Mid North Coast.

It has been reported that among the 19 men on the list who are not police officers is the name of a male person of interest who has not previously been identified or mentioned in public.

This is the "second tranche" of the inquest which was held briefly over a week in late March.

William's biological father has been given a Legal Aid lawyer after he and the boy's mother went unrepresented at the March week of hearings.

Coroner Harriet Grahame told William's biological parents and his foster carers at the March hearing the inquest may recall them for further questioning during the second tranche.

Witness Anthony Jones last year was released from prison after serving a sentence for child molesting.

Jones, who has previously ­denied any involvement in William's disappearance, is expected to give evidence at Taree.

Jones was one of a number of known child sex offenders under the microscope of Strike Force Rosann in relation to William's disappearance.

Strike Force Rosann's former commander Gary Jubelin, who was removed from the investigation, may also be called.

The former detective chief inspector left a four-decade career in the NSW Police Force last month and has faced court on four alleged breaches of the Surveillance Devices Act.

Mr Jubelin has pleaded not guilty to all four charges, which relate to his investigation of a witness in the case.

 

Police and local volunteers resume their search for a third day around Kendall after William Tyrrell vanished. Picture: Nathan Edwards.
Police and local volunteers resume their search for a third day around Kendall after William Tyrrell vanished. Picture: Nathan Edwards.

Counsel assisting the inquest Mr Gerard Craddock said it was "reasonable to assume William was taken and removed from the vicinity in all likelihood in a car".

"Police thought early on there was human intervention."

Mr Craddock said because of William's "age, need for water and the impact of the elements, experts thought he could not have survived" on his own.

But he said "cases like Williams are the most difficult to solve" and that while detectives are still investigating "there has been no conclusive breakthrough".

He said part of the inquest's hearings would be kept secret from the public or media when persons who may be able to shed light" on Williams disappearance gave evidence.

"There are those whose conduct has been scrutinised ... widely.

"There is a need to protect people from serious harm.

"People offer evidence (against others) with motives ... of revenge or favourable treatment."

Mr Craddock flagged that witnesses to be called included "people in custody".