Digital art for the tele
Digital art for the tele

Cryptic clues emerge as COVID-19 suspends Tyrrell inquest

The inquest into the disappearance of William Tyrrell has been cut short by COVID-19 before it could hear from a convicted paedophile who is accused of saying "I know where William Tyrrell is".

The final witnesses before the inquest revealed more cryptic comments from another man who allegedly made a dying confession he picked up his "best mate" and William in the sleepy town from where the boy vanished.

William Tyrrell
William Tyrrell

Counsel Assisting Gerard Craddock SC told the inquest, on Wednesday, only three more witnesses would be called to give evidence before the case was indefinitely adjourned because of the viral outbreak.

But the police investigation will not stop and a new witness has come forward, he assured the court.

"As a consequence of the evidence we have called here, there has already been a witness - who we had no idea about - come forward and they will be speaking to police," he said.

Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame said she did not consider William's disappearance a "cold case" but it was necessary for her court to close.

The inquest, on Wednesday, continued hearing from nurses who cared for Wauchope man Ray Porter in his final months of life last year.

Police search in bushland for William.
Police search in bushland for William.

Nurse Renee Jenner, on Wednesday, told the court she spoke with Mr Porter in July while his brother Tom and sister-in-law Irma visited him at an aged care facility.

They told her they were going to court.

"I said to Ray 'have you been playing up you old bugger?' and sort of laughed," Ms Jenner told the inquest.

The inquest heard Mr Porter said it was actually about "the little boy" but his visitors hushed him.

The nurse said something about that interaction made her feel sick.

"Just the way he said to me - and the way those two people carried on in that room - he said it was about that little boy and I felt I could have vomited right on the spot," she said.

Her evidence followed comments by another nurse who, on Tuesday, claimed a distressed Mr Porter confided in her that he "didn't do anything wrong".

"All I did was give my best mate and a boy a lift," Kirston Okpegbue recalled him saying in April last year.

 

Nurse Kirston Okpegbue
Nurse Kirston Okpegbue

Ms Okpegbue asked him if he was talking about William, who had vanished from the tiny town of Kendall five years earlier.

He said yes, he had picked up his "best mate" and the "cute little boy" in Kendall and driven them 300 kilometres north.

Mr Porter did not name his "best mate" but the inquest heard staff only knew of two friends - "Phil" and "Frank".

Mr Porter's relatives, on Wednesday, told the inquest the dying man had been upset by repeated visits from detectives working on William's case who wanted to know about "Frank".

The relatives said Mr Porter spoke with detectives about a time when he was fishing with "Frank" and two children approached - Mr Porter had told the children to stay away from the water.

 

Irma said she had hushed Mr Porter, when the nurse was in the room, to put him at ease because their court case had nothing to do with "the little boy".

Frank Abbott in 2014
Frank Abbott in 2014

Irma said she had been sorting Mr Porter's documents after his death when she found a letter sent to him from "your good friend Frank".

The letter, which appeared to be sent from a prison, asked Mr Porter to move "Frank's boat" to a lady's house, the inquest heard.

Irma destroyed the letter, she said.

"Was it your impression that Ray was scared of Frank?" Mr Craddock asked her.

"I would have to say yes," she responded.

The inquest has been focused this week on convicted paedophile and person of interest, Frank Abbott, with numerous people giving evidence he was a close friend of Mr Porter.

Abbott has watched the proceedings from a NSW prison where he is locked up for abusing children.

Abbott has never been charged for William's disappearance and denies all involvement in the mystery.

He was expected to give evidence this week but, as a result of the court's closure, will not.

An acquaintance of Abbott, on Tuesday, told the inquest he had been telling "everyone in Kew" that he "knew where William Tyrrell is".

Abbott was previously acquitted of sexual charges against another child and acquitted in the 1990s of murdering a teenage schoolgirl two decades earlier.

The inquest is set down for an administrative hearing on June 1, but there is no indication of when hearings will resume.



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