Tyrrell neighbour’s two-hour window of mystery: Inquest

Nobody saw a neighbour questioned by police over the suspected abduction of William Tyrrell for two hours immediately after the NSW child disappeared, an inquest heard.

Kendall local Paul Savage lived across the road from where the boy in the Spider-Man suit went missing while playing in his foster grandmother's garden on September 12, 2014.

The elderly Benaroon Drive resident told the NSW Coroners Court he joined in the search for the three-year-old after a neighbour knocked on his door to raise the alarm just before 11am.

Mr Savage agreed his memory was "a bit cloudy" when Counsel Assisting Gerard Craddock SC highlighted several inconsistencies between his testimony and the accounts he and others have given to police over the five years since William disappeared.

William Tyrrell was three when he disappeared. Picture: NSW Police
William Tyrrell was three when he disappeared. Picture: NSW Police

The 75-year-old claims after briefly speaking to the youngster's foster grandma, he began scouring nearby bushland alone for William and ran into a local married couple, despite neither neighbour recalling seeing him.

"You didn't go look around your house. Was there any reason?" Mr Craddock asked on Thursday.

"No, not really," Mr Savage replied.

"You didn't go and tell (the foster grandmother) or anybody else there that you'd looked up around the fire trail and you couldn't find him … why did you go into the bush?" Mr Craddock later asked.

"Because I knew that the little fella couldn't cover a lot of territory," he said.

The court also heard Mr Savage checked storm drains near Benaroon Drive in his initial search for the boy.

"That's another detail you haven't given in your statements … is your memory a bit cloudy as to some of these aspects now?" Mr Craddock asked.

"Yes it is," Mr Savage agreed.

Extensive searches of the area around where William disappeared have been carried out. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Lorimer
Extensive searches of the area around where William disappeared have been carried out. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Lorimer

No-one saw Mr Savage for the two hours to 1.15pm when his brother-in-law said he arrived in his driveway, the court heard.

Mr Savage denies any involvement in the boy's disappearance.

In a previous police statement, Mr Savage said he briefly saw the distressed foster dad "crying and upset" when he first visited the foster grandma's house to check what was wrong - something the widower can't remember seeing now.

Witnesses saw the child's panicked foster father frantically crying out for William in the street around that time, but Mr Savage told the special Taree hearing he hadn't noticed any screaming in the street.

"You didn't hear anyone calling out William's name?" Mr Craddock asked.

"Not that I remember," Mr Savage replied.

There have been no confirmed signs of William Tyrrell since he disappeared. Picture: NSW Police
There have been no confirmed signs of William Tyrrell since he disappeared. Picture: NSW Police

A video of the pensioner's voluntary police walk-through recorded three years after William vanished was played to the court on Thursday, where he retraced his steps on the fateful day for detectives who'd turned up to his house unannounced.

Mr Savage said he couldn't hear any children as he walked down the street following his morning bushwalk, but that changed when he later ate breakfast on his patio around 8.50am.

"I'm sitting down having my cup of tea and you can hear kids laughing," he said in the police video.

A police officer with a dog investigates a during the search for William Tyrrell evidence north of Kendall, NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Lorimer
A police officer with a dog investigates a during the search for William Tyrrell evidence north of Kendall, NSW. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Lorimer

Mr Savage told the court he believed his late wife was with him at the time because he recalled telling her: "it's good to hear the kids playing."

Phone records show Mr Savage spoke to his hospital-bound brother for the eight minutes to 10.07am and detectives believe William disappeared between 10.05am and 10.15am.

Phone records also show that three minutes after Mr Savage's wife Heather left to play Bingo, he called an X-Ray business at 10.41am to make an appointment - something he couldn't remember doing while giving evidence in the witness box.

William's foster mother called triple-zero just before 11am, telling emergency operators he'd been missing for around 15-20 minutes.

The inquest continues before NSW deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame.



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