The family of a Ballajura businessman who vanished nine years ago while negotiating a $1 million diamond deal have issued a fresh plea for information from the public, as the investigating officer in his disappearance revealed police believe he was killed.
As the four-day inquest into the suspected death of 57-year-old Wayne Drewett came to a close today, his daughter Debra made an emotional plea for anyone with information about her father’s disappearance in April 2003 to come forward.
“If anybody still has any information that might help reveal where my father’s remains are, that would give my family closure,” she said.
Debra said the burning desire to know what happened to her much-loved father would never go away “until we have remains we can put to rest”.
Mr Drewett was last seen by his wife Joyce on April 14, 2003 after leaving her during a getaway at Scarborough’s Observation City Hotel. She spoke to him the following day and he has never been heard from since.
In her closing submissions, counsel assisting the coroner Kate Ellson suggested the Coroner could find “beyond all reasonable doubt” that Mr Drewett had died and said there was a “very real possibility” he was killed for the money he raised for the diamond deal.
Ms Ellson said Mr Drewett, who had ischemic heart disease, has never been heard from since April 2003 and has not accessed his bank accounts, contacted his family and there were no records of him accessing Medicare.
The court was told this week Mr Drewett told potential investors he was raising the money on behalf of a facilitator who would perform an exchange and resell of diamonds for a substantial profit.
The inquest heard evidence yesterday that Romanian Nick Stuart, aka Niculae Stoian, was suspected of being the facilitator in the 2003 Perth-based diamond deal involving Mr Drewett.
The court heard evidence that Mr Stuart, who left Perth bound for Romania in April 2003, was wanted in his home country for allegedly being the facilitator in a Bucharest diamond deal in 1996 in which a financier disappeared and was presumed murdered.
Sen. Sgt Glen Potter testified a search of Mr Stuart’s Marangaroo home in May and June 2003 uncovered an underground bunker with secret rooms as well as an arsenal of weapons, diamond testing equipment and extensive literature on murder, terrorism, police investigative techniques and a book on how to dispose of a body.
He said the items they found in the house confirmed the “likelihood” that Mr Drewett had been killed and his body disposed of and indicated that Mr Stuart had the “capacity and knowledge to do it”.
Sen Sgt Potter said investigators believed there was probably never any diamonds but the idea was a good way of eliciting money from investors without “much of a trail”. He said police thought Mr Drewett believed there was actually a diamond deal.
Police tracked Mr Stuart to Bucharest but at the time there was no extradition treaty with Romania and Romanian authorities said they could not investigate a homicide without a body, with Sen. Sgt Potter revealing relations with authorities eventually “hit a bit of a stalemate”.
Coroner Peter Collins, who is due to hand down his findings in December, could refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions if he believes a crime has been committed.
Debra said sitting through the week-long inquest had been difficult for her family and when asked what they hoped would come from the coroner’s findings, she said: “a death certificate so we can move on with our life a little bit more”.Debra said her father was a wonderful family man who was dearly loved by his wife, Joyce, his children and grandchildren.