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Fresh twist in Tyrrell mystery

An inquest is examining the disappearance of William Tyrrell from his foster grandmother’s house. Picture: Supplied.
An inquest is examining the disappearance of William Tyrrell from his foster grandmother’s house. Picture: Supplied.

The inquest examining the disappearance of toddler William Tyrrell has been pushed back until the end of this year as prosecutors continue to weigh up evidence against the missing boy’s foster mother, a court has heard.

William was three when he disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall on September 12, 2014 in what has become one of Australia’s most enduring mysteries.

His body has never been found, he is presumed dead and his foster parents have persistently and strenuously denied having any involvement.

An inquest before Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame ran for 18 months before it adjourned in October 2020 but is set to resume with another block of hearings later this year.

Ms Grahame’s findings were due to be handed down in June 2021, however they were pushed back after police began fresh investigations which involved searching around Kendall, the sleepy NSW Mid North Coast town where William was last seen.

Last year police handed a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions, which recommended William’s foster mother should be charged with perverting the course of justice and interfering with a corpse.

His foster parents continue to deny any wrongdoing and the foster mother has not been charged.

The NSW Coroner’s Court last year heard that prosecutors were at the time still deciding whether to recommend laying charges.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC told the court in September that it was expected that the DPP’s advice would be delivered to police by January this year.

The matter returned to court for a directions hearing on Friday, with Mr Craddock telling the court that he had still not received an update from the DPP after they had not met that January deadline.

William Tyrrell Inquest Released Image
An inquest is examining the disappearance of William Tyrrell from his foster grandmother’s house. Picture: Supplied

“We were hoping for an update as to where that was at before now, we were told at the end of January we’d be told something,” Mr Craddock told the court on Friday.

“As of today, that seems not to have been resolved and we haven’t got an update and we don’t know when we’ll get one.”

The court heard that the inquest could not proceed until a decision had been made by the DPP about any possible charges.

The matter was set to return to court for a two-week block of hearings next month but that has now been pushed back.

The coroner will now oversee two weeks of hearings in the weeks starting November 4 and December 16.

DOWNING CENTRE TYRRELL
William’s foster mother and father have denied any wrongdoing. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper.

In September last year, the foster parent’s solicitor Rylie Hahn called for police to disclose any evidence.

“Williams’ foster mother and foster father hold the position of calling for the disclosure of evidence which police suggest forms the basis of criminal proceedings,” Ms Hahn said last year.

“We are midway through the inquest and William remains missing and his case unsolved.

“William’s foster mother maintains she had nothing to do with his disappearance … and asks the police to continue to look for William and what happened to him.”

Police, volunteers and Strike Force Rosann detectives in late 2021 began a fresh dig for evidence in and around Kendall.

Teams scoured the garden of his foster grandmother’s home and nearby bushland.

Williams’ foster mother was in 2022 found not guilty of lying to the NSW Crime Commission.

William’s foster father was in November last year also acquitted of five counts of lying to the NSW Crime Commission.

TYRRELL SEARCH
Police and volunteers searching in and around Kendall in late 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Peter Lorimer.
TYRRELL SEARCH
Police searched creeks as part of the operation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Peter Lorimer.

The court heard that counsel assisting the coroner was also awaiting a report from the Officer in Charge of the investigation as to the steps taken by detectives following the adjournment of the inquest in October 2020.

Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame on Friday also granted leave to lawyers for the NSW Police Commissioner to appear before the inquest, which is likely to examine police standard operating procedure in relation to missing persons.

The matter will return to court in August for a further directions hearing.