Prime suspect excused from giving evidence

·3-min read

The man police believe is responsible for the disappearance of a young pregnant woman has been excused from giving evidence in a Victorian inquest because it may incriminate him.

Kystal Fraser, 23, was just days out from giving birth when she disappeared from Pyramid Hill, in the state's north, on the evening of June 20, 2009.

Detective Senior Constable Brett Thexton has told a Victorian coroner he believes Ms Fraser - who had an intellectual disability - spoke to Peter "PJ" Jenkinson that night before she was met with foul play.

Mr Jenkinson is one of three men listed in the inquest as the possible father of Ms Fraser's unborn child.

Mr Jenkinson was on Monday called to give evidence in the inquest but he applied to be excused because his evidence could incriminate him.

Counsel assisting the coroner Fiona Batten did not oppose the application, noting Mr Jenkinson was the prime suspect in Ms Fraser's disappearance and as a homicide investigation was ongoing, his evidence could prejudice him in future court proceedings.

Coroner Katherine Lorenz agreed and granted Mr Jenkinson the application, noting the gravity of the alleged offending warranted an excusal.

Earlier on Monday, Det Sen Const Thexton told the coroner phone records showed Ms Fraser and Mr Jenkinson regularly contacted each other in 2008 and 2009.

But Mr Jenkinson stopped calling Ms Fraser from his mobile phone and landline number after a nine-minute phone call between the pair on May 13, 2009, the detective said.

It was from that date Ms Fraser began receiving calls from a phone box in Leitchville, a town 28km north of Pyramid Hill.

Phone records showed Ms Fraser received a 40-second call from that public phone box at 11.59pm on the night she disappeared.

Det Sen Const Thexton told the coroner he believed Mr Jenkinson was the person who was calling Ms Fraser from the phone box - a claim Mr Jenkinson has denied to police.

The detective alleged Mr Jenkinson told Ms Fraser to stop contacting him during their May 13 call, possibly threatening her or giving her an incentive not to contact him.

The Victorian Coroners Court was told the 23-year-old did call Mr Jenkinson's landline number from a Bendigo hospital on June 16 and 17, although the calls lasted less than a minute.

Call logs also showed Ms Fraser called Mr Jenkinson's landline number from her mobile phone on June 18 and 19 but those calls also lasted for about 20 seconds.

Det Sen Const Thexton told the coroner he believed Ms Fraser "met with foul play" on June 20, 2009.

He said the timing of the calls from the Leitchville phone box was "very suspicious".

"If the person who made the phone calls had nothing to do with her disappearance, then why has that person never come forward?" Det Sen Const Thexton told the coroner.

"I believe the phone box had everything to do with it."

The inquest will continue on Wednesday morning.

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