No chance for mum, son on 'bad magic' trip

·3-min read

A mother and son who disappeared on a boat trip in Port Phillip Bay in an attempt rid the elderly woman of "bad magic" didn't stand a chance.

Felicity Loveday, 83, and Adrian Meneveau, 56, left Frankston for a three-day trip on December 11, 2019.

Their capsized boat was found four days later, but they've not been seen since.

Victorian coroner Audrey Jamieson held an inquest on Wednesday into their disappearance and while she won't hand down formal findings until later this month, she believes both are dead.

Ms Loveday practised Buddhist mysticism for the greater part of her life, while Mr Meneveau followed her beliefs while acting as her full-time carer for the last seven years of their lives.

Ms Loveday had dementia and suffered a stroke in 2018. Mr Meneveau had a history of mental illness.

He believed his mother had incited bad magic by practising her spiritual beliefs and it could only be dispelled with salt water.

Mr Meneveau bought a boat, which he registered and insured in his sister's name. He gave his sister Christina his online passwords, banking credentials and a document appearing to be a will, leaving his estate to her.

Detective Chris Obst said in the days before the duo disappeared, searches for "sea burial" had been made on Mr Meneveau's computer.

Christina Meneveau helped her mother onto the boat on December 11 and saw them off. Both were wearing life jackets.

Mr Meneveau sent a text later in the afternoon advising all was well and that was the last contact. Ms Meneveau reported them missing on December 14.

Det Obst said he was immediately suspicious about the circumstances and believes there's pieces of this puzzling story he'll never know.

"For me it was the significant delay in the report, it was Felicity being 83 years old and frail, and believing that she was going to be OK on a vessel for three days on Port Phillip Bay," he said, describing the boat as a lake fishing vessel at best.

"I can categorically say from December 11 to 15 when the vessel was located, that vessel in those conditions would not have stood a chance."

He was also suspicious about photos taken at the time of departure. It showed Ms Loveday seated in the front of the boat while Mr Meneveau dealt with supplies in the back. Both were wearing life vests.

It was unusual that a search and rescue team would have photos of the vessel on the day it was last seen.

The boat was found switched off, in neutral and capsized on December 15. The life vests were also found.

The inquest heard Ms Meneveau made a claim on the insurance policy in January last year and was paid out the insured value.

Det Obst said Ms Meneveau had been very "matter of fact" and "philosophical" about her family's disappearance and believed they had died.

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