Home ruined  in Dodd search
Hunt for clues: Police at the Badgingarra property. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

The owner of a property where police did not find any clues to Hayley Dodd's disappearance says the Badgingarra house was "destroyed" and left uninhabitable by the search.

Kahu Smiler has not stayed a night at the North West Road farmhouse, about 1km from where 17-year-old Hayley was last seen hitchhiking on July 29, 1999, since police tore it apart in late November.

The property became the focus of the investigation into the suspected homicide, codenamed Operation Bluegum, when new information emerged in a review of one of WA's most baffling cases.

Police finished the four- week search on Christmas Eve without uncovering any relevant material.

Mr Smiler said big sections of the home's concrete flooring had been removed and walls cut through. Reticulation and trees surrounding the house had been damaged.

"They've just totally destroyed it," Mr Smiler said yesterday. "It's not livable. The septic tank system has all been ripped up."

Mr Smiler, a shearer who spends months away from the property because of his work, has engaged leading Perth lawyer John Hammond to represent his interests.

Mr Hammond estimated the damage bill at the property would exceed $200,000.

He said Mr Smiler had so far been obtaining quotes for repair work, a responsibility which should fall on police.

"They're the ones that caused the damage - they now need to fix it," Mr Hammond said.

"My concern is the search started well before Christmas and, as yet, nothing has been repaired at Mr Smiler's property.

"He has a house which he can't live in."

A police spokesman said negotiations with Mr Smiler were continuing "in terms of trying to return (the home) to an appropriate condition".

_The West Australian _understands Mr Smiler received financial assistance from the Government for accommodation during and after the search.

Police have publicly thanked Mr Smiler for his co-operation.

Mr Hammond did not rule out seeking damages for the inconvenience caused to his client.

He said Mr Smiler had no objection to police trying to find evidence relating to the case of Hayley Dodd.

A coronial inquest into the teenager's disappearance, which was scheduled to take place last month, has been postponed.


The West Australian

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