A coroner has determined missing fraudster Melissa Caddick is dead following a lengthy inquest into her disappearance, decisively shutting down a widespread conspiracy theory she chopped off her foot and fled overseas.
However, while the Coroner has solved one of the major mysteries of Caddick’s disappearance – resolving it was unlikely she had her foot removed, by herself or others – more questions remain, such as how exactly she died.
Caddick, 49, was last seen near her Dover Heights home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in November 2020, after Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) investigators raided the property.
Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan on Thursday handed down her final findings into the sudden disappearance of Caddick, who had defrauded investors, many of whom were immediately family and close friends, of $23million.
‘I believe it is appropriate for me to say at the outset, I have concluded that Melissa Caddick is deceased. However, a more problematic issue is whether there is enough evidence as to how she died,’ Magistrate Ryan said.
Following the findings, Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti was seen shoving reporters as he tried to make his way into a car, with his wife’s family members inside.
The findings covered several aspects of Caddick’s disappearance, including theories as to how she died, the police investigation and her own husband’s response.
Caddick’s foot was found washed up on Bournda Beach, 400km south of Sydney, in an ASICs shoe, in February 2021.
Magistrate Ryan shut down a long-running and widespread conspiracy theory that Caddick could still be alive without her foot, and had potentially escaped overseas after somehow removing her leg.
She said it was most unlikely Caddick’s foot had been removed deliberately either by herself or another person.
However, the cause of her death is still unclear. The coroner found there is not enough evidence to prove that Caddick took her own life by jumping off the cliffs down the road from her home.
Magistrate Ryan said the inquest heard from forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle who established Ms Caddick may have had narcissistic personality disorder.
She noted sufferers of this condition may be at risk of taking their own life if they suffered something that brought deep shame onto them. But that was not enough to prove suicide – a leading police theory.
Police had suspected Ms Caddick took her own life by jumping off the cliff at Rodney Reserve, approximately 500m from her home, on the morning of November 12, 2020.
The coroner could also not make a finding with any certainty whether she died with assistance from another person, or from misadventure.
The Magistrate also took aim at Mr Koletti and found he purposely withheld information about his wife’s movements from investigators, about the time she disappeared.
He reported her missing to police on November 13, a full 30 hours after she was last seen and their family home was raided.
NSW Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan concluded that Melissa Caddick had died, but it is unclear how or when she lost her life
Ms Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti (pictured together) did not report his wife missing until he contacted Rose Bay Police Station at 11.45am on November 13 – a full 30 hours after she was last seen
The coroner was damning of Mr Koletti’s actions, saying he lied and had ‘awareness of Ms Caddick’s movements’ after she disappeared, but refused to share those with police and the courts.
She said his inability to assist the investigation could not be attributed to his low levels of intelligence.
‘Mr Kolettis evidence at inquest was riddled with inconsistencies,’ the Magistrate said.
‘It’s fair to say when he was not creating further inconsistencies, he was attempting to account for them with opaque and at times unintelligible explanations.’
One officer involved in the investigation said Mr Kolleti was the ‘most unimpressive and unreliable witness’, whose lack of candour was one of the reasons it was not possible to conclude why, how or when Caddick died.
The Magistrate said Mr Kolleti, a hairdresser, gave multiple different accounts of what happened in the time between November 11 and November 13.
A foot – which was later identified as belonging to Ms Caddick – was found washed up on Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast in February, 2021 – three months after she vanished
The court has previously heard that Ms Caddick’s shoe was covered in 250g of goose barnacles when it washed ashore.
According to an expert’s report, the barnacle growth suggested the shoe would have been free floating on the surface of the water for three-seven days before washing up.
The court heard that it’s possible the shoe drifted on the ocean floor for several months before floating to the surface and onto the beach on the NSW south coast.
Oceanographer Dr David Griffin said that according to calculations using ocean currents, it’s plausible the shoe went into the water at Dover Heights in November and was found 400km south three months later.
Pathologist Jennifer Pokorny told the inquest in a statement that it was not possible to determine the full extent of Ms Caddick’s injuries, given all that was recovered was a decomposed foot inside a right running shoe.
Nor was it possible to determine a cause of death, she said.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle told the inquest that after reviewing Ms Caddick’s medical record, as well as witness statements, it appeared she had narcissistic personality disorder.
She said that for people suffering the disorder, their self-esteem and sense of self-worth hinged on external admiration and impressing others.
Dr Eagle told the court that as a result of being charged, she would have seen herself as being in danger of losing her work and the ‘respect and admiration’ of others.
She told Ms Ryan that when ASIC raided her home, it was plausible it had a ‘very huge’ impact to her self-esteem.
‘Ms Caddick appeared to experience problems with low mood, depression and anxiety and problems coping with extraordinary stress … the low mood symptoms persisted as long as the stress persisted,’ Dr Eagle said.
She said that people with similar disorders have been known to take their own lives after a ‘major insult to their self-esteem’.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle told the inquest that after reviewing Ms Caddick’s medical record, as well as witness statements, it appeared she had narcissistic personality disorder, and that for such a person, their self-esteem and sense of self-worth hinged on external admiration and impressing others
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk