William Tyrrell’s foster mother was asked point blank questions about ‘what she did with William’s body’ during a secret NSW Crime Commission hearing, a court has heard.
The missing little boy’s foster parents appeared at a Sydney court on Monday where the foster father was facing charges of five counts of lying to the crime commission – a secretive government body – during a 2021 hearing into William’s disappearance.
The foster father’s lawyer Phillip English read out to the court a series of questions William’s foster mum was asked at the hearing, including: ‘Did you find his body in the ferns and in the foliage under the verandah that day?
The foster mum – who cannot be identified for legal reasons except by the initials ‘SD’ – was also asked: ‘Did you find his body and realise he has died and there’s no point calling emergency services?’
Another question asked of SD was: ‘I want to suggest to you what happened that day was William went around on that verandah and toppled over and it was nobody’s fault’.
Each of the questions were accompanied by the foster mother’s steadfast denials of having any knowledge of William Tyrrell’s disappearance in September 2014, or his injury, disappearance and death.
William Tyrrell’s foster father is facing court over five charges he allegedly lied to the NSW Crime Commission
William Tyrrell disappeared as a three-year-old and hasn’t been seen since September 12, 2014, with the case becoming Australia’s most notorious missing person’s case.
No one has ever been charged over his disappearance.
Despite Monday’s hearing involving charges against the foster father, much of the evidence heard in court related to William’s foster mother.
During a cross-examination of a police officer on Monday, the foster father’s lawyer Phillip English detailed to the court how it had been suggested to the foster mother at a Crime Commission hearing that she ‘may have dumped William’s body near a riding school’.
Counsel assisting the Crime Commission, Sophie Callan, then asked the foster mother: ‘Did you take his body down (to the riding school at Kendall, on the NSW Mid North Coast)?’
SD answered: ‘No’.
SD was then asked: ‘Did you decide to take care of the situation that was beyond remedy?’ and ‘did you decide to take care of the situation and hide his body rather than let your (SD’s) mother take .. responsibility’.
SD denied both of the propositions put to her. They related to William Tyrrell’s foster grandmother, who owned the home where he disappeared from, and has since died.
Ms Callan then put to the foster mother that SD found William’s body ‘and you put his body in your mother’s car, and that’s why you took the drive (to the nearby Kendall riding school) that day?’
Ms Callan then said: ‘Just to be clear there is no suggestion you injured him or caused his death, just that you moved his body’.
The foster mother denied Ms Callen’s allegations: ‘No, I didn’t.’
The foster father was questioned in secret in 2021 by the Crime Commission about William’s 2014 disappearance and about an alleged assault on another child
The Crime Commission’s questioning of the foster mother came after she had been door-stopped by two detectives with a summons for her to appear before it, the court heard.
The foster father was also summonsed to appear, but the court heard he was never a person of interest in William’s disappearance.
The 2021 questioning of both foster parents about William’s case came just before police renewed efforts to find the remains of the missing boy.
Tyrrell’s foster mother was last year found not guilty of lying to the NSW Crime Commission following a hearing where police alleged she had falsely stated during her evidence that she did not strike a child – who is not William – with a wooden spoon.
William Tyrrell’s death: ‘Manslaughter’ investigated
The court hearing was told that when Detective Sergeant Andrew Lonergan served the summons on SD at her home, another detective Scott Jamieson told her: ‘We’re not here to f***ing bluff, let me tell you that.
‘We aren’t guessing. We aren’t bluffing. We know how, we know why, we know where he is.’
Detective Lonergan said to SD: ‘I can tell you something … it’s not personal it’s about finding what happened to William’, to which Det. Jamieson added, ‘make a decision for William today and no-one else. We know you’re a good person.’
Longeran told SD that ‘We know William was loved, dearly loved’ and SD responded, ‘I’m trying to breathe. So you are now effectively saying you believe I hurt William’.
Under cross-examination on Monday by Mr English, Detective Lonergan said that the strike force investigating William’s disappearance had considered it was a case of manslaughter, or a case of an accident with William, followed by the disposal of his body.
William’s foster mother (left) was found not guilty of lying to the NSW Crime Commission and now her husband, JS (right) is facing court on a similar charge
Det. Lonergan said that if there had been an accident and then ‘also failing to provide first aid’, that could also be considered as a case of possible manslaughter..
Pressed by Mr English about police theories regarding the fate of William Tyrrell over the years, Det. Lonergan said ‘we simply don’t know what happened’.
The case returns to court on Tuesday.
Where the William Tyrrell investigation is at
William was three when he vanished from his foster grandmother’s house at Kendall on the NSW north coast in September, 2014.
An extensive search by SES volunteers, locals, police and emergency service personnel failed to find any trace of the toddler, leading to the belief he may have been kidnapped.
The investigation became Australia’s most notorious missing child case and in late 2021, police scoured bushland around Kendall, concentrating on a road where William’s foster mother is believed to have driven on the morning of the disappearance.
Detectives named the foster mother, SD, as a person of interest and she has since denied any connection with her foster son vanishing.
Police delivered a brief to the NSW Director of Police Prosecutions recommending SD be charged with perverting the course of justice and interfering with a corpse. The most serious charge carries a maximum sentence of 14 years behind bars.
The foster mother has since repeated via her lawyers that she had nothing to do with William’s disappearance. She has always maintained that.
The NSW Coroner’s inquest into William’s disappearance is due to resume hearings in March next year.