Inquest focus on police
Investigation flaws highlighted
THE initial reaction of police to Lucille Butterworth’s disappearance in 1969 has been thrown into the spotlight as the coronial inquest into her fate enters its third week.
The 20-year-old model vanished after being dropped off at a Claremont bus stop on August 25, 1969.
She was on her way to a charity function at New Norfolk, where her boyfriend John Fitzgerald lived.
Yesterday the court was told of failings in the initial police inquiry. A review of the investigation about six months after Ms Butterworth disappeared said police had not checked the alibis of sex offenders known to be in the vicinity, had not checked Ms Butterworth’s desk and work locker or spoken to all her workmates at radio station 7HO, and had not checked her bedroom.
It also said there was no evidence that Ms Butterworth would run away.
Documents from the early police investigation revealed that while some officers continued to believe she had run away even a year after she went missing, others were con- vinced that a crime had been committed.
On Monday witness Joan Webber, who had been married to Lucille Butterworth’s brother Jim at the time, said Lucille had spoken of being disturbed by Geoffrey Charles Hunt, a neighbour of her boyfriend John Fitzgerald in New Norfolk.
“He used to watch Lucille over the fence when she was sunbaking,” Ms Webber said.
Hunt, who spent 22 years in jail for murdering Hobart woman Susan Knight in 1976, was named as a key “person of interest” at the start of the coronial inquest. He is expected to give evidence this week.
Last week witness Lance Lesage told of having buried a woman’s body that he believed was Lucille Butterworth’s but he later retracted the claims.