How a killer came so close to capture
POLICE have evidence that a sweaty and dishevelled Raymond Mulvihill emerged from the bushes near a Carole Park drain after burying Sharron Phillips – two days after she disappeared from a convenience store at Wacol, 18km southwest of the Brisbane CBD.
A couple came forward last year after seeing news reports of police searching the area, and gave a perfect description of Mulvihill emerging from the bushes in 1986 – right down to the colour of the shovel he was carrying.
It was a chilling fit to a story Mulvihill, on his deathbed, told his son, as he ordered him to “give the girls back” and reveal the location of Sharron’s remains to police.
As he lay dying of cancer, Mulvihill told his son, Ian, he had been “nearly caught” by a couple as he carried his white shovel back to the car, after burying the 20-year-old on the Saturday night.
Sharron was last seen late on Thursday, May 8, when her car ran out of petrol at Wacol.
She found a payphone outside a convenience store and called her boyfriend, asking him to pick her up.
She called again an hour later – shortly after midnight – when he hadn’t arrived.
It later emerged he had become lost and had been further delayed by a flat tyre.
Police can place Mulvihill at the phone booths where Sharron was waiting, moments after making the second phone call. Mulvihill would park his taxi at the rear of the shop where the cab’s owner lived with his family.
He was the night driver and worked a 4pm–4am shift, but regularly finished at midnight during the week.
Police interviewed the owner of the cab and his wife. She recalled hearing noises outside on the night of May 8, and got up to investigate, but she had looked out the front door rather than the back.
They also tracked down a police officer who followed Mulvihill’s son Ian to the shop after pulling him over for a broken tail light. Ian was there to pick up his father but became caught up in the kidnapping.
In a deathbed confession in 2002, Mulvihill told Ian that after leaving him at the family home, he drove away with Sharron in the boot of Ian’s