Po­lice probe ‘a waste of time’

The West Australian - - NEWS - Shan­non Hamp­ton

The man ac­cused of ab­duct­ing and mur­der­ing Hay­ley Dodd 18 years ago told de­tec­tives they were wast­ing their time in­ves­ti­gat­ing him be­cause he was “not guilty”.

Fran­cis John Wark made the re­mark at the end of a recorded po­lice in­ter­view in November 2013, con­ducted while he was serv­ing time in prison for the vi­o­lent ab­duc­tion and rape of a hitch­hiker in North Queens­land in 2007.

De­tec­tives trav­elled to Townsville to carry out the in­ter­view, which was played to the Supreme Court yes­ter­day dur­ing Mr Wark’s judge-alone mur­der trial.

The 61-year-old is ac­cused of lur­ing 17-year-old Hay­ley, who was last seen walk­ing along a ru­ral road near his Badgin­garra prop­erty on July 29, 1999, into an old util­ity be­fore killing her and hid­ing her body.

It has never been found. Giv­ing ev­i­dence, cold case homi­cide squad Det-Sgt Dar­ren Bethell said Mr Wark was in­ter­viewed dur­ing Det-Sgt a re­view of the case in 2013, say­ing he formed the opin­ion his al­ibi “did not give him an al­ibi for the time we were look­ing at”.

Af­ter be­ing quizzed for more than three hours, DetSgt Bethell asked Mr Wark if he wished to say any­thing fur­ther, to which he replied: “I'm not guilty. You're wast­ing your time.”

Ear­lier, Mr Wark was ques­tioned in de­tail about his move­ments on the day in ques­tion. He said he went food shop­ping in Moora, about 55km away, be­fore re­turn­ing home, pack­ing away his shop­ping and set­ting off on his mo­tor­cy­cle to Perth for a party.

Mr Wark said he never made it to the party be­cause he was in­volved in a crash and was ad­mit­ted to Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal that af­ter­noon. He said the first he heard of Hay­ley’s dis­ap­pear­ance was when a friend, who had stayed at his house in the days prior, told him “some­one dis­ap­peared up near your place” so he “tuned into the TV”.

Asked by Det-Sgt Bethell what his re­ac­tion was, he replied: “Shocked” and “I won­dered what went on, ac­tu­ally, or what was go­ing on”.

Mr Wark said he de­cided to con­tact po­lice, who later took a state­ment from him, in which he said he did not see any hitch­hik­ers on the day Hay­ley van­ished and would have stopped if he had.

“I have hitched be­fore and know what it’s like to be stuck,” he said.

The pros­e­cu­tion case, which is in its sixth week, is due to fin­ish to­day.

De­fence lawyer Dar­ryl Ryan yes­ter­day told the court that “at this stage” Mr Wark, who has pleaded not guilty to wil­ful mur­der, would not be elect­ing to give ev­i­dence.

‘His al­ibi did not give him an al­ibi for the time we were look­ing at.’

Pic­ture:Sharon Smith

Det-Sgt Dar­ren Bethell leaves court yes­ter­day.

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