Police probe ‘a waste of time’
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.’
Det-Sgt Darren Bethell leaves court yesterday.