HEAT GOES ON IN JONES COLD CASE
Persons of interest to take stand after Supreme Court ruling
TWO people of interest in the disappearance of hitchhiker Anthony “Tony” Jones almost 35 years ago are expected to take the witness stand for the first time next week.
Kevin Wright and John Eastaughffe were last year compelled to testify after an application to be excused from giving evidence to an inquest into the cold case was rejected in the Supreme Court.
A two- week inquest hearing will start at the Townsville courthouse on Monday.
Mr Wright’s sister and niece and family members of Mr Eastaughffe are among the 18 witnesses scheduled to testify.
Tony Jones’ brothers Mark and Brian Jones have travelled to Townsville in preparation for the inquest. Mark Jones said the inquest had been a long time coming and he did not know what to expect.
“We’re hoping we’ve got enough to put an end to the mystery but if we haven’t, we hope that we continue until we can resolve it,” he said.
Mr Jones urged members of the public to come forward if they knew anything about the 35- year- old cold case.
“There’s still missing pieces, there’s still people holding back. There’s still missing ingredients that could make a difference here,” he said.
“Anyone sitting back watching – now’s the time to come forward. We’re quite sure that there’s others out there that are not quite sure whether to come forward.”
Tony Jones, 20, disappeared on or around November 3, 1982. On that day he made a call to family in Western Australia from a phone box in Townsville, indicating he would hitchhike to meet his brother in Mount Isa.
In 2002 a coroner found Mr Jones had been the victim of a homicide and a second inquest was ordered in 2010.
In inquest hearings held last September, two of Mr Wright’s former partners, Natalie Parker and Geraldine Lamont-Stanfield, claimed they were told about an alleged killing.
Ms Parker said Mr Wright once came home after drinking and allegedly told her he had killed someone.
She said he allegedly spoke of a fight with “Johnny”, where another man was knocked out.
Ms Parker claimed Mr Wright told her the men put the man’s body in the back of a vehicle and drove to “Nobby’s place” to get help to dispose of him. “He said nothing would ever be found … that they had burning pits at the slaughter yards,” she told the inquest.
Police officers detective Superintendent Ray Rohweder, detective Senior Sergeant John Mahony and detective Sergeant Brendan Stevenson will be the first to testify on Monday morning.
Mr Eastaughffe is scheduled to give evidence on Wednesday and Thursday and Mr Wright is expected to testify on Thursday and Friday. Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon is scheduled to be the final witness to take the stand.
At the end of the two- week sitting, the State Coroner will decide whether a further hearing is required or will adjourn the inquest for findings to be handed down at a later date.
WE’RE HOPING WE’VE GOT ENOUGH TO PUT AN END TO THE MYSTERY MARK JONES
MAIN PLAYERS PLAYERS: Tony Jones ( main), who has been missing since November 1982; persons of interest in the inquest into his disappearance Kevin Wright ( above left) and John Eastaughffe ( above right); Tony Jones’ brother Mark Jones ( inset right).