Inquest cops look at pits
THE lead investigator into the disappearance of Tony Jones has not ruled out the Hughenden slaughter yards as a place of interest, an inquest has heard.
As the inquest into the 35year- old cold case reopened yesterday, it was also revealed that police had recently excavated a section of Stuart Creek, south of Townsville, and discussed the potential digging up of a burn pit at Hughenden.
Detective Sergeant Bren- dan Stevenson, who took over the investigation from Senior Sergeant John Mahony last year, told the inquest the pair had met recently with former Townsville Regional Crime Co- ordinator Cheryl Scanlon and a forensic officer.
“( There was a meeting) to discuss the viability of obtaining evidence if the slaughter yards were to be excavated,” Sgt Stevenson said.
“We discussed the slaughter yards and the council burn pits.
“There are disclosures made in relation to that ( a body dumped at the Hughenden slaughter yards).
“At this stage we don’t have any corroborative evidence or any reliable, credible evidence to progress the investigation of that area. Until that time, both pits are of interest because of those disclosures.”
It was also revealed a section of Stuart Creek had been excavated on July 12 this year, nine months after an informant told police they saw suspicious behaviour in the area around November 1982, when Mr Jones went missing.
“The information provided said there was something suspicious … not an indentation ( in the ground), but what appeared to be a fresh mound of dirt,” Sgt Stevenson said. .
“We did a thorough examination … an exhaustive SES land search there as well, to identify any anomalies.”
Alan Brosnan, the former son- in- law of David “Nobby” Cairns, also gave evidence.
He told the inquest he had received a phone call from Mr Cairns regarding Kevin Wright, a person of interest in the cold case. Mr Cairns denied he had any involvement in Mr Jones’ disappearance during the inquest last year.
“I wouldn’t know word for word, but I’m sure he said he’d been in with the police in town and he said they’re after Kevin ( Wright) or some something,”g, Mr Brosnan said. “Then he said, ‘ can you ring Kevin and tell him to ring me, and tell him to use someone else’s phone’.”
Mr Wright is scheduled to give evidence later this week.
Outside court, Tony Jones’ brothers Mark and Brian said they hoped the inquest would bring closure. “It’s been a seven- year inquest so far, so we are just here to get some answers,” Mark Jones said.
Brian Jones said the family hoped to finally find out the truth and that they believed the investigation could never be over until the slaughter yards in Hughenden were excavated.
The inquest continues.