In­quest cops look at pits

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON chris. mcma­hon@ news. com. au

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.

SHELL BE RIGHT: Toowoomba- based artist Joy Heylen with her art­work The Crab, a fea­ture of Strand Ephemera which launches on Fri­day. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

Sgt Bren­dan Steven­son.

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