Search of bush site denied by coroner
THE family of missing hitchhiker Tony Jones have spoken of their disappointment after Coroner Terry Ryan denied their request to search slaughter yards in Hughenden.
Mark and Brian Jones’s submission to use ground- penetrating radar to capture anomalies under the slaughter yards’ burning pits was denied on the last day of the inquest into the disappearance of their brother yesterday.
The Jones family even offered to fund the expedition but Coroner Ryan denied the request, agreeing with the barrister representing the police, Michael Nicolson, that there was a lack of evidence that would suggest Jones’s remains were buried at the yards.
“The ( Queensland Police) service’s position is that there is no evidence of suspicion that would justify giving a warrant to conduct a search of that premises,” Mr Nicolson said.
Counsel assisting the Coroner Stephanie Williams said the submission was an attempt to get around a search warrant.
“Given that there is a lack of evidence … for a search warrant … and that there has been no consent by the property owner… to use your honour’s power to direct such a search of the property would be an improper use of that power,” she said. “It would be an attempt to obtain a search warrant through a back door.”
Outside of the inquest, Mark Jones ( above) said it was a disappointing end.
“We thought these sittings would be a time to talk about what should happen out at the slaughter yards in terms of excavations,” he said.
“We’d made some submissions to the coroner … and to be tying up these proceedings without even talking about it is pretty disappointing.
“It won’t be over for us and it won’t be over for the people who have been accused of being involved in my brother’s death for as long as there is no excavation of the slaughter yards, where the allegations are that Tony’s body has been disposed of in the most horrific of circumstances.
“That will hang over those slaughter yards forever, until this is resolved.
“The guilty need to be punished, the innocent need to be cleared and we need to take our brother’s remains home and give him a burial.”
Mr Jones said a lot of evidence was uncovered by the inquest and hoped the Coroner considered it all carefully.
“It was all there in the material. I guess there’s just an unknown factor of what these guys are going to say in the stand,” he said.
“I think there was some incriminating testimony there. It’s highly nuanced, but gee, some alibis were blown out of the water and some people who needed to explain a few things failed to do so.
“If anything it’s just confirmed what we thought coming into this about the guilt of certain parties.”
Coroner Terry Ryan said he hoped to have his findings ready by the end of this year. SHE’S aboutabo t t to swapwap The Strand for the catwalks of New York. Mother of two Melanie Bock will be joined by Townsville men nicknamed “the Jacksons” – Jaxon Anderson, 18, and Jackson Baker, 20 – at New York Fashion Week. The trio were selected by talent scouts of the Ozlink Fashion Program after a nationwide search. While in New York the Townsville models will walk the runway, take part in industry training, educational workshops and photo shoots. They will also experience show castings and interviews with agents. Mrs Bock broke into tears of happiness when she found out she had been chosen. “I was just so excited. It’s the fashion capital of the world.” Mrs Bock said the price of the trip was “restrictive” but she and her husband had taken out a loan and received some help from family and friends on a GoFundMe page titled “Help me live my dream”. Her love of everything fashion started young. “I’ve always wanted to do modelling ever since I was in high school. I used to put on Mum’s heels, watch Victoria’s Secret and walk around the house,” she said. The 29- year- old spends her spare- time modelling in Townsville and has been involved with the local fashion group Townsville Collective. “It’s like my outlet away from mum duties,” she said. “Otherwise I’m at home with the kids all the time.” Director and chief scout for Ozlink Talents Amanda O’Brien said Mrs Bock had everything needed to succeed in the US. “She’s got a unique and dramatic look. She’ll go well over there.” The models will leave Australia on September 7.