Beau­mont kids break­through

IT’S A COLD CASE THAT HAS RE­MAINED ONE OF AUS­TRALIA’S MOST EN­DUR­ING MYS­TER­IES FOR 52 YEARS

New Idea - - Contents -

On Aus­tralia Day in 1966, three sib­lings from the Beau­mont fam­ily – Jane, nine, Arnna, seven, and Grant, four, dis­ap­peared dur­ing a trip to Ade­laide’s Glenelg beach.

The trio caught a bus to­gether at 10am – with the seafront just five min­utes away. But this time, the kids never came home.

They were re­ported miss­ing by their par­ents, Nancy and Jim, at 7.30pm, five hours after they were due to re­turn.

Their dis­ap­pear­ance stunned Aus­tralia – trig­ger­ing a mas­sive miss­ing per­sons in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The chil­dren have never been found – they are pre­sumed mur­dered – but fol­low­ing shock findings from a ma­jor new Seven News in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a pos­si­ble gravesite has now been lo­cated.

Com­pelling in­for­ma­tion from a year-long probe has led po­lice back to part of a fac­tory in Plymp­ton, where it’s be­lieved the chil­dren’s bod­ies may lie in a sin­gle grave. With a new search due to get un­der­way, we take a look at the no­table rev­e­la­tions in the case that has haunted Aus­tralia for over half a cen­tury...

THE MYSTERY BATHER

Eye­wit­nesses on the beach the day the chil­dren dis­ap­peared pin­point them play­ing un­der a sprin­kler on the grass at 11am. Ap­par­ently the kids weren’t alone. A slim, blond man in a blue bathing suit was also present.

The man was ly­ing on his front watch­ing the three chil­dren play. A short time later, the kids were seen buy­ing snacks us­ing a one pound note. But they hadn’t left home with that much cash – lead­ing to ques­tions about who gave them the money.

WHAT THE POST­MAN SAW

A lo­cal post­man who knew the Beau­mont chil­dren well said he spot­ted them at around 3pm on the day they dis­ap­peared.

Ac­cord­ing to the post­man, the trio were walking away from the beach – alone – and seemed happy, even stop­ping to say hello to him.

Po­lice trusted the post­man’s ac­count at the time, but of­fi­cers be­lieve he may have mis­judged the time the event took place, with the en­counter, in fact, hap­pen­ing ear­lier in the day.

A NEW WIT­NESS

In March 1988, a woman came for­ward say­ing she had also seen the chil­dren with a man on the day they van­ished.

The woman – who was 10 at the time – said she’d played with Jane Beau­mont, un­til a man came to col­lect her and her sib­lings.

In an in­ter­view with New Idea, she said that Jane had pointed at him and said they had to go with him, be­fore the sib­lings col­lected their things.

‘I was watch­ing tele­vi­sion at my god­mother’s house when their pho­to­graphs came on the news,’ she re­called.

‘I recog­nised them straight away as the new friends I’d made at the beach. I knew some­thing had to be very wrong about them go­ing away, but I re­ally didn’t un­der­stand it all...’ she said.

THE HOAX LET­TERS

Two years after the kids dis­ap­peared, Nancy and Jim re­ceived three let­ters. Two were sup­pos­edly writ­ten by their daugh­ter Jane, and the other was from a man who claimed he had the chil­dren.

His let­ter said he’d ap­pointed him­self ‘guardian’ of the kids and was will­ing to hand them back.

But when Nancy and Jim drove to the des­ig­nated meet­ing place, fol­lowed by a po­lice of­fi­cer, no-one ar­rived. Years later, foren­sic tests showed the let­ters were a hoax.

A NEW GRAVESITE

A year-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Seven News, led by veteran jour­nal­ist Michael Usher, has used state-of-the art tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant break­through. The tech­nol­ogy pin­pointed a pos­si­ble burial site at a fac­tory in Plymp­ton.

The area had been ex­am­ined be­fore, but in­quiries sug­gest it was the wrong spot. An area of ‘dis­turbed earth’ mea­sur­ing a me­tre wide, two me­tres long and two me­tres deep, was found – a spot as Usher puts it: ‘The size of a grave.’

The site was iden­ti­fied by two men, who re­vealed a for­mer owner of the fac­tory had asked them to dig a trench there.

That man was Harry Phipps – a wealthy busi­ness­man who died in 2004. But they didn’t make the con­nec­tion un­til Phipps was named as a sus­pect.

‘The hairs on the back are stand­ing up,’ one of those men, David Harkin, told Seven News.

EV­I­DENCE, FROM THE SUS­PECT S SON

Phipps is de­scribed by Bill Hayes, a for­mer SA de­tec­tive, as ‘a preda­tory pae­dophile and dan­ger­ous man’, whose home was lo­cated just 250 me­tres from where the Beau­mont chil­dren were last seen. In an in­ter­view aired by Seven News, Phipps’ es­tranged son Haydn claimed he saw the Beau­mont chil­dren in the back­yard of that home on the day they van­ished.

‘Yeah, I seen them come in. They were lost and on their own and the de­scrip­tion matched them iden­ti­cally,’ he said. SA po­lice have con­firmed they will con­duct a dig that could solve one of Aus­tralia’s most baf­fling cases once and for all.

The Beau­mont chil­dren Arnna, Grant and Jane (left) dis­ap­peared in 1966. New ev­i­dence links Harry Phipps (right) to the case.

New footage from a ma­jor Seven News in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals a pos­si­ble gravesite at a fac­tory in Plymp­ton, for­merly owned by Phipps.

Nancy and Jim Beau­mont’s (in­set right) kids went miss­ing at Glenelg beach, spark­ing a mas­sive search. Now, a Seven News in­ves­ti­ga­tion has un­cov­ered new ev­i­dence. MICHAEL USHER’S MA­JOR IN­VES­TI­GA­TION ON THE BEAU­MONT CASE AIRS WED­NES­DAY, JAN­UARY 31, 9PM,...

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