TRACK­ING THE TRUTH

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - News -

SBS and NITV in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Al­lan Clarke (pic­tured left) was one of the win­ners at last month’s Walk­ley awards – earn­ing recog­ni­tion for his re­mark­able five-year re-ex­am­i­na­tion of the 30-year-old cold case of indige­nous man Mark Haines.

Found dead on rail­way lines in north-west NSW, Haines’ death sadly wasn’t the last un­der such sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances; with Clarke tipped off about the sim­i­larly tragic end to teenager Stephen Smith’s young life back in Oc­to­ber, 1995 on the same train line, in Quirindi, near Tam­worth.

The 18-year-old from nearby Wer­ris Creek was a pop­u­lar lo­cal, tal­ented foot­baller and promis­ing high school stu­dent, from a re­spected fam­ily. Walk­ing home from a party, po­lice would claim he took his life wan­der­ing onto the tracks; but his dis­traught fam­ily have never be­lieved their per­son­able boy, nick­named “Whiffy”, would end his life in that way.

When a funeral direc­tor told the fam­ily po­lice had claimed he had their per­mis­sion to burn the young man’s clothes, alarm bells be­gan to ring. Clarke al­leges what has fol­lowed is an “out­ra­geous” cover-up of mur­der.

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