TRACKING THE TRUTH
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.