William Tyrrell

‘Someone has taken him’: William’s carer

Update at 10.50am, Tuesday 26 March 2019:

William Tyrrell’s foster mother has told a coroner she immediately thought “someone has taken him” when the NSW town of Kendall fell quiet and the three-year-old boy vanished without a trace.

“I couldn’t hear a thing. It was silent, there was no wind, there were no birds,” the woman said in Sydney on Tuesday at an inquest into William’s disappearance and suspected death in September 2014.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC, asked: “In your experience, that little part of this little village, sound carries pretty well?”

“Oh, unbelievably. You can hear everything,” the foster carer replied.

She said she was left standing in the backyard of her mother’s house on the mid north coast wondering why she couldn’t hear William or see him in his red Spiderman suit because “it hasn’t been that long”.

He’d been playing “daddy tiger” and roaring at the two women.

“My immediate thought was somebody has taken him and he’s gone,” she said.

The woman, who cannot be identified, had a blue-and-red “Where’s William?” ribbon pinned to her chest as she sat in the witness box giving evidence.

On Monday, she testified having seen three cars on the street the morning he disappeared – including one white and one grey car parked between two driveways.

The woman on Tuesday said she didn’t realise until after William went missing that those two cars were gone.

“I know in hindsight that they weren’t there but whilst I was searching I didn’t. In the initial stage, it didn’t even occur to me that those cars weren’t there,” she said.

Mr Craddock said he expected the evidence before the inquest would establish William “was taken” and his disappearance “was the direct result of human intervention”.

The first week of hearings will explore William’s foster and biological families, when he disappeared and the action taken shortly after he went missing.

Family members, neighbours and police will give evidence.

Further hearings will be held in August when persons of interest will be called to testify.

The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame continues.

© AAP 2019

Earlier at 8.41am, Tuesday 26 March 2019: William Tyrrell’s foster mother is due to return for a second emotional day of questioning at an inquest into the boy’s disappearance and suspected death.

The woman, who cannot be identified, on Monday told a Sydney coroner the three-year-old had been playing “daddy tiger” in his Spiderman suit but ran out of sight before everything went silent.

She had snapped a photo of William less than an hour before he vanished.

The woman said she saw three cars on the road outside her mother’s place in Kendall, on the NSW mid north coast, on the morning of his disappearance in September 2014.

Two of them were parked between driveways, which seemed “odd” for the quiet street, and she described all three cars as “old”.

“I can’t tell you how much I rack my brain and I beat myself up over not looking at number plates,” the foster carer said through tears.

She said she exchanged a fleeting look with the driver of the third vehicle, being a green or teal-looking car, who was Caucasian, in his late 50s, and a “big man” with a thick neck and “sandy, reddy-coloured” hair.

“I can see him as I’m talking to you. I can still see him and I can see that car,” she told counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC.

Mr Craddock said he expected the evidence before the inquest would establish William “was taken” and his disappearance “was the direct result of human intervention”.

The first week of hearings will explore William’s foster and biological families, when he disappeared and the action taken shortly after he went missing.

Family members, neighbours and police will give evidence.

Further hearings will be held in August when persons of interest will be called to testify.

The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame continues.

© AAP 2019

QAS Ambulance responding

Toddler fighting for life after freak accident at Qld paceway

A toddler is fighting for life in hospital after she and her family were hit by a metal starting gate in a freak accident at a harness race track north of Brisbane.

The family were sitting in the crowd at the Redcliffe Paceway when the gate on a pace vehicle failed to retract and struck them around 7.00pm Sunday night.

A two-year-old girl suffered critical facial and abdominal injuries and was rushed to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Her mother and father were also injured, along with another child, aged one, but all escaped with non-life threatening injuries.

A workplace health and safety investigation is now underway with the help of Queensland Police to determine what went wrong.

The Redcliffe Harness Racing Club has praised on social media those who assisted.

“Our thoughts and love with those injured in the mobile incident,” the club posted on Facebook.

“Thanks to everyone who helped so quickly.”

Money

International travel bans force child support debt dodgers to cough up

More and more Australians are facing international travel bans for not paying their child support debts.

A total of 1,067 people were served with a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO) in a 6 month period, which stops them leaving the country until their debt is paid.

The numbers have increased by 50 percent on the same 6 month period the year before.

It’s all part of a Federal Government crackdown on parents who refuse to meet their child support obligations.

The initiative has helped recover more than $15 million between July 1 and December 30, 2018, which is $2.5 million more than the total amount for the full 2017-2018 financial year.

Queensland came in second place for the amount of DPOs issued during the first half of this financial year.

We clocked up 237, behind New South Wales’ 276.

According to Newscorp, Queensland has the highest amount of child support debt dodgers per capita, owing a whopping total of $364 million.

The biggest ever amount recovered from an Australian parent as a result of a DPO was a lump sum of $350,000 in late 2017.

The parent was stopped at the airport, and told they could not leave until the debt was settled.

Late last year, another parent agreed to make a payment of more than $185,000 after their travel was interrupted by a DPO.

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan says the examples demonstration an unfortunate truth.

“What these examples demonstrate is that many parents have the means to pay, but are deliberately dodging their obligation to support their kids.

“Labor recouped just $6.7 million through the use of DPO’s during the 2012/13 financial year.

“We are on track to recover more than four times that amount this year,” Mr Keenan said.

“Paying child support is not a choice, it is a moral and legal obligation.

“Those who shirk their responsibilities are literally depriving their children of a better life and we make no apologies for using these tough measures to make them pay up.

“The Government’s message to parents is simple, if you can afford an overseas holiday, then you can afford to support your children.

“That should be your first priority, not jetting off for a break in a foreign country,” Mr Keenan said.

QAS Emergency Response Wehicle responding

Woman hospitalised after car rollover on Gold Coast

A woman has been hospitalised after a nasty car accident in Ashmore last night.

Emergency services were called to the scene at Southport Nerang Road just after 6.00pm, following reports a car had crashed into a property.

It’s believed the vehicle had rolled before colliding with a house.

Paramedics treated a 41-year-old woman at the scene briefly, before taking her to hospital.

Police confirmed she was the driver of the vehicle.

She’s believed to be at Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.

Virgin Australia

Gold Coast family demands change after airline leaves 9yo in storeroom overnight

A Gold Coast family is calling for Virgin Australia to change its policies after the airline put their nine-year-old son in a storage room at Melbourne Airport when they allegedly couldn’t find overnight accommodation for him.

John, 9, left Brisbane to go and visit his grandparents in Sydney under an ‘unaccompanied minor service’ last Thursday night.

Unable to land due to rough weather, the plane was instead diverted to Melbourne.

John’s grandmother, who was expecting to pick him up in Sydney, was notified that John would be put up in a hotel for the night and they would call in the morning.

The grandmother demanded to know where her grandson was, though the airline didn’t reply.  It wasn’t until 2.30am when she received a text message saying her grandson had new flights booked for the morning.

They still did not tell her where he was, even after she texted back asking “where is John?”

The next day they found out that John had spent the night in a storage room at Melbourne Airport because hotels were fully booked due to the Grand Prix.

During the night, not one phone call or text message was sent to the parents in Brisbane, who were frantically calling around trying to find out where he was.

An ‘unaccompanied minor service’ is where parents or guardians pay extra to ensure their child is supervised from beginning to end of a flight.

There are only two contact numbers on the form, the person receiving the child and the parent of the child.

Katie Meredith, the boy’s mother, told 1029 Hot Tomato this morning that policies around this service need to change.

“Not once did they think, maybe I should call the parent, make sure there’s nothing wrong with John, or that he has any other needs.

“He did just have heart surgery last month, so I definitely didn’t want him sleeping on the floor of an airport.”

“I am not at all saying that he was not treated well, basically I’m just upset that we didn’t know where he was for so long,” Ms Meredith said.

Virgin Australia has reportedly apologised for the incident and has launched an internal investigation.

Kate, the mother of the 9 year old minor who was left in a storage room after a Virgin flight was diverted, spoke to Flan, Emily Jade & Christo this morning on Hot Tomato about her ordeal.