The inquest into the disappearance of William Tyrrell has heard that the toddler was likely abducted by a “sneaky complex offender” who chose to “act on their desires”.
The toddler vanished from his foster grandmother’s home in the sleepy town of Kendall on the NSW Mid North Coast almost five years ago.
Counsel Assisting Gerard Craddock SC opened a second round of hearings at the NSW Coroners Court in western Sydney, with the conclusion that: “William was taken and removed from the vicinity in a car”.
Mr Craddock said it was not rational to think that William could have kept ahead of police, emergency services or flocks of citizens involved in the initial search for the three-year-old when he vanished on September 12, 2014.
Citing research from the United States, Mr Craddock said 97 per cent of children who go missing were abducted by a family member.
But, he said, “very few family members” had access to William on the day he disappeared.
“If William was murdered, and it’s a big if, it may be one of those rare cases of 3 per cent,” he said.
“The offender in such crimes is a sneaky complex offender who has hidden their desires for some time and has chosen to act on their desires.”
Despite endless searches of bushland and more than 15,000 pieces of evidence, there has been no sign of William.
“Worldwide these cases have proven most difficult to solve,” Mr Craddock said.
The inquest heard how NSW police believe the case — described as one of the state’s most complex investigations — can still be solved despite no eye witnesses and no forensic evidence.
More than 50 witnesses are expected to give evidence at the second round of hearings, but Mr Craddock warned the media against naming and shaming anyone.
“Characterising a person as a ‘person of interest’ does not signify that a person committed a crime,” he said.
“This is an inquest and not a criminal trial — it would be wrong for any of us to believe that anyone called here is guilty of homicide.”
Former NSW homicide detective Gary Jubelin, who was removed from the investigation earlier this year, sat inside the court room, as well as the William’s biological parents and grandmother.
The second part of the inquest is sitting in western Sydney for the next two weeks before it moves to Taree courthouse on the NSW Mid North Coast, near where William disappeared.
A $1 million reward remains in place for information leading police to the whereabouts of William.