William Tyrrell’s foster mother has maintained she had nothing to do with the missing toddler’s disappearance, as the Coroner’s Court heard prosecutors expect to know by January whether she will be charged over the nine-year mystery.
William was three when he disappeared without a trace from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall on September 12, 2014, in what has become one of the country’s most famous cold cases.
His body has never been found and he is presumed dead. His foster mother on Friday reiterated her denial that she had any involvement in William’s disappearance.
An inquest before Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame ran for 18 months before it ended in October 2020 but is set to resume with another block of hearings next year.
Ms Grahame’s findings were due to be handed down in June 2021, however they were pushed back after police began fresh investigations which involved searching around the sleepy NSW Mid North Coast town.
In June it was reported police handed a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and sought advice on whether William’s foster mother should be charged with perverting the course of justice and interfering with a corpse.
She has not been charged and she has continuously and strenuously denied any involvement.
The inquest briefly returned to court on Friday with the NSW Coroner’s Court hearing prosecutors were still deciding whether to recommend laying charges.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC, told the court: “We became aware that an issue for advice was sent by NSW Police to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“I should make as clear as possible that that request for advice has nothing to do with the inquest.
Mr Craddock added that his office recently wrote to the DPP asking for an update.
“The DPP very recently advised us it expects its work to be complete and its advice delivered to NSW Police by the end of January 2024,” he said.
“That won’t come to us because it’s not a request for advice by this court or anyone associated with this court.”
The foster mother and foster father sat in the back of the court on Friday.
Outside court, the pair said in a statement via their solicitor Rylie Hahn that they were calling on police to disclose any evidence against them.
“Williams’ foster mother and foster father hold the position of calling for the disclosure of evidence which police suggest forms the basis of criminal proceedings,” Ms Hahn said.
“We are midway through the inquest and William remains missing and his case unsolved.
“William’s foster mother maintains she had nothing to do with his disappearance and asks the police to continue to look for William and (investigate) what happened to him.”
Asked if the foster parents expect to be recalled when the inquest resumes next year, she said: “At this stage I’m not at liberty to comment.”
Convicted sex offender Frank Abbott, who was at one point a person of interest in the case, was also present at Friday’s hearing, appearing via videolink from Long Bay Correctional Centre.
He has never been charged in relation to William’s disappearance and denies any involvement.
The inquest will now resume in March next year for a further two weeks of hearings.
Police, volunteers and Strike Force Rosann detectives in late 2021 began a fresh dig for evidence in and around Kendall.
Teams scoured the garden of the foster grandmother’s home and nearby bushland.
Williams’ foster mother was in November last year found not guilty of lying to the Crime Commission.
During those proceedings, the court heard that during a Crime Commission hearing, counsel assisting Sophie Callan put the allegation to the foster mother that William died when he fell from the veranda of his foster grandmother’s home.
“William went around on the veranda and toppled over and it was nobody’s fault,” Ms Callan said during the Crime Commission hearing, the court heard at the time.
“It was an accident that he fell down off that veranda.”
The court heard the foster mother responded: “No, I would have found him.”
She was then pressed on whether she had taken William’s body, put him in her mother’s car and dumped him in nearby bushland.
“I didn’t,” she repeatedly told the Crime Commission.
The court also heard details of a heated confrontation between the foster mother and two police officers involved in the case.
The court heard that Sergeant Scott Jamieson told the woman: “You will have to live with it. Today is the day you make a decision for William.
“We understand decisions have been made for different people for different reasons.
“We aren’t guessing, we aren’t bluffing.
“We know why, we know how, we know where he is.”