ActivePaper Archive I BUGGED TYRRELL PARENTS - The West Australian , 11/19/2021

I BUGGED TYRRELL PARENTS

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Former lead detective defends foster mother as police dogs scour under home and garage driveway scanned

Cadaver dogs have searched under the home where William Tyrrell was last seen alive as the former lead investigator into his disappearance said there was nothing to make him suspect the youngster’s foster parents.

Gary Jubelin, left, revealed he interrogated the missing boy’s foster parents and bugged their car to listen in on their conversations before they were ruled out as suspects.

His defence of the investigation he led until 2019 came as police also examined a concrete slab in the garage of the house and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said police would never stop looking for the remains of the boy detectives now say is dead.

“My late father was a policeman so I have a bit of an inkling bout the level of patience and determination required from law enforcement to never give up,” Mr Morrison said.

“For all of his family for whom it is just unimaginable, the torment that they have been going through, I hope these latest developments provide them comfort.”

William was three when he vanished from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, on the NSW mid-north coast, in 2014.

Mr Jubelin headed the investigation for more than four years from early 2015 until 2019 when he was stood down as the head of Strike Force Rosann shortly before he left the NSW Police Force.

He was convicted in April last year of making four illegal recordings of interviews with a person of interest in the case and fined $10,000.

William has never been found despite several searches over the past seven years and a coronial inquest, which remains open.

Police this week launched a fresh search acting on “new information”, with NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller revealing detectives were focusing on one person of interest.

It has since emerged that person is William’s foster mother.

She has strongly denied any involvement in or any knowledge of William’s disappearance and there has been no evidence found.

Police have said one line of inquiry is whether he fell to his death from a balcony at the property, but Mr Jubelin said that detectives had already probed this possibility.

“We investigated every theory, (did he die) of an accident, whether William was run over on the driveway or fell over and hit his head on the rock or fell off the balcony,” he said.

“That’s the most obvious place when you look at the house that a child could injure themselves.”

Mr Jubelin said his impression of the foster mother was that she “is a very decent human being”.

William’s foster parents were on Wednesday charged over the alleged assault of a child — not William — on Sydney’s upper north shore. It was reported they will defend the charges, to be heard in court later this month, by arguing the child fell from a horse.

Mr Fuller this week said the new investigation team had “inherited what was a bit of a mess”.

“The investigation was looking at some persons of interest that were clearly not, and I think some time was wasted on that, and bushland is overgrown,” he said.

But Mr Jubelin said he provided monthly progress reports to his superior officers detailing everything — “what suspects I was targeting, what the future directions were”.

Mr Jubelin admitted he had formed a friendship with William’s foster parents, however, he said he “went hard” when investigating the couple.

“I basically ambushed the (foster) parents and then I interrogated the (foster) parents,” he said.

Mr Jubelin eliminated them as suspects after a covert operation that included placing a listening device in their car. The former detective chief inspector questioned the “strange” timing of the relaunched investigation.

“I’ve been watching and I give respect to the police. I know they’re in there. They’re trying hard,” he said. “The timing of information that’s been released is a big coincidence ... it’s playing out very, very publicly.”

“All I can say, because I’ve been off the investigation for two years and 10 months, is at the time I left the investigation there was no evidence that concerned me the foster mother or foster father were involved in the disappearance. If the evidence has changed, I’m not aware of it.”

As police widened the areas they were focusing on a police dog was filmed on Thursday scouring the area under the house, while ground X-ray equipment analysed the cemented portion of the garage on the fourth day of the latest search.

Australian Federal Police used ground-penetrating radar to examine the slab, however, no inconsistencies appear to have been detected.

A mechanical digger has also been used to remove the topsoil in bush and officers are using ground-penetrating radar and 3D cameras to analyse the ground.

NSW Police revealed on Wednesday they had seized a car that belonged to the foster grandmother, who has since died.

The grey Mazda was taken from a home in Gymea in Sydney’s south under a coronial order last week and is undergoing extensive forensic examination.

Some 30 to 40 police and firefighting volunteers are helping with the search. The findings of a coronial inquest into William’s disappearance, which concluded last year, are yet to be handed down.

A $1 million reward for information on the case still stands.