Dulcie Birt
Dulcie Birt Contributed

Dulcie could not have died in the manner killer claimed

DULCIE Birt could not have died in the manner the man who killer her alleged.

Alwyn Gwilliams, who received a 10 year jail sentence for her manslaughter last year, says Ms Birt, 31, died when his Mitsubishi Triton ute hit a tree while they were out four-wheel driving in bushland near her Riverview home on October 21, 2009.

But expert witnesses yesterday told an inquest into Ms Birt's death that the ute in question showed no signs of the damage that would have resulted had it indeed been involved in the high-speed impact necessary to cause a fatality.

Sergeant Darryl Morrison, the officer in charge of the Ipswich Forensic Crash Unit, told deputy state coroner John Lock that even though the ute was in a poor condition when he examined it in November, 2009, "none of the number of areas of damage were consistent with a fatal traffic concern".

Sgt Morrison also conducted a re-enactment with the vehicle on the 300-metre section of bush track on which Gwilliams alleges the accident took place, putting the ute through slow and fast runs and executing rapid deceleration moves like you would get if you braked suddenly. The performance computer attached to the ute during that exercise registered a force well below 1G when fatals usually occur at a force above 4Gs.

Gwilliams, who has been jailed previously for assaulting a former partner, told police he had panicked and dumped Ms Birt's body in waist-high water at Jacobs Well. Her body has never been found.

Professor Anthony Ansford, a forensic pathologist with almost four decades of experience, testified that a fatality was not reflected either by the minimal damage seen on the body of the ute or the fact that only a very small trace of blood was found inside the vehicle.

"There would have been more blood within the vehicle if the occupant was killed as a direct result of an accident," Professor Ansford said.

"There is a possibility of death caused by internal bleeding but there is no evidence in this case that there was sufficient impact to cause internal damage."

Prof Ansford, who Gwilliams' defence team initially asked for expert opinion, said it was "highly unlikely" Gwilliams's version of events occurred as he said.

He also added that if Gwilliams had placed Ms Birt's body in the stagnant water as claimed, she would have risen to the surface within two days.

The inquest continues today with Gwilliams travelling from his Gatton prison cell to give evidence.


Creating support links

Creating support links

Emerald woman starts depression/anxiety support group.

Bush adventures kids will love

Bush adventures kids will love

Local author inspires big rural dreams.

What can you do?

What can you do?

Chance to learn life-saving skills.

Local Partners