THE police officer who first spoke to the Morcombe family has told an inquest that an official missing person report would have gone to an empty office.
Sergeant Robbie Munn said he tried to put Bruce and Denise Morcombe at ease when they reported Daniel missing after 7pm on December 7, 2003.
He said he took immediate action by putting a broadcast out with Daniel's description.
But Sgt Munn said it was not a perfect broadcast to Sunshine Coast police because he did not have a clothing description and had no real idea about the 13-year-old's movements.
"An official missing person report at that time was impractical or ineffective," he said.
"It would have been forwarded to an empty office.
"Back in 2003 it wouldn't have had any staff manning that bureau on a Sunday, not till 9am on a Monday."
Morcombe witness 'saw man again'
A WITNESS in the Daniel Morcombe inquest told a court he saw a man with “striking” similarities to the man he saw the day the 13-year-old disappeared just after he helped an artist prepare a sketch of that man.
Barry Kelsey told Maroochydore Coroners Court he was leaving the police station, eight days after Daniel went missing, and saw the man sitting in the foyer.
“I felt hairs on the back of my neck. I had just come from the artists. It was a definite likeness,” he said.
“I’m not saying it was the same guy but it was remarkably similar to the guy I saw.
“I actually rang the police after I noticed this person and it was a weekend and the detective I spoke to took the details and said he would get back to me.
“When I didn’t hear anything I rang police and spoke to the same detective.
“He intimated ‘don’t call us again, we’ll call you’.”
Mr Kelsey, who recalls contact with police 10 to 12 times mostly at their request, said he then wrote a letter to police because he was not sure it would be followed up.
“I was down there that many times, some of the younger detectives were making comments like ‘are you on the payroll now?’ Just jokingly,” he said.
Mr Kelsey said he had seen a similar man standing near Daniel at 2.05pm on December 7, 2003.
He had just passed three buses parked at the Woombye intersection moments before he saw Daniel.
Mr Kelsey described the man as “rough” and he looked odd near Daniel who was “neat and tidy”.
He said it looked like Daniel had drawn a line in the dirt and was walking along it with his arms out.
Mr Kelsey said he appeared to be muttering to himself or singing but then he saw the other man and thought he might have been talking to him.
He said he was called upon to look at photos or comfits of persons of interest.
"There was no one in any of the photos who looked like the man I saw," he said.
The inquest continues.
Morcombe investigation continues
THE people most likely to hold vital clues in Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance will be unveiled during the continuation of an inquest in Maroochydore this week.
After hearing eye witness accounts from many of the 54 people who saw the 13-year-old before he disappeared on December 7, 2003, the inquest is now delving into the, at times gruesome, details of 35 persons of interest police investigated.
From today until Thursday, the coroner’s court will hear from officers with the most intimate knowledge of the remaining persons of interest, who police could never elevate to a suspect, and the officers who first responded to the missing persons report.
Coroner’s assistant Peter Johns, Morcombe family lawyer Peter Boyce and Michael Nicolson, acting for police, will then make submissions on which persons of interest – as well as relevant family, friends, associates, eye witnesses or informants connected to those people – should be called to give evidence.
“The overarching test is whether there is a forensic purpose in calling that person by way of assisting your honour to make your findings,” Mr Johns has told the court.
“If you decide other witnesses should be called, summonses will be issued to those persons.
“It will be necessary at that time to consider whether you should invoke your coercive powers under the Coroners Act, which allow you to compel a person to give evidence if you consider it is in the public interest that such an order be made.
“The witness then is accorded some protection with respect to how the evidence is given and can be used.”
If any of the persons of interest or their associates are called, the inquest is expected to resume on December 13 for another week of evidence.
Further weeks in January or February may also be necessary.
The main purpose of the inquest into the 13-year-old’s suspected murder is to find out if, and how, he died.
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