Signs about colleague missed in missing persons case: Detective

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Former New South Wales detective and deputy mayor of Bathurst in the state's central west told a Police Integrity Commission in the nearby city of Orange information he provided about his location on the morning a woman went missing was incorrect.

Janine Vaughan went missing at around 4 a.m. on December 7, 2001. She had left a local pub and was last seen getting into a red car. Mr Hosemans became a person of interest after Ms Vaughan's mother, Jennifer said that the only man she had heard her daughter speak about was "a guy who she had seen in Bathurst and who she described as drop-dead gorgous".

Jennifer Vaughan later found out that the man was high-profile detective and deputy mayor Brad Hosemans. Ms Vaughan's best friend said that Mr Hosemans had walked past the clothing shop that Ms Vaughan had worked in and smiled and winked at her.

At the inquiry on Monday Mr Hosemans said he was in Bathurst on the morning of December 7, 2001. In 2002 he had told the police he was at his mother's house near Newcastle at the time Janine Vaughan disappeared.

Mr Hosemans told the commission he had found an EFTPOS fuel receipt that showed he might have returned from his mother's a day earlier than he initially believed. His initial statement to police was based upon a bank statement which must have been subject to "processing delays," he said.

The officer who initially handled the case, despite being on charges of indecent assault following an incident at the Bathurst Golf Club was Mr Hosemans. He was later acquitted of the Golf Club incident but police told the inquiry it was unusual for an officer who was facing such charges to be heading a missing persons case.

Ms Vaughan's case was later handled by one of NSW's highest-ranking detectives, Detective Inspector Paul Jacob. Inspector Jacob, on Monday was asked by Mark Buscombe, counsel assisting the inquiry if he had considered Mr Hosemans a suspect at the time. "Had it hit my radar, I may have taken a different course," inspector Jacob replied.

Inspector Jacob only wrote to Mr Hosemans a year after Ms Vaughan disappeared, after claims that Mr Hosemans had a relationship with her. Facing the inquiry for a second day today, Inspector Jacob said errors had been made in the handling of Ms Vaughan's case. He told the inquiry that, after a review of evidence before him, Mr Hosemans was struck off the suspect list.

The inspector was then asked about notes he made which said, "Flowers and chocolates in weeks leading up to disappearance. Brad seen. Statement-takers left out issue with Brad." Inspector Jacob said the note should have raised suspicion but he was overworked and subsequently overlooked it.

The inquiry heard Ms Vaughan had rejected Mr Hosemans prior to her disappearance. "Ms Vaughan told (a friend) that he (Mr Hosemans) was ringing her up at night, walking past the store, asking her out, but she said no," Mr Buscombe said.