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Cackling babysitter Mandy Martyn denies killing toddler Daniel Thomas, gives reporters a spray

The babysitter found by a coroner to have killed toddler Daniel Thomas refuses to admit she took his life.
Mandy Martyn told the Herald Sun to "f--- off" and hurled a bottle of water at the journalist and photographer when approached as she left Wangaratta Court this afternoon.
The Herald Sun cannot detail why she was at court for legal reasons.
When asked if she killed Daniel, Ms Martyn cackled to herself while trying to hide under the hood of her pink and purple striped jacket. "Hey, this is a public place, f--- off," she said.
She then escaped into the Centrelink office next door where she snuck out the back door and jumped into a car, believed to be driven by her daughter.
It comes just two weeks after Coroner Jacinta Heffey delivered a damning finding into the 2003 death, saying Ms Martyn killed Daniel and his mother Donna Thomas contributed to his death because she failed to protect him.
The Herald Sun today struggled to find anyone in her community who could say a good word about her.
One man even helped the media who were trying to interview her by pointing out the direction she ran.
A police source described her as “a horrible, horrible woman”.
Ms Martyn had not shown up at the inquest into Daniel’s death.
She has not been charged with his death.
But the Herald Sun can reveal she will face Wodonga Magistrates Court next month, following a series of offences over three months from April to May.
Benalla Police have charged her with intentionally cause injury and make threat to kill, plus two counts of unlawful assault and two counts of behave in ab offensive manner in a public place.
Handing down her finding on Daniel’s horrific death, Coroner Heffey told how the last weeks of Daniel’s life in Myrtleford were appalling.
“From September 2003, when his mother took him to live with Ms Martyn until his death seven weeks later, Daniel was exposed to cruelty amounting to torture,” Ms Heffey found.
Before his death, the two-year-old had been subjected to cold baths, punished by being made to lie in a starfish position, gagged, bound locked in a cupboard, beaten and repeatedly abused.
Ms Heffey said Daniel died on or about October 13, 2003, as a result of injuries inflicted by Ms Martin, and Ms Thomas had contributed because of “her inaction and failure to protect her son”.
Ms Martyn was baby sitting Daniel Thomas when she reported him missing October 17.
Ms Heffey said over the following days that Ms Martyn gave police at least three different version of events in relation to his disappearance. Daniel’s body was not found until March 2008, when dogs discovered bones buried beneath Ms Thomas’ former home, but an exact cause of death could be determined.
“He may have died from strangulation, drowning or closed head injury,” Ms Heffey said.
Ms Martyn told at least three people that she had disposed of the body, but falsely claimed Ms Thomas had strangled her son to death.
Noone has been charged over his death.
But following the Coroner's finding, Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey confirmed police were now reviewing the evidence and a police investigation was “active”.

www.news.com.au (17-7-2014)
http://www.news.com.au/national/cackling-babysitter-mandy-martyn-denies-killing-toddler-daniel-thomas-gives-reporters-a-spray/story-e6frfkp9-1226992357445



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Babysitter Mandy Martyn killed Daniel Thomas, and his mother Donna contributed to his death, coroner finds

Babysitter Mandy Martyn.

Toddler Daniel Thomas was killed by babysitter Mandy Martyn and his mother Donna Thomas contributed to his death because she failed to protect him, a coroner has found.
In a damning finding delivered this morning, Coroner Jacinta Heffey said the last weeks of Daniel’s life in Myrtleford were appalling.
“From September 2003, when his mother took him to live with Ms Martyn until his death seven weeks later, Daniel was exposed to cruelty amounting to torture,” Ms Heffey found.
Before his death, the two-year-old had been subjected to cold baths, punished by being made to lie in a starfish position, gagged, bound locked in a cupboard, beaten and repeatedly abused.
Outside court, Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey confirmed police were now reviewing the evidence and a police investigation was “active”.
Daniel’s father Kevin Ruffels said he was shocked his former partner Ms Thomas had been blamed, but said he hoped Ms Martyn would “rot in hell”.
“I hope she gets her right whack,” Mr Ruffels said.
“She was obviously the main suspect.”
Coroner Heffey delivered 28 page finding into Daniel’s death and said he was killed on or about the October 13, 2003.
Ms Heffey said Daniel died as a result of injuries inflicted by Ms Martin, and Ms Thomas had contributed because of “her inaction and failure to protect her son”.
Ms Thomas wept as the finding was delivered.
Ms Martyn was baby sitting Daniel Thomas when she reported him missing October 17, Ms Heffey said over the following days that Ms Martyn gave police at least three different version of events in relation to his disappearance.
Daniel’s body was not found until March 2008, when dogs discovered bones buried beneath Ms Thomas’ former home, but an exact cause of death could be determined.
“He may have died from strangulation, drowning or closed head injury,” Ms Heffey said.
Ms Martyn told at least three people that she had disposed of the body, but falsely claimed Ms Thomas had strangled her son to death.

www.news.com.au (3-7-2014)
http://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/babysitter-mandy-martyn-killed-daniel-thomas-and-his-mother-donna-contributed-to-his-death-coroner-finds/story-fnii5sms-1226976214934


DANIEL THOMAS INQUEST: Wait for finding after blame game

Daniel Thomas’ killer has not been revealed, but light was shone on what happened to the toddler immediately before his short life ended.
The inquest on the Myrtleford toddler ended at the Wangaratta Coroner’s Court yesterday before Coroner Jacinta Heffey.
It involved seven days of finger-pointing as blame shifted between his mother, Donna Thomas, who was present for most of the proceedings, and babysitter Mandy Martyn, who refused to appear on the grounds of self-incrimination.
There was evidence yesterday from former friend of Ms Martyn, Madeline Kelly (nee Greene).
She told of her 2008 conversation with Ms Martyn, the day Daniel’s remains were found.
“She said to me she had found Donna strangling Daniel one night,” Ms Greene said.
“She told me Daniel was gone — gone as in dead.”
Yesterday also saw a declaration from Ms Martyn’s elder daughter, now 22 and who has finished studying social work, that she “didn’t agree” with child abuse.
“Anyone responsible for that sort of behaviour should be put in jail for life,” she said.
This came after a week of the court hearing evidence that her mother and Ms Thomas had abused Daniel.
They had tied him to a bed, gagged him, bound him and placed him in a cupboard.
The daughter was the last of her three children to give evidence. The names of all three were suppressed.
“My siblings and I went through a lot,” she said.
“There are things I don’t want to re-live.”
She said she couldn’t recall what happened to Daniel and denied being abused by her mother, but laid blame on Ms Thomas for killing the toddler.
“That is my personal view,” she said.
The detective who investigated Daniel’s death, Detective Sgt Russell Sheather, also gave evidence.
Sgt Sheather spoke of a 10-year investigation that began as an wide-scale search for a missing two-year-old before it morphed into a murder inquiry.
He said there was evidence Daniel had died before Thursday, October 16, 2003 — the day before he was reported missing.
He said police had tracked the movements of Ms Martyn and Ms Thomas that week and Ms Thomas was not home from Wednesday until Friday.
He discounted several theories Ms Martyn had told friends and acquaintances from 2003 to 2008 as to how Daniel went missing.
He said his investigation was laid out openly and extensively before the inquest in the “search for the truth”.
The search continues with Ms Heffey yet to fix a date next year to hand down her findings.

www.bordermail.com.au (19-12-2013)
http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/1982535/daniel-thomas-inquest-wait-for-finding-after-blame-game/


DANIEL THOMAS INQUEST: ‘If only we had said something’

Neil Campbell felt compelled to go to police about what Mandy Martyn told him the day Daniel Thomas disappeared.
At the Wangaratta inquest into the Myrtleford toddler’s death yesterday, a woman broke down speaking of her guilt at not saying something and reporting Daniel’s abuse to police, while her husband said the day he met Daniel still haunts him.
Mr Campbell told Coroner Jacinta Heffey he’d heard several different versions of how Daniel disappeared from Ms Martyn.
She spoke to him while they were at the home of David “Monkey” Williamson — whom Mr Campbell described as a local drug dealer — at Myrtleford on October 17, 2003.
It was the same day Ms Martyn reported to police that Daniel was missing and that same night, Mr Campbell went to police in Myrtleford.
“I knew something had happened to that child,” Mr Campbell said.
“I was obligated to go to police.”
Days before Daniel disappeared, Ms Martyn, her three children, Donna Thomas and Daniel visited the home of Rosemarie Loader and her husband David Munro — the first time the adults met.
Ms Loader and Mr Munro said Ms Martyn made admissions to hitting Daniel.
The couple said Daniel was made to sit on the floor and stare at a piece of lino and go behind a couch as punishment.
Mr Munro told the court he had seen Donna kick Daniel.
They said they reported the incidents to Mungabareena Aboriginal Cooperative days later, too scared of Ms Martyn to go to police.
“We did the only thing we felt we could do, we went to our own people,” Ms Loader said.
“The guilt we have lived with... if we had have gone the next day and said something, that little boy might still be here.”
Mr Munro said that day he saw Daniel still haunted him.
“I can see that little man on my floor getting beaten up,” he said.
Another witness, Dora Kneebone, spoke of Ms Martyn’s behaviour in her shop D & K Top End Takeaway in Myrtleford the morning Daniel was reported missing.
She said Ms Martyn came to her store at 7am in a “foul mood”.
“She said ‘Have you got any nappies, extra large. What sort of f---ing mother leaves her kid’,” Ms Kneebone said.
“Mandy further stated ‘She was supposed to get the six o’clock train last night, but she didn’t f---ing ring me till 11 o’clock, what was she doing?’.”
The inquest continues on Monday.

www.bordermail.com.au (14-12-2013)
http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/1972631/daniel-thomas-inquest-if-only-we-had-said-something/


Daniel Thomas' dad finds closure with DNA confirmation

The father of missing toddler Daniel Thomas says he can now plan a funeral for his son following the grim confirmation that remains found in a Victorian backyard are those of the two-year-old.
Kevin Ruffels said the eight weeks since the remains were found by two dogs in the north-east Victorian town of Myrtleford had been "terrible''.
Homicide detectives confirmed today the bones found buried in the backyard of a house were those of Daniel, who disappeared on October 17, 2003.
"The last five years have been a living hell and the past eight weeks have been terrible, I thought the DNA testing would have been a lot quicker,'' Mr Ruffels told AAP today.
"But now that we know it is definitely him, we can get some closure, we can move on and plan his funeral.''
At the time the remains were discovered, Mr Ruffels said because Daniel's body had not been found, he had held on to the hope he was still alive.
Today, he said the next step in the tragedy was to find out who was responsible for the little boy's death.
"Police have to put the pieces together to finally put the cuffs on who is responsible and hopefully they will be taken away in the next few weeks,'' Mr Ruffels said.
Police said investigations were continuing into the cause of Daniel's death and subsequent disposal of his body.
The remains had undergone extensive DNA testing at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to confirm their identity.
Daniel and his mother Donna Thomas - Mr Ruffels' former partner - had once lived in the Lawrence St house where the skeleton was found.
They had moved to another house not far away in Standish St when Daniel went missing while in the care of babysitter Mandy Martyn.
Daniel's remains were discovered when the current occupant of the house, Jodie Simpson, found her two pet rottweilers playing with a skull and other bones dug up from the yard on March 18.
Ms Martyn was arrested last year over Daniel's disappearance but no charges were laid.
Mr Ruffels said he and Ms Thomas no longer talk to each other but police have told him they will have to sit down and plan their son's funeral arrangements.
"Since she became friends with Mandy Martyn there have been no talks between us,'' Mr Ruffels said.
"Homicide detectives have told us that as parents we will have to sit down and work it out together.''

The Australian (20-5-2008)
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/news/daniels-dad-finds-closure-in-dna-results/story-e6frg6of-1111116394161

Hope Dies For Toddler

The sister of missing and feared dead toddler Daniel Thomas has moved out of their mother's home.
The sister, 14, is living with an aunt, who took in the teenager after she decided she no longer wanted to live with her mother.
Daniel's mother and her former housemate, who was the last person to have seen the child, have been questioned at length over Daniel's disappearance in October 2003.
The development came as Daniel Thomas's father arrived at the crushing conclusion his son was dead.
"Unitl now, we've hoped they'd find him alive," Kevin said.
"But we are realising it's probably unlikely."
Police have asked that a person who supplied them with information about the location of the toddler's body to call them back, saying they believed the tip was credible.
Daniel had been in the care of Ms Martyn when he vanished from their Myrtleford home.
His mother had been out of town at the time he was reported missing. Relatives told the Herald Sun Daniel had been badly neglected before his disappearance.
Daniel's mother and her former housemate have publicly claimed to have no knowledge of what happened to the boy.
This week, the teenager's aunt said Daniel's sister had chosen to leave her mother because she did not like the home environment. She claimed her mother had little interest in her daughter's welfare.
"I thought that because she had already lost one child she might want to hold on to the other one, but she doesn't seem to care," she said.
She said Daniel's mother had suffered moments of depression since Daniel's disappearance.
Police have asked anyone with information to call Crimestoppers.

Herald Sun (9-4-2006)
Carly Crawford

Father's Plea On Missing Son

The father of a missing toddler desperately hopes a mystery phone call to police may solve his son's fate.
Two-year-old Daniel Thomas disappeared from his mother's home in Myrtleford in October 2003.
Police said an anonymous caller last week contacted Crime Stoppers and gave "credible information" about where Daniel's body was buried. They appealed to the mystery caller to ring back.
Daniel's father, Kevin Ruffels, said last night he hoped and prayed his son was alive.
But Mr Ruffels, said police believe the caller has been genuine so the chance of Daniel being alive was very remote.
"If this caller does come through, which I hope they do, it will take a big burden off our shoulders and give us some closure," he said.
Mr Ruffels said he had been living a nightmare since Daniel's disappearance and wanted whoever was responsible jailed.
"No one just disappears off the face of the earth," he said.
He pleaded with the caller to contact police again.
"If what your saying is true, don't hold back any longer. Put us out of our misery and let us have some closure on this so we can get on with our lives and give Daniel a decent burial," he said.
Mr Ruffels said his former partner, Daniel's mother Donna, would have ben hurting as well yesterday.
The pair have not spoken since shortly after Daniel disappeared.
Mr Ruffels said yesterday his son would have been going to school this year, as he would have turned five on February 2.
"It would have been his first year at school," he said.
At the time of his disappearance, Daniel was in the care of babysitter Mandy Martyn.
Yesterday, Ms Martyn reacted angrily to media crews outside her Myrtleford house.
Ms Martyn told police at the time she left Daniel alone for some time while she went to Wangarratta.
When she returned he had vanished.
Ms Thomas put Daniel in Ms Martyn's care two days earlier while she attended a nursing course in Shepparton.

Herald Sun (7-3-2006)
Anthony Dowsley/ Holly Lloyd-McDonald

Caller Clue In Missing Toddler Case

An anonymous tip could lead homicide detectives to the body of a toddler who went missing in Victoria's northeast more than two years ago.
Two-year-old Daniel Thomas was reported missing from his home in Myrtleford, 280km northeast of Melbourne, on October 17, 2003, but extensive police searches failed to find him.
Detective Inspector Steve Francis of the homicide squad said an anonymous caller to Crime Stoppers last week gave "valuable and credible information" on where Daniel's remains were hidden.
He said detectives appealed for the person to contact Crime Stoppers again, saying police needed further help before conducting a search.
"Operationally, it will be step by step, but we would definitely like to speak to this person before we take those physical actions and move towards a specific area," he said.
"I'm hoping this person calls back. Hopefully we can meet with this person and get further details."
Daniel's mother and father, Donna Thomas and Kevin Ruffels, and other relatives had been advised of the call, Det Insp Francis said.
"It's a difficult situation. Investigators have spoken to Mr Ruffels and Donna Thomas and advised them that this has occurred," he said.
"There's that balance of `don't get the hopes up too high', but we're keen to speak to this person because of the value of the information.
"I guess as a parent with children ... you want that closure to a horrible chapter in their lives and, from a police perspective, it is valuable information if we locate the remains and forensically we can progress further."
The caller's anonymity would be maintained, he said.
Daniel was last seen in the care of babysitter Mandy Martyn, who was minding him while his mother Donna attended a nursing course in Shepparton.
Daniel and his mother had been living with Ms Martyn and her three children in their Standish Street home for several weeks.
Daniel, an asthmatic, was wearing heavy bandages to cover severe eczema when last seen at the house.
Ms Martyn told detectives that on the day of Daniel's disappearance, she had left him alone in the house for several hours while she took her children to Wangaratta.
She raised the alarm with a neighbour when she returned home.
Detectives believe it was highly unlikely Daniel wandered away, and that he probably met with foul play, Det Insp Francis said.
Police in 2004 offered $100,000 reward in the case.

AAP (6-3-2006)
Jamie Duncan/ Jane Bunce


New Twist On Daniel

Police are to re-examine evidence in Myrtleford about the disappearance of toddler Daniel Thomas.
As the first anniversary of the mystery approaches, his father said detectives were likely to return to the town. "They've let us know that they'll be revisiting the area," Kevin Ruffels said.
Daniel, aged two at the time, was reported missing from his Standish St home on October 17, sparking an intensive investigation.
Police canvassed almost every house in the northeast Victorian town, searched Aboriginal sacred sites and scoured rubbish tips.
It is believed the investigation, led by Detective Senior Sergeant Rowland Legg, is progressing.
Mr Ruffels, still hopeful of finding his son alive, has no plans for a memorial ceremony.
"Until they find a body, we're still holding out hope that he's alive. We don't want to do any of that until we know," he said.
"This has been hell."
Mr Ruffels said he had not heard from his former partner, Daniel's mother Donna Thomas, since February when she returned to Myrtleford to follow up a tip about the location of her son's body. Nothing had resulted from the tip.
Ms Thomas has kept a low profile, despite a plea for public assistance in finding her son, who suffered asthma and eczema, in the week following his disappearance.
"This is a mother's worst nightmare. Please bring him back to me so this nightmare can end," she said at the time.
The last person known to have seen Daniel alive was babysitter Mandy Martyn, who shared a house with Ms Thomas and Daniel.
She was caring for the boy at the time he vanished.
Ms Martyn has been questioned repeatedly by police. Early this year she said she had nothing to do with the disappearance.
She suggested other people close to Daniel knew more about his disappearance than she did...Crime Stoppers-1800 333 000.

Herald/ Weekly Times (10-10-2004)
Carly Crawford






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