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Dying killer Derek Percy offers no closure to family of missing girl Linda Stilwell

The family of a Melbourne girl who went missing 45 years ago say they are not surprised dying killer Derek Percy has shed no light on her disappearance.
Percy gave evidence from his bedside inside a secure ward at St Vincent's Hospital on Saturday, in which he denied involvement in Linda Stilwell's disappearance and suspected death in 1968.
The 45-minute coronial hearing was attended by Deputy State Coroner Iain West, police and Mr Percy's lawyer.
“I can advise Mr Percy gave evidence that he was not responsible for Linda Stilwell's disappearance and suspected death and was therefore unable to provide any assistance as to what happened to her and where her body may be,” a coroner's court spokeswoman said.
Linda's family, police and Mr Percy's lawyer had agreed on a set of questions to be put to Percy and he was granted an immunity certificate so his evidence would not be used against him in other proceedings.
Percy, Victoria's longest serving prisoner, is dying of cancer.
He has previously said he could not remember if he was responsible for Linda's death.
Gary Stilwell said he was not surprised Percy did not shed any light on what happened to his sister.
“I'm not surprised that he wouldn't speak. He hasn't spoken in 47 years. I can't see him speaking now,” Mr Stilwell said.
“I don't think he's got the humanity in him to give closure to not just our family, but other families.
“I can't seem him changing the way he's dealt with these things over the years, which is just to deny and can't remember.”
There are no plans to hold more bedside hearings with Percy at this time, the coroner's spokeswoman said.
Mr West made an interim finding in 2009 that Percy, who is linked to some of Australia's most notorious child killings, was in the area on the day Linda disappeared.
Percy was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity of the 1969 murder of Yvonne Tuohy, 12, who was snatched from Warneet Beach, southeast of Melbourne. He has been detained since.
Percy is a suspect in the unsolved murders of 15-year-olds Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt on Sydney's Wanda Beach in 1965; six-year-old Alan Redston in Canberra in 1966; three-year-old Simon Brook in Sydney in 1968; and the disappearance of the three Beaumont children in Adelaide in 1966.

www.theaustralian.com.au (22-7-2013)
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/dying-killer-derek-percy-offers-no-closure-to-family-of-missing-girl-linda-stilwell/story-e6frg6nf-1226683059561





Inquest resuming into 1968 disappearance
A Victorian inquest into the 1968 disappearance of a seven-year-old girl is set to resume

A Victorian inquest into the 1968 disappearance of a seven-year-old girl is set to resume after a legal battle over a child killer giving evidence.
The inquest on Linda Stilwell has been adjourned since 2009 while her mother has fought a coroner's ruling that child killer Derek Percy should not be forced to give evidence.
The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Linda's mother Jean Marie Priest in December and directed the inquest be reconvened.
A directions hearing will be held at the Victorian Coroner's Court on Wednesday.
Linda disappeared from the St Kilda foreshore on August 10, 1968.
Coroner Iain West made an interim finding that Percy had been in the vicinity on the day she went missing.
But he decided not to compel Percy to give evidence, in part because he had concerns the evidence would be unreliable given his mental state at the time of the abduction.
Percy, Victoria's longest-serving prisoner, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the July 20, 1969, murder of 12-year-old Yvonne Tuohy, who was snatched from Warneet Beach, southeast of Melbourne. He has been detained since.
He is also a suspect in the unsolved murders of 15-year-olds Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt on Sydney's Wanda Beach in 1965; six-year-old Alan Redston in Canberra in 1966; and three-year-old Simon Brook in Sydney in 1968.
Percy has also been named as a suspect in the disappearance of the Beaumont children - Jane, nine, Arnna, seven, and Grant, four - in Adelaide in 1966.

AAP (2-4-2013)
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/inquest-resuming-into-1968-disappearance/story-e6frf7kf-1226611179084


Child killer Derek Percy could face new questions over the death of Linda Stillwell, 7

SPECIAL REPORT: The mother of Linda Stillwell, murdered aged just 7, "can't stop crying" after hearing sex fiend Derek Percy will be forced to give evidence.
The child killer will finally be forced to answer questions about the 1968 murder after a landmark court ruling today that saw barristers in the case break down in tears.
The sex fiend could also be forced to give evidence about other unsolved child murders before a re-opened Coroner's inquest into the young girl's death.
In a landmark decision handed down by the Court of Appeal this morning and met by tears from barristers in the case, Derek Ernest Percy will also be forced to face a grilling in court about any involvement he is suspected of having in the brutal mutilation sex-killings of five other children - including the Beaumonts - across three states.
There are some who believe he is responsible for even more killings.
Linda Stilwell's grieving mother, Jean Priest, was today also in tears as she received news of the legal breakthough while visiting family for Christmas in Perth.
Mrs Priest, 73, has waited almost 45 years to learn what became of her daughter, snatched from the St Kilda foreshore and never seen again.
"I just can't stop crying, its absolutely wonderful news,'' Mrs Priest told the Herald Sun.
"It's been all this time not just for me but for my whole family and we just want to find out that it is possible we can get some answers.''
Mrs Priest said the most important answer Percy could give would be to tell what he knows about what became of Linda's body.
'We need to give her a burial, that is our main objective but just to know that he (Percy) has to finally face up to people, not just for Linda but what happened to all the other children (he is suspected of killing).
"This is just fantastic news, I feel the (Court of Appeal) judges have just given me a huge hug''
Deputy State Coroner Iain West, investigating Linda's disappearance, declined to use new laws to compel Percy to give evidence at the inquest because his apparent psychotic state in the 1960s might mean his evidence was unreliable.
Mr West made a formal interim finding that Percy, the prime suspect in the abduction, was in the vicinity of seven-year-old Linda on the day she disappeared.
Percy is currently Victoria's longest serving prisoner who faces an indefinite term for the killing of Yvonne Tuohy several months after Linda disappeared.
Percy claimed he had no memory of killing children other than Yvonne, but told police he may have abducted Linda and was in the areas where others were taken.
Mrs Priest believes Percy has for years feigned a memory lapse brought on by psychosis in relation to the abductions of killings.
"I believe that he does remember and he needs to give us some closure, not that we will ever have proper closure.''
Mrs Priest thanked her legal team of Elizabeth McKinnon and Simon Gillespie-Jones and Detective Wayne Newman who picked up the cold-case file for their persistence in the case.
Both Ms McKinnon and Ms Gillespie-Jones were in tears at today's finding.
"Wayne Newman, the policeman that went after him, he just kept on going and going.''
Following reports in the Herald Sun, the Victorian government, through Attorney-General Robert Clark, vowed to indemnify Mrs Priest from an ever-increasing legal bill as she fought her way through the courts appealing the decision by Deputy Coroner West not to compel Percy to take the witness stand.
Percy suspected in more child murders The judgment may also mean Percy will face questioning about the deaths of:

SIMON BROOK, 3
Murdered May 18, 1968, at Glebe, Sydney.
Percy stationed at nearby HMAS Kuttabul and travelled daily through Glebe. Body found near railway siding.

ALLEN REDSTON, 6
Murdered September 28, 1966, in Canberra, ACT.
Percy told police he was with his parents holidaying in Canberra at the time of the killing. Body found on creek bank.

LINDA STILWELL, 7
Abducted August 10, 1968, from St Kilda foreshore, Victoria.
Coroner West has found Percy was in St Kilda the day Linda disappeared. Linda's body has never been recovered.

JANE, 9, ARNNA, 7, AND GRANT, 4, BEAUMONT
Triple abduction January 26, 1966, from Glenelg Beach, SA.
Percy's family confirmed to police he had holidayed in Adelaide and Percy admitted being there at the time of the disappearance. Bodies never recovered.

YVONNE TUOHY
Murdered July 20, 1969, at Warneet, Victoria.
Percy made full admissions and went to trial but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sentenced to indefinite period in jail. He has remained there for 42 years. Body found near Ski Beach on Western Port.

MARIANNE SCHMIDT, 15, & CHRISTINE SHARROCK, 15 Double murder January 11, 1965 at Wanda Beach, NSW.
Percy holidayed with his family in the area at the time. Bodies found partially buried in a sand dune.

Mum's battle for justice
In December 2009, Mr West commenced an inquest into Linda's disappearance and death.
During that inquest, Ms Priest sought to rely on a number of statements made by police officers, a forensic pathologist and a psychologist that she submitted tended to demonstrate that Percy killed her daughter.
But Mr West deemed those statements irrelevant and ruled they be removed from the Stillwell brief of evidence.
Percy was called to give evidence at the inquest but objected on the basis of possible self incrimination.
Mr West ruled there were reasonable grounds for that and decided not to compel Percy to give evidence, partly on the ground that any evidence he might give could be unreliable.
"The coroner did not inform Mr Percy that if he gave evidence willingly he would be given a certificate of immunity in respect of that evidence," a summary of today's COA judgment stated.
The inquest was adjourned to allow Ms Priest to challenge Mr West's rulings.
A Supreme Court judge dismissed Mr Priest's challenge.
Ms Priest then took her fight to the Court of Appeal, where President Justice Chris Maxwell and justices David Harper and Pamela Tate this morning allowed the determined mother's appeal.
"The Court of Appeal held that the coroner was obliged to take into account most of the statements relied on by Ms Priest as relevant to the inquest into Linda Stillwell," the judgment summary said.
"It also held that the coroner was obliged to take into account the most recent medical evidence relevant to the issue of the reliability of Mr Percy's short-term and long-term memory.
"In addition, the Court of Appeal held that the coroner was obliged to inform Mr Percy that if he gave evidence willingly he would be given a certificate of immunity and the effect of such a certificate."
The judges directed that the inquest be reconvened.
Outside court afterwards, Ms Priest's barrister, Simon Gillespie-Jones, spoke of the family's happiness as Ms McKinnon wiped away relieved tears of happiness.
"The family is very happy and very relieved," Mr Gillespie-Jones said.
"The whole process has been very difficult for them."

Herald Sun (20-12-2012)
Mark Dunn/ Paul Anderson
http://www.news.com.au/national/child-killer-derek-percy-could-be-quizzed-again-on-linda-stillwell-murder/story-fndo4cq1-1226540973009

Heartbroken mum wants child-killer Derek Percy on witness stand


Court leaves mother to fight child killer alone

Grieving mother Jean Priest has been left to fight her legal battle against child killer Derek Percy alone.
Priest was left to fight on her own after the Court of Appeal refused a bid by the Attorney-General to join the case.
Despite the setback, the State Government has agreed to indemnify Ms Priest, 72, against any costs that may be awarded to Percy once a full appeal runs its course.
Attorney-General Robert Clark said he was deeply disappointed by the court's decision to reject his office's submission on how various provisions in the new Coroners Act could operate to compel people to give evidence where they may have information about someone's death or murder.
"While I am disappointed by the decision, I am pleased that Ms Priest's appeal is able to proceed and I will be watching the progress of the case very closely," Mr Clark said.
The Government involvement followed reports in the Herald Sun that Ms Priest faced a legal bill of $60,000-$80,000 to pursue Percy through the courts in a bid to force him into the witness box to divulge what he might know about her daughter's abduction and murder.
The Attorney-General sought court approval to intervene in Ms Priest's struggle to get the courts to use new powers to compel Percy to take the stand before a coronial inquest into the death and disappearance of her daughter, Linda Stilwell, 7, who was abducted in 1968.
Percy, who remains in jail for the mutilation killing of Yvonne Tuohy in 1969, is the prime suspect in the Stilwell killing, but Deputy State Coroner Iain West declined to compel Percy to give evidence in the case because his apparent psychotic state in the 1960s might mean his evidence was unreliable.
Yesterday, Justices Chris Maxwell, David Harper and Emilios Kyrou noted the sympathy they had for Ms Priest and her 43-year struggle for answers on what happened to her daughter.
But the justices found that in civil and adversarial litigation, there must be a clear separation between the state and the judiciary.
An appeal date where the Court of Appeal will consider whether Percy should take the witness stand before the Stilwell coronial inquest is yet to be set.

Herald Sun (24-6-2011)
Mark Dunn/ Stephen McMahon

Robert Clarke seeks to pay for victim's mum in Derek Percy appeal

The Attorney-General will pay any appeal legal costs imposed on grieving pensioner Jean Priest in her bid to force child killer Derek Percy to give evidence before a coroner.
Ms Priest previously battled in court to force Percy to give evidence in an inquest into her seven-year-old daughter Linda Stilwell’s abduction and murder in 1968.
The Supreme Court early this year ordered that Ms Priest, 72, must pay Percy's legal bill after she lost the first stage of her fight to force him to give evidence.
Now Robert Clark has sought the right to appear in the case, in a move being challenged by Percy as judges in the case consider concerns about possible government bias.
A final decision on whether the Minister can appear in the case has been reserved by the Court of Appeal following submissions on whether it would be improper for executive government to intervene.
Court of Appeal President Chris Maxwell has called the case unprecedented and the three judge bench today asked questions on whether the government's involvement in the appeal may undermine impartiality.
Dr Ian Freckelton SC, for the Attorney, argued the Minister wished to join the appeal “amicus curiae'', as a friend of the court and said it was vital the courts should not be seen as “lions under the throne''.
He said the Attorney was not “taking sides'' in the civil case which arose from Deputy State Coroner Iain West's decision not to compel Percy to give evidence before the inquest into the disappearance and death of Ms Priest's daughter Linda Stilwell.
“There is a major difference between inappropriate influence and an attempt to assist (the court),'' Dr Freckelton said.
"The Attorney will, if permitted, endeavour to assist the court in terms of the proper interpretation of the legislation."
The Attorney-General is seeking leave to take part in the appeal to help the court in it's interpretation of an as yet untested law, Section 57 of the Coroners Court Act, which allows a coroner to insist a person give evidence, but granting them a certficate of indeminity preventing that evidence being used in a criminal prosecution.
Percy is serving an indefinite term for the killing of Yvonne Tuohy, 12, in 1969, after being found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Herald Sun (6-4-2011)
Mark Dunn
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/robert-clarke-seeks-to-pay-for-victims-mum-in-derek-percy-appeal/story-fn7x8me2-1226034664631

Grieving mother thrown a legal lifeline

Child killer Derek Percy may yet be forced to give evidence about a 43-year-old murder mystery after grieving pensioner Jean Priest was thrown a legal lifeline by the Baillieu Government.
Ms Priest has launched civil court actions in a bid to compel Percy to answer questions on any involvement he had in the murder of her seven-year-old daughter, Linda Stilwell.
Percy, Victoria's longest-serving prisoner, has hit Ms Priest with a $48,000 legal bill in her Court of Appeal challenge to force him into the witness box at a coroner's inquest into the abduction and death of Linda, who disappeared from the St Kilda foreshore in 1968.
The move follows reports in the Herald Sun that revealed Ms Priest, 72, faced bankruptcy as a result of Percy's demands for legal bills, which to date amount to more than $80,000.
Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark yesterday lodged an application to join with Ms Priest in the Court of Appeal to clarify the interpretation of a new law, enacted in 2008, which allows a coroner to compel a witness to give evidence.
The government decision to join the court case means it will assume the cost risk associated with the appeal.
Despite finding Percy was in St Kilda and in the vicinity of Linda on the day of her abduction, Deputy State Coroner Iain West decided in 2009 not to use his new powers to grant Percy a certificate of indemnity and force him to give evidence in the case.
Percy had told police in 1969, when he was arrested for the mutilation murder of Yvonne Tuohy, 12, that he "possibly" killed Linda, but said "I don't remember".
After Ms Priest lost her first appeal to overturn Mr West's ruling, she was hit with a legal bill from Percy of $32,247 - an amount that may be erased if she is successful at the Court of Appeal.
The A-G's application to join the action is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal on March 11.

Herald Sun (5-3-2011)
Mark Dunn
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/grieving-mother-thrown-a-legal-lifeline/story-fn6bmg6l-1226016251824


Child killer to Give Evidence on Girl's 41-year-old Disappearance

A convicted childkiller linked to the disappearance of the Beaumont children has been called to give evidence about a girl who went missing 41 years ago.
Derek Ernest Percy has been called to give evidence in the coronial inquest into the disappearance and presumed death of seven-year-old Linda Stilwell in 1968.
Percy has been in prison for 40 years over the murder of 12-year-old Yvonne Tuohy and has been linked to Australia's most notorious child killings of the 1960s, including the Beaumont children in Adelaide in 1966 and teenagers Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt at Wanda beach in Sydney in 1965.
The inquest at the Victorian Coroner's Court is examining how Linda disappeared from the foreshore at St Kilda beach in August 1968.
Linda's mother, sister and brother appeared deeply affected when Percy, 61, entered the court after being brought up from the cells under the County Court building.
His thin face was framed by a long white beard and balding hair as he sat expressionless in a dark suit, flanked by two guards.
His lawyer Paul Higham has objected to him giving evidence on the grounds of self incrimination.

AAP (11-12-2009)




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