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'Known Person' Killed Sydney Toddler
The case of a Sydney toddler who was brutally murdered almost
40 years ago has been referred to the Director of Public
Prosecutions by the NSW coroner.
Three-year-old Simon Brook disappeared from his home on
May 18, 1968.
His badly mutilated body was found the next day in bushes
near his home at Glebe, in Sydney's inner-west.
The child had been suffocated with balls of rolled-up
newspaper which were forced down his throat.
NSW Coroner John Abernethy today terminated an inquest
into Simon's death after just one day, and referred
the case to the DPP.
Mr Abernethy said he believed there was a "reasonable
prospect ... that a jury would convict a known person
in relation to the offence".
Notorious child killer
Derek Percy, who is serving an
indefinite jail term in Victoria for the 1969 murder
of a 12-year-old Victorian girl, appeared before the
inquest at the coroner's order.
The 57-year-old, one of Victoria's longest-serving
prisoners, was found not guilty of the girl's murder
on the grounds of mental illness, but was jailed at
the governor's pleasure.
A Victoria Police cold case unit recently re-examined
Percy's suspected crimes and NSW investigators now
believe Percy – who was living in Sydney at the time – killed Simon.
Counsel assisting the coroner Peter Zahra, SC, said
there were "striking similarities" between the cases.
Mr Abernethy agreed, calling the two
killings "substantially and relevantly similar".
"The circumstances in which they occurred are,
again, substantially similar," he said.
Detective Sergeant Adam Barwick, who is in charge
of the investigation into Simon's slaying, today
said: "It's my opinion that Derek Ernest Percy is
responsible for the murder of Simon Brook."
But defence counsel Nathan Steel said there was "no
direct evidence at all linking Mr Percy with the murder".
"There's also no physical forensic evidence linking
him to the crime scene," Mr Steel said.
Outside the court, Simon's father Donald Brook said
he was grateful to the police and the judicial
system for pursuing Simon's killer.
"If it is possible to find out who did this and
make quite sure it's not possible for this
person to do the same thing again ... then
that will be very much in the public interest," Professor
He said the fact the coroner was referring the matter
to the DPP should give people "confidence in the system".
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Killer On Stand
Victoria's longest serving prisoner is expected
to give evidence today at an inquiry into the 1968 murder of a NSW toddler.
Child killer Derek Percy,57, was flown
to Sydney last Friday for the inquest into murder victim, Simon Brooks,3.
Percy is serving an indefinite jail term in Victoria over the
murder of Yvonne Tuohy, 12, at Western Port Beach in 1969.
He was jailed after been found not guilty on the grounds on insanity.
A year earlier, Simon Brook was found suffocated
and mutilated near his family's home in Glebe in Sydney's inner west.
An investigation by the Victorian Police cold
case unit led to Percy being ordered to appear
before Sydney's Glebe Coroner's Court for the Brook inquest.
He has been investigated by Police three jurisdictions
over a total of eight child killings and disappearances,
including the vanishing of the three Beaumont
children fron an Adelaide beach in 1966.
Police believe Percy was in each of the cities when the children were killed.
A spokesman for Victoria's Correctional Services
Commisioner Kelvin Anderson said he could not
comment on the security and travel
arrangments for Percy's trip north.
Herald Sun (13-12-2005)
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