Missing Persons - Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte

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Maureen Braddy, Allan Whyte inquest: Teenage pair who disappeared from Bendigo 'met with foul play

Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte.

Two teens who disappeared in Bendigo in the 1960s met with foul play, a Victorian coroner has ruled.
The families of Maureen Braddy, 16, and Allan Whyte, 17, cried as the deputy state coroner released his inquest findings this morning.
The pair were last seen going to a YMCA dance in Bendigo in November 1968.
The coroner heard that neither took any clothes or money or personal possessions to the dance.
Braddy was reported missing the next evening and Whyte was not recorded as missing until at least six months later.
The court heard it appeared police and others at the time considered that the pair had run away together.
But coroner Iain West it was likely they died the night of the dance, saying the teenagers were unprepared to run away.
Mr West also found there was insufficient evidence to suggest Braddy's father was responsible for her death.
Braddy's sister Lynette Ireland gave evidence that on the night the pair went missing, she saw her father Stanley Braddy and his friend Ted Beasley carrying a bloodied body that she believed was Allan Whyte.
Ms Ireland was eight years old at the time.
The court heard Ms Ireland had worked with a hypnotherapist to help recover her memories.
"There are acknowledged dangers associated with recovered memory testimony," the coroner ruled.
"I do not find [Ms Ireland's] sufficiently reliable to justify making a finding that it was Allan she observed."
Stanley Braddy denied any involvement.
Instead, he told the court that on the night the pair disappeared, he believed they had gone to the Sandhurst Hotel where they were abducted and taken to Nagambie and placed into slavery.
Mr Braddy says in the months following the disappearance, he was contacted by two Bendigo policemen who told him the couple were being financially supported by the government and "not to worry about them".
Mr Braddy added that he believed his daughter and Allan Whyte went on to have two children and were happy with their new life.
Police described his story as "wholly incredible".
The coroner ruled Mr Braddy's father was highly suspicious at the time but he could not conclude he was involved in the deaths.
The inquest has closed but one Braddy family member told the ABC she was not satisfied with the findings.
Outside court, Maureen Braddy's sister Debra MacDonnell said she had lost some faith in the police system but congratulated Detective Sergeant Brendon Murphy for his efforts investigating the case.
"I can't knock Brendon. Brendon has done a damn good job," she said.
The family is pushing for Victoria Police to offer a $1 million reward for information.

www.abc.net.au (18-12-2014)

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'Lack of evidence' finding from Maureen Braddy, Allan Whyte disappearance inquest

Deputy State Coroner Iain West has handed down his findings following the inquest into the disappearance of Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte.
He has found there is "simply a lack of evidence" surrounding the disappearance of Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte.
He acknowledged while he believed they were dead, and foul play was most likely involved, there was not enough evidence to charge anyone.
He gave four main reasons for his findings, including the fact no bodies had been found, there were no eyewitnesses to the crime, there was no strong circumstantial evidence and "there is a simply a lack of evidence".
He said that suspect Stanley Braddy, Maureen's father, was "unco-operative and evasive", but there was not enough evidence to conclude Mr Braddy was either directly or indirectly involved in Braddy and Whyte's disappearance.
He said "suspicion and speculation" could not form the basis of charges.
He said Maureen's sister's account of seeing her father carrying a body the night the teenagers disappeared in 1968 was not "sufficiently reliable".
He said the mind sometimes "unconsciously invented" scenarios to "fill gaps", referring to the fact Lyn Ireland was able to better recall what she saw while under hypnosis as an adult, many years after her sister's disappearance.
Outside the court, Ms Ireland said she was upset with the coroner's findings.
"I just can't believe it," she said.
"I don't understand ... I'm not a happy girl."
But Ms Ireland vowed to continue to push for further investigations into her sister's disappearance.
"I'm not stopping here," she said.
Shane MacDonell, son of Maureen's sister Debbie, said the family was "gutted" by the coroner's findings.
"Everyone's upset with what he just said in there," he said.
Mr MacDonell's wife Jodie said the unsolved disappearances had affected generations of the Braddy family.
"Our kids have grown up with it," she said.
"It's very disappointing ... But we'll keep going. You don't start something then stop just because you've hit a hurdle."
She said the family's determination to continue with the case stemmed from a strong desire to find Maureen and Allan's bodies, to lay them to rest and achieve closure over their deaths.
Maureen Braddy was reported missing on November 24, 1968, and Allan Whyte is believed to have been reported missing the same day, although there is no record of this.
The pair were last seen at a dance at the YMCA Hall in Mundy Street, Bendigo, on the night of Saturday November 23, 1968.
Whyte was aged 17 and Braddy was 16.
The findings relate to inquests conducted in March 2012 and March 2013.

www.theage.com.au (18-12-2014)
Hannah Carrodus

Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte families keen for answers as Victorian Coroner to release finding

A double murder mystery that has haunted two families for almost fifty years is set to finally come to a close, almost two years after an inquest into their deaths ended.
In what they’ve described as a Christmas miracle the family of Maureen Braddy were this morning told by the Victorian Coroner’s Court that coroner Iain West would finally hand down his finding into her disappearance next week.
Maureen, 16, and her 17-year-old boyfriend Allan Whyte haven’t been seen since they returned from a bush dance in Bendigo in November 1968.
They were treated as young runaways for decades before police announced they were treating their disappearance as a murder investigation.
For more than a decade police have suspected Stanley Braddy, Maureen’s father, of being involved in their deaths.
Lyn Ireland, Maureen’s youngest sister, brought the inquest to an abrupt halt shortly after it started in March 2012 when she testified that she had seen her dad and a friend carry a bloodied body through their front yard the night the teens went missing.

Allan Whyte.     Maureen Braddy.

She said it was an image that had haunted her since then.
Ms Ireland believes one or both bodies may be buried down a well at the former Braddy home.
After they went missing Stanley Braddy concreted the well and built a dwelling on top of it.
Ms Ireland said she had been on a high since learning the finding into Maureen and Allan’s death would finally be handed down.
“It will be a nerve racking day. We’re really hoping the coroner outlines exactly what he wants done from here.
“We want that well investigated. They have been murdered.”
Ms Ireland and a string of her siblings, believe Maureen’s murder was sparked after she confided to a relative that she was pregnant.
Garry Donnelly, who owns the former Braddy home, told the Herald Sun he would be open to police inspecting the well if it was recommended by the coroner.
It comes just weeks after a police decision to shut the investigation into the couple’s disappearance.

Maureen Braddy.

The Braddy’s have been highly critical of police handling of the case.
Police have admitted to bungling the initial investigation in 1968 leaving current investigators with little or no evidence to work with.
In a record of interview with police Mr Braddy, 87, said the teens were abducted and kept as slaves in a government conspiracy, and that he stayed in touch with Maureen until her recent death.
Police have refused to comment on the case, because it is still before the coroner.

www.heraldsun.com.au (11-12-2014)
Shannon Deery

Braddy-Whyte inquest: Detective angry at lack of murder charge

The detective who led the investigation into the disappearance of two Bendigo teenagers said the case should have ended with a murder charge and not a coronial inquest.
As the four-day inquest closed yesterday, Detective Sergeant Brendon Murphy was asked whether there was any other possible explanation than the suspicion Stan Braddy killed his daughter Maureen Braddy and her boyfriend Allan Whyte in 1968.
“None at all,” he said.
He told the inquest the investigation had “worked toward” a case to have Stan Braddy charged, but there was no precise evidence to point to how the teenagers might have died.
“I was hoping to be in a different court jurisdiction... I was hoping there would be charges laid,” he said.
Detective Sergeant Murphy reopened the case in 2001 and declared it a homicide investigation, after it was listed in the missing person files for years
He told the inquest there were concerns police weren’t “motivated” to investigate the disappearance when the teenagers were first reported missing in November 1968.
The court heard that it wasn’t until October, 1969 that police formally opened a missing person report for Allan Whyte. Legal counsel acting for two of Maureen’s sisters said the files from the time showed police “did nothing”.
Detective Sergeant Murphy said the mystery surrounding the case could potentially have been resolved if “basic inquiries” were carried out at the time.
Former Bendigo Detective Sergeant Mark McClure also told the inquest “the early part of the investigation was not thorough”.
Quizzed over the resources of the ongoing investigation, Mr McClure said there were budget restrictions in pursuing all avenues of inquiry. He said that included any plans to dig up an old well at the Braddy family home, suspected to be a burial site.
On the final day of the inquest, there were fresh allegations that Maureen and Allan were still alive, including a claim that Stan Braddy junior had seen his sister Maureen in a shop in Nagambie in 1982. Detective Sergeant Murphy said in the conclusion of his statement, read to the court, there was “a complete lack of creditable evidence” they were still alive.
A final report is expected to be delivered on May 15.

www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au (22-3-2013)
Josh Fagan

Missing teen puzzle lives on

A 40-year probe into the disappearance and suspected murder of two teenagers has taken a bizarre twist with claims they were living secretly in northern Victoria.
The father of missing girl Maureen Braddy claims she died only last year and is buried in Swan Hill.
"I've never believed they were dead ... that's all rubbish," Bendigo pensioner Stan Braddy said.
"She's in the Swan Hill Cemetery. I know because I went to the funeral.
"That's where she is ... and she's under a different name."
Maureen Braddy was 16 when she and 17-year-old Allan Whyte disappeared after a dance at the Bendigo YMCA in 1968.
"She got a new name. She was with that Allan and he's still alive and kickin'," Mr Braddy said.
He declined to reveal his daughter's assumed name.
But Mr Braddy's claims have been rejected by his other daughters, who are convinced Maureen and her boyfriend were murdered.
They want a coronial inquiry.
Maureen and Allan were last seen outside the dance hall where Allan's brother invited them to a party at his house. Allan declined, saying he was taking Maureen to her home in nearby California Gully.
They never made it.
The couple vanished with nothing more than the clothes they were standing in.
Maureen had not collected her wages from the previous week and Allan left behind the car he'd recently bought.
His bank savings remained untouched.
Maureen Braddy, one of 10 children, worked at the Crystal Egg Company as a packer.
Allan Whyte had 13 siblings and had just started work as a labourer for the company.
Police initially treated them as runaways, young lovers who would eventually return home when life got too tough.
It was 34 years before Bendigo police acknowledged they had met with foul play.
In 2001 they re-opened the case. "The reality is that I believe they have both been murdered," homicide squad veteran Det-Sgt Brendon Murphy said at the time.
Maureen's sisters, Lynette Ireland and Jenny Braddy, believe their remains are in a disused well near the family home in California Gully, or down a mineshaft.
Ms Ireland has approached a solicitor to push for an official inquiry.
"We want a coronial inquest to clear up this matter," said Ms Ireland, who was eight when her sister disappeared.
"Hopefully, some people will have to tell the truth once they're in the witness box."
Jenny Braddy supported her sister's call.
"It's the one way we get can try to get to the truth," she said.
Maureen Braddy and Allan Whyte were never officially listed as missing persons.
For more than 30 years police wrongly treated them as young runaways.
"It was thought the pair had been in love and done a runner," a police source said.
"It was 20 or 30 years before someone said, 'Hold on, this doesn't sound right'.
"This young fellow was working, he had a motor car, had some bank books. His motor car was left behind, so too were the bank books."
At one stage police thought their disappearance could be linked to the brutal killings of Garry Heywood, 18, and Abina Madill, 16, near Shepparton two years earlier.
This was discounted after Raymond "Mr Stinky" Edmunds eventually pleaded guilty to the gunshot executions of Heywood and Madill and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lynette Ireland said yesterday an official inquiry should be held in spite of the absence of bodies.
She referred to last year's Coroner's Inquest into the disappearance of Louise Falukner, 43, and her toddler daughter, Charmian.
The two vanished 29 years ago after being last seen by a neighbour getting into a ute at their flat in Acland St, St Kilda.
A number of people were called to give evidence at the inquest, including her boyfriend at the time, George Sutherland.
Mr Sutherland refused to give evidence at the hearing.
Deputy Coroner Iain West said he was satisfied Ms Faulkner and Charmian were dead and had met with foul play, but there wasn't enough proof to identify the person or persons responsible.

www.heraldsun.com.au (12-10-2009)
Russell Robinson

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