The investigation into missing boy William Tyrrell has been majorly ‘stuffed up’ by police, an expert criminologist has claimed.
University of New England associate professor Michael Kennedy said the case had been chaotic because of political pressure police were under to find the three-year-old who went missing.
William disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, on the NSW north coast, on September 12, 2014, and has not been seen since.
William’s foster mother was on Friday found not guilty of knowingly giving false or misleading evidence to a secret NSW Crime Commission hearing.
Three-year-old William Tyrrell (pictured) went missing on the NSW Mid North Coast in 2014
Police stated that they believed William’s foster mother knew where the body was buried (pictured a police search in November 2021)
Dr Kennedy, an expert criminologist who has been a police officer, said this was yet more drama surrounding the long-running but fruitless investigation.
‘There’s been a major stuff up and police have been expected to get outcomes that aren’t possible,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.
‘We need to revert back to a time where police were able to be in control of their own investigations and you couldn’t put pressure on them to get outcomes because it worked politically.
‘If that means a case remains unsolved then so be it, the end doesn’t justify the means.
‘This is not just about protecting a victim, it’s about protecting everybody. And everybody deserves the presumption of innocence.’
Former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller stated in November that police had a particular ‘person of interest’ in the case
The woman, who cannot be identified, was almost overcome with tears as she told media she hoped police would ‘focus on finding William and what happened to him’.
Senior detective Andrew Lonergan had told the court that police believed the foster mother knew where the body was buried.
The area, near the town of Kendell on the NSW Mid North Coast, has been searched by police and volunteers without finding anything of relevance.
Police have been saying since November 2021 there was ‘one person in particular we are looking at closely’, which was disclosed by former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller during a radio interview.
William’s disappearance has become one of Australia’s most publicised mysteries during the eight-year search
William’s foster mother has not been charged in relation to the boy’s disappearance and no evidence of her involvement has been made public.
Dr Kennedy said the NSW Crime Commission needed to explain its role in the matter because due process had been eroded ‘for the sake of getting an outcome’ in the highly publicised case.
‘It needs to explain itself and who agreed to this course of action but it never will,’ he said.
‘Rather than attack an individual copper involved, why don’t we attack the system and say this is prevalent across the board, this eroding due process.’
Police declined to comment on the hearing or on the state of their investigation other than that ‘every effort’ was being made to solve the case.
University of New England associate professor Michael Kennedy accused police of ‘eroding’ due process in attempting to get an outcome to the case