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.

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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.

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