DANIEL THOMAS INQUEST: Babysitter's son 'saw Daniel alive' 

THE son of Mandy Martyn told police he last saw Myrtleford toddler Daniel Thomas alive the very day he went missing, an inquest has heard.

Ms Martyn's seven-year-old son was interviewed by police on October 19, 2003 - two days after Daniel disappeared.

But after the video interview was played in Wangaratta Coroner's Court this morning, the boy - now aged 17, and who cannot be named for legal reasons - said he had no recollection of the day, nor of Daniel and his mother Donna Thomas living with his family in Standish Street.

The court had previously been told that Ms Thomas and Daniel moved in with Ms Martyn about seven weeks earlier so she could get help looking after the child.

In his interview, Ms Martyn's son told police he saw Daniel around lunchtime on Friday, October 17, before he, his mother and two sisters went to Wangaratta for a doctor's appointment. Daniel was left in the bedroom, home alone, a bandage covering his eyes still on his head.

He said the front door was unlocked when they got home and Daniel's bedroom door was ajar, though it had been left closed.

"Mum started panicking a bit because she thought that she locked it," he said.

He said he told his mother that Daniel was gone from the bedroom.

He said Daniel was moving when he last saw him before they went out, as he was getting up from the bed to eat lunch.

He said he last saw Ms Thomas on "Tuesday or Wednesday night" before she left for her course in Shepparton, and that "Mum was a little angry" when she didn't come home.

"What we all think is someone took him," he told police.

"Because how else would he have gone?"

He said many people were out looking for Daniel, including people who were no longer friends of Ms Martyn: "Mum says when it comes down to children everyone has to have a go."

He told police his mother tied Daniel to the bed "for a couple of hours" at a time or gave him cold baths as punishment when he was naughty, such as "trashing the bedroom" by taking all the toys out.

After the interview was played, the son maintained that he had no memories of the period either before or after Daniel's disappearance.

He said he and his family never discussed what happened to Daniel, nor with others.

Asked if he was deliberately not answering questions about Daniel, Ms Martyn's son said: "No, why would I do that."

Daniel's remains were found five years after he first went missing, under a house formerly occupied by Ms Thomas.

The inquest before Coroner Jacinta Heffey continues this afternoon.

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