MANDY Martyn’s son told a family friend his mother “might be in a lot of trouble and could go to jail”, an inquest was told yesterday.
The boy, who was seven at the time, made the comment in the year after Myrtleford toddler Daniel Thomas went missing in October 2003.
But yesterday, the son, now 17, said he did not recall the conversation — nor anything else about the disappearance of the two-year-old.
Asked what he thought of the case today, he said: “I still believe mum did nothing wrong”.
His older sister, now 21, later said she, too, could not remember and that she “had a tendency to block out bad things”.
Ms Martyn’s three children were summonsed as witnesses in Daniel’s inquest at Wangaratta Coroner’s Court.
Her elder daughter, 22, is yet to appear.
None can be named for legal reasons.
Both son and daughter repeatedly said they did not know or could not remember details about Daniel or his mother, Donna Thomas, who had lived with them for almost two months at their Standish Street home before he went missing.
They said that after Daniel disappeared, even after his remains were found in 2008 under the Lawrence Street house Ms Thomas had lived in, they “never” asked or talked about the case with their mother.
But the court heard a friend said in the year after Daniel disappeared, Ms Martyn’s son said “what if Daniel is in a hole that’s not a hole any more” and his eldest sister told him to be quiet.
When pressed, the son said: “Mum might be in a lot of trouble and could go to jail”.
Yesterday he said the conversation “didn’t occur that I remember”.
The court was shown police interviews with both children, conducted on October 19, 2003 — two days after Daniel went missing.
The son had said he last saw Daniel about lunchtime on Friday, October 17, before he, his mother and sisters went to Wangaratta for a doctor’s appointment. Daniel was left alone in the bedroom, a bandage covering his eyes.
He said the front door was unlocked when they returned and Daniel’s bedroom door was ajar.
“Mum panicked a bit because she thought she locked it,” he said.
He said he told his mother Daniel was gone.
“What we all think is someone took him,” he told police.
His sister, who was 11 at the time, said she last saw Daniel about two days before he went missing. She “didn’t pay much attention to where he is”, but agreed with most of the rest of her brother’s account of that day.
The son 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.
His sister said it was Ms Thomas who dealt much of this punishment, but she agreed she had seen her mother “tie him up sometimes” and that her mother had put him under the house before he went missing.
When pressed yesterday, both children repeatedly said they could not remember their police interviews or living with Daniel.
Asked if he was deliberately not answering questions about Daniel, the son said: “No, why would I do that”.