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.

Maureen Braddy

Maureen Braddy

“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.

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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.