TWO people who were persons of interest in the Janine Vaughan case were called to give evidence last week at the inquest.
Andrew Jones and Denis Briggs both entered the witness box, but each, on legal advice, objected to answering questions. A third person, Bradley George Hosemans, gave evidence on Thursday.
In making her findings yesterday, Coroner Mary Jerram emphasised that Mr Hosemans, by the time this inquest was finalised, was no longer considered to have had knowledge about the disappearance of Ms Vaughan.
Ms Jerram said that while some may maintain suspicion about Andrew Jones, his legal representative Thomas Spohr was correct in saying there is no direct or forensic evidence against him, and this inquest found none.
Similarly, whatever suspicions may be held against Denis Briggs, there is no direct evidence against Mr Briggs, other than his own claims, that he had any involvement in the disappearance of Ms Vaughan.
Ms Jerram accepted Mr Hosemans’ denial that he picked up Ms Vaughan in a red car, or had knowledge of what happened to her.
“During the conduct of this inquest, we have been made aware of many rumours and innuendo about Bradley George Hosemans,” Ms Jerram said. “Various anonymous letters and calls were received during the course of the Mountbatten investigation an also during the adjournment of the inquest.
“Mr Hosemans has denied the allegation he picked up Ms Vaughan just before 4am on Friday, December 7, 2001 in a red car.
“He stated he had no knowledge of what happened to her. He denied being out with Andrew Holland and other police officers that night. He denied he was at the tavern or standing outside the tavern as Ms Vaughan was leaving. I accept these denials.”
Ms Jerram said there were others who gave evidence before me who were in her view also of interest if not suspicious.
“Police have been unable to discover any evidence linking any of them with the disappearance,” she said.
In closing, Ms Jerram said no one who has observed or attended these sittings could fail to be moved by the plight of Janine’s family.
“There can be nothing worse than to lose a loved family member without knowledge of what happened to her, and without being able to farewell her.
“The family’s frustrations are totally understandable. They have had to hear details of Janine’s life which were personal and upsetting.
“They have had to watch witnesses who were not prepared to tell all they knew, or to give evidence. They have known of the initial problems of Strike Force Toko and have consequently had to wait eight years for the chance that this inquest might find some answers to them.
“Sadly it has not.
“I hope at lease the Vaughans will accept that is not because of a lack of effort on the part of all those in Strike Force Mountbatten, or indeed of the Crown and both Counsel assisting me.
“The trail has gone cold.
“We can only hope that one day, some evidence will emerge that can provide the answer.”