Hugh Wilson inquest uncovers Colac’s secrets

Police stopped traffic on Colac-Lavers Hill Road for a coroner to visit the site where Hugh Wilson died 34 years ago.

AN INQUEST into the death of Colac’s Hugh Wilson moved from the courtroom to a wet Barongarook roadside.

Coroner Kim Parkinson on Thursday led a band of lawyers, police and witnesses to Colac-Lavers Hill Road where a passer-by found Mr Wilson’s body in 1976.

Coroner Parkinson viewed the site near the old Colac brickworks, and a site further south where witnesses reported seeing a police car parked in surrounding scrub.

Hugh Wilson’s sister-in-law Molly Wilson stands near a track off the road where witnesses claim they saw a police car the night Mr Wilson died.

Mr Wilson’s sister-in-law, Molly, and two of his nieces also visited the sites, keen to relay the proceedings back to Mr Wilson’s sole surviving sister in Western Australia.

The Barongarook tour marked the end of the inquest at Colac Magistrates’ Court, with the coroner adjourning the case until it opens again in Melbourne on a date she is yet to confirm.

The inquest’s three days in Colac attracted a throng of media and court-followers, with allegations of a police cover-up making headlines across the state.

Two witnesses, Andrew Daffy and Brian Edwards, told the inquest they saw a marked police car parked in bush off Colac-Lavers Hill Road the night Mr Wilson died.

The men were travelling from Colac in the same car and had pulled off the road to smoke cannabis when they saw the vehicle.

“We pulled off on to the track and pulled up there,” Mr Daffy’s witness statement read.

“I got out and had a leak and the smoke. Then we got back in the car and started to drive out. That’s when we saw the police car,” he said.

“I knew it was a police car because it had the lights on top and I think it may have had badges as well.”

Mr Daffy said he hadn’t told police about what he saw that night because he feared they could charge him for smoking cannabis.

Coroner Parkinson’s Barongarook visit included an inspection of the site where Mr Daffy and Mr Edwards claimed they saw a police car.

A lawyer for former Colac policeman Brian Merry told the inquest that police could have parked their car in the bush to catch speeding motorists on Colac-Lavers Hill Road.

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