Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Sara-Lee DAVEY

Inquest into the Death of Sara-Lee DAVEY

Delivered on : 19 August 2016

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner King

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased lived with her family at One-Arm Point. She was 21 years of age.

On 13 January 1997 the deceased travelled by road to Broome with her parents and some young relatives. The deceased stayed in Broome with a family friend while the remainder of her family continued to Karratha. The deceased’s family planned to return to Broome a few days later to pick her up on their way home. 

The deceased spent that afternoon and evening drinking at a hotel bar with the family friend and a male friend. Later that night, the deceased went to another bar on her own and met Richard Edward Dorrough, a naval seaman from an Australian Navy patrol boat.

At around 2.30 am on 14 January 1997 the deceased and Mr Dorrough took a taxi to the Broome Wharf where the Navy patrol boat was docked. Mr Dorrough attempted to take the deceased onto the boat, but was stopped by the sailor on watch. The deceased and Mr Dorrough then walked behind a large shed on the wharf. On the wharf at that time were two men fishing off the end of the wharf. At about the time the deceased and Mr Dorrough went behind the shed, the men heard a woman yell and scream.

A short time later, Mr Dorrough returned to the patrol boat alone. The sailor on watch did not see the deceased leave the wharf.  He noticed that Mr Dorrough had scratches on his face that he had not had when he got out of the taxi previously. 

The deceased was not seen again. There had been several purported sightings of the deceased after her disappearance, but they proved to be unsubstantiated following a cold case review that followed Mr Dorrough’s suicide in 2014.

The Coroner was satisfied that the death of the deceased had been established beyond all reasonable doubt, but he was not able to find either how death occurred or the cause of the death.

The Coroner made an open finding as to how death occurred.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Possible homicide : Broome Wharf

Last updated: 27-Feb-2024

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