Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Charles O'NEILL

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Charles O’NEILL

Delivered on :4 March 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Mr Charles O’Neill was due to work on Monday 7 April 1969 but did not attend at work as a technical clerk at HIO-Dampier. He was assumed to be a day off and was not of concern to management until Tuesday 8 April 1969 when Mr O’Neill again did not report to work.

Mr O’Neill’s disappearance from Dampier was relayed to police by HIO-Dampier on 8 April 1969. Investigations found Mr O’Neill was alleged to have borrowed a car from another employee on Thursday 3 April 1969 with the intention of travelling to Port Hedland for the Easter weekend. The vehicle was located near Nanutara Station approximately 180 miles south of Dampier in a damaged condition on 7 April 1969. It had been observed being driven south on that date.

On Friday 4 April 1969 Mr O’Neill was picked up at about midnight 3-4 April 1969 by a truck driver who had been flagged down by a man standing beside a car on the highway south of Roebourne. Mr O’Neill was then picked up by another truck driver from Milyna Roadhouse, 90 miles north of Carnarvon on 4 April 1969 and transported to Midland Junction where he was dropped off on 10 April 1969. Each truck driver indicated Mr O’Neill was in possession of three suitcases.

On 9 October 1969 an employee of HIO-Dampier received a telephone call purporting to be from Mr O’Neill, confirming his name and requesting to speak to another employee. The employee who took the call believed he recognised the voice on the telephone as sounding like Mr O’Neill although he sounded drunk. Mr O’Neill told him that he had a good job in Melbourne for which he needed references from people in Dampier and he had sent a letter asking for his property to be sold and the money forwarded to him. Apparently, employees from HIO-Dampier had a forwarding address in Melbourne which Mr O’Neill had supplied although those using the mail box claimed to have no knowledge of Mr O’Neill.

The Coroner found the time frame of events disclosed around his apparent disappearance from WA in 1969 did not established his death beyond all reasonable doubt at that time.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Not Established Beyond All Reasonable Do

Last updated: 26-Mar-2020

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