Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Richard Lakeman RYALL

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Richard Lakeman RYALL

Delivered on :31 March 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Between 15 and 17 November 1986 Richard Lakeman Ryall (Mr Ryall) posted a letter to his next door neighbour indicating it was his intention to go on a “little trip” to get rid of his pain, which he attributed to cancer. He then went on to ask her if she would look after his will made out to a niece. Mr Ryall’s neighbour contacted police and Mr Ryall’s motor vehicle was located in the place referred to in his note. Mr Ryall was never seen or heard of again.

While Mr Ryall was not seen following 15 November 1986, it would appear he visited Manjimup on either 16 or 17 November 1986, probably on the 16th where he posted a letter to his neighbour. On Sunday 16 November 1986 Mr Ryall’s Ford station sedan was noted by a farmer, parked without any person nearby. On 20 November 1986 Mr Ryall’s neighbour received the letter which Mr Ryall had posted with a post mark 17 November 1986 advising her he intended to take a trip and did not wish anybody to look for him. He provided details of his will, and stated that his car would be found where the Thompson Highway joins the Muir Highway by Lake Muir and the car keys were on his kitchen table.

Kojonup Police were advised of Mr Ryall’s disappearance and Manjimup Police assisted in the search to locate Mr Ryall. A search was conducted on 21 November 1986 with three dogs and nine handlers from where Mr Ryall’s car was located. The search over the following two days involved 10 experienced riders on horse-back, aircraft and a number of SES volunteers from the surrounding districts. Unfortunately the tracker dogs did not pick up any scent identified as that of Mr Ryall and the extensive search both by foot and on horse-back failed to produce any indication of Mr Ryall’s whereabouts. By 22 November 1986 there had been 40 foot searchers and two police searchers with six mounted police and ten others on horse-back, coming to a total of 58 people searching the suspected area of Mr Ryall’s disappearance. When no trace of Mr Ryall could be found the search was terminated.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Mr Ryall is deceased. The Coroner found the death occurred by way of Suicide.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Land, and Air Search : Suicide

Last updated: 14-Apr-2020

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