Morcombe accused 'wanted to have fun' with Daniel

Daniel Morcombe.
Daniel Morcombe.

12.30PM SUMMARY:  THE man accused of killing Daniel Morcombe told undercover police he just wanted to have some 'fun' with him before he panicked and killed the Sunshine Coast teenager, a jury has heard.

In a video recording to be shown to the court, there was a series of admissions by Brett Peter Cowan about how he took Daniel from the Kiel Mountain overpass and killed him, the Brisbane Supreme Court heard on Tuesday.

Mr Cowan allegedly told a man he thought was the big boss of a crime gang that he parked in a Woombye church car park above the overpass and walked down the embankment near Daniel.

He allegedly said he made it look like he was waiting for a bus and that he asked Daniel if he wanted a lift when they unsuccessfully tried to wave down a bus going past.

Mr Cowan allegedly told Daniel he needed to tell his wife what was happening and that was why he would not take him to the shopping centre, where Daniel had planned to have a haircut and buy Christmas presents, right away.

He allegedly told undercover police  that he took Daniel to an abandoned house just off Coochin Creek.

"I never got to molest him… he panicked, I panicked, I grabbed him around the throat and just before I knew it he was dead," Mr Cowan allegedly told one officer.

Mr Cowan allegedly described using his arm to stop him, killing him, and then dumping the body off an old sand mine at the end of Kings Road which he called "a secluded spot".

In other recorded conversations, Mr Cowan allegedly told undercover police officers he had no intention of "knocking him at all", that he just wanted to "have some fun with him".

"He tried to get away. I knew if he got away I was f***ed, I panicked," he said.

One officer asked: "He wouldn't play the f***ing game hey?".

Mr Cowan allegedly replied "more or less".


Police divers find underpants they say belong to Daniel

POLICE divers found the elastic band of Bonds underpants which the Crown say belonged to Daniel Morcombe 15m downstream from the bridge where Brett Peter Cowan allegedly told undercover police officers he threw clothing from.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said logs of debris were removed from the creek and the Bonds underpants - the thick elastic band with some material still attached - found thereafter.

He said Daniel's parents would tell the court they matched the kind Daniel wore while the remnants were matched with Bonds manufacturing data - showing  they were made between mid-2000 and mid 2002.

"Our case is you will accept they were Daniel's underpants thrown into the creek," he said.

Mr Byrne said there also were dark shorts found in 20cm sand or mud against a submerged log.

He said the shorts had a Ripcurl band tag which Denise Morcombe, Daniel's mother, would say was the same style Daniel wore.

Mr Byrne said bones found at the Kings Road site were mostly found in the top 10cm of leaf, sand and vegetable material on the forest floor.

He said the right thigh bone, the exception, was found resting on soil just above the sandy level which was said to be the level of the ground in 2003.

Mr Byrne said the bones were found 60m from where Mr Cowan showed undercover police where he left the body and were scattered over some distance.

He said the bone scattering was likely attributable to degradation and wild animals.

Mr Byrne said forensic scientists had examined the bones and confirmed through DNA testing that they belonged to Daniel.

He said experts found bones came from the left and right side of a juvenile, aged 10-14 years, with no duplicates.
There were also vertebrae found.

But no cause of death could be determined.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation

Morcombe accused met with 'big boss of crime gang', jury told

THE "big boss" of the crime gang met with Brett Peter Cowan to discuss his alleged involvement in the Daniel Morcombe murder investigation.

Arnold, also an undercover police officer, told Mr Cowan he was prepared to delay the "big job" coming up because the other boys had vouched for him.

But if he was part of the Morcombe inquest then he was "too hot" and the situation needed to be "cleaned up".

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said Arnold told Mr Cowan he had been told to "drop him like a hot potato" if he could not sort things out.

He said Arnold asked Mr Cowan what he needed to "fix" to get this big job happening.

"You will see (Mr Cowan) say - 'yeah ok no yeah I did it'," he said.

Arnold put Mr Cowan, Fitzy and another undercover police man on a plane to Queensland to "clean up" anything that needed to be sorted so they could begin the big job.

Mr Byrne said recordings would indicate Mr Cowan showing his new friends the demountable house, that had since been sold, where he tried to molest Daniel.

He said Mr Cowan showed them the route he drove to Nambour where he saw Daniel, where he dumped the clothes and told them what he saw when he returned to the body some days after he left him there.

Mr Byrne said Mr Cowan told undercover police the body was gone when he returned but he saw a small part that he believed to be the skull.

Mr Cowan allegedly told his new friends that he was annoyed some witnesses had described a blue car with two men because it was just him and Daniel.

Police and SES search for clues to Daniel Morcombe.
Police and SES search for clues to Daniel Morcombe. Contributed

11.37AM UPDATE: A JURY has heard how Brett Peter Cowan allegedly fell for a "ruse", believing he was about to become a member of an organised, wide-ranging and very powerful criminal gang.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said a man named Joe struck up a friendship with Mr Cowan on the plane from Queensland back to Western Australia, where he was living, after an inquest in to Daniel's death.

He said Joe was a covert officer and that he introduced him to another man known as Fitzy, or Paul, who would become closest to Mr Cowan.

Mr Byrne said Mr Cowan was told consistently for months that there were three main mantras that gang members had to "live by" - loyalty, respect, honesty.

He said gang members, undercover cops, let him observe some transactions or criminal conduct to convince him of the gang's activities.

"Then he was allowed to do some tasks for the gang believing he could get involved in this gang," he said.

"The overall object was that he believed he had to demonstrate his trustworthiness for the gang particularly in light of a big job that was coming up."

Mr Byrne said police created 24 scenarios to convince Mr Cowan of the criminal conduct but it was all a ruse.

He said some scenarios involved apparent criminal activity and some were designed to suggest this gang had access to corrupt police officers in Western Australia.

"If he gained the complete trust of the gang and the big boss in particular he could become a full member of the gang and share in the spoils of the big gang," he said.

Mr Byrne said the jury would hear from witnesses and recordings where Mr Cowan was a willing participant.

"It is our case he wanted to join the gang, he wanted to share in the financial spoils he believed would be coming his way," he said.

Mr Byrne said police had sent Joe away because had problems that needed to be sorted out.

"That reinforced this gang was capable of fixing up problems that gang members had," he said.

Mr Byrne said Mr Cowan also met a man he was told was a corrupt police officer named Craig.

He said Mr Cowan saw Craig on television talking about murders in WA which convinced him that he was high-up and would have knowledge of other murder cases.

This became relevant when Craig later told Mr Cowan there was a subpoena issued for him to appear before a coroner's inquest again in Queensland.

"This was an important event in undercover operation because the defendant had not mentioned the prior involvement in Daniel Morcombe investigation," Mr Byrne said

Mr Byrne said Ftizy told Mr Cowan told him bosses in the crime gang could fix anything but he had to tell the truth.



Daniel Morcombe accused 'confessed to undercover cops'

A JURY has been told accused man Brett Peter Cowan made a "complete confession" to undercover police officers that he killed Daniel Morcombe.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne told Brisbane Supreme Court that the 13-year-old went missing about 2pm on December 7, 2003, and was almost certainly dead within an hour.

He said Daniel was not the sort of boy that ran away or went missing for periods of time so his disappearance spoke strongly of an abduction.

Mr Cowan has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

Mr Byrne said Mr Cowan told some "newly found friends that he had killed Daniel Morcombe" though the Crown argued it was murder.

"He took these people and showed them where he left the body and the separate place where he left the clothing," he said.

"His new found friends were in fact undercover police officers."

Mr Byrne said the jury would be convinced that 17 bones police found during a search at Glasshouse Mountains in 2011 belonged to Daniel.

He said one of the persons of interest in the police investigation, Douglas Jackway, would be called to give evidence.

He said he anticipated Mr Cowan's defence team would cross-examine Mr Jackway to make it appear he was associated with blue car seen at the Kiel Mountain overpass the day Daniel went missing.

Mr Byrne said it would be implied Jackway was likely to be person responsible for this killing.

He said Mr Jackway would deny he was on Sunshine Coast that day although he was expected to be there, that he had a blue car.

"Brett Cowan probably acted alone, " he said.

"Whether he did or not our case is that Douglas Jackway was not responsible to for the abduction and killing of Daniel Morcombe."

Mr Byrne said people who drove past Daniel at the overpass recall a man nearby and had described his appearance to a sketch artist.

"It will be our submission that to varying degrees between each sketch they bear a distinct and remarkable likeness to the defendant," he said.


First glimpse of case against Cowan in Morcombe trial

THE jury panel charged with deciding the fate of Daniel Morcombe's accused murderer will today get the first glimpse into the police case against him.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne is expected to reveal details never before heard in the public arena when he opens the case against Brett Peter Cowan, 44.

Barrister Angus Edwards, acting for Mr Cowan, also will outline the defence case where he likely will point jurors to the evidence he anticipates will help exonerate his client.

Mr Cowan on Monday formally pleaded not guilty to murdering Daniel, indecently treating him and interfering with his corpse.

Six men and six women were selected to stand in judgment of him, with three reserve jurors also selected in case anyone falls ill or can no longer continue their jury duty.

Justice Ros Atkinson told the panel of 15 that they had a daunting but important task of deciding the facts; what they accept and what they did not accept to help them determine guilt.

She said in determining whether he had indecently dealt with Daniel or improperly interfered with his body, the jurors must call on their own views about community standards.

"It's what offends against accepted standards of decency and that must always be judged in light of the time and place and circumstances," she said of the indecent treatment charge.

"You as the jury represent the standards of the community to decide whether public morality or public decency has been offended by the manner in which the body was treated."

Justice Atkinson told the jury they had two grounds on which they could convict Mr Cowan of murdering Daniel.

They first have to be satisfied that Daniel is dead, that Mr Cowan killed him and that the killing was unlawful.

To convict on murder, the jury must be satisfied Mr Cowan "intended" to cause Daniel's death or cause him grievous bodily harm that, if left untreated, was likely to endanger life or cause permanent injury.

If they are not satisfied Mr Cowan intended to kill Daniel, they can turn to a second bases for a murder conviction.

Under the alternate option, the jury must be satisfied Mr Cowan did an act that caused Daniel's death and that act was of such a nature it would likely endanger Daniel's life.

The final hurdle to convict him on the second basis for murder is that he did that act in carrying out the unlawful purpose of indecently dealing with him.

If the jury cannot be satisfied of either basis, they can turn to manslaughter as an option.

"The verdict will be your judgment of whether or not the defendant (Cowan) is guilty or not guilty of each of the charges he faces," she said.

"A defendant in a criminal trial is presumed to be innocent

"If he's to be convicted it's because the prosecution has satisfied you beyond reasonable doubt of that charge."

Bruce and Denise Morcombe are expected to give evidence following the Crown and defence opening addresses on Tuesday.

There are 158 potential witnesses in the trial which is expected to take at least six weeks.

Covert officers from Western Australia, known only as #452, #483 and #392, are among those expected to appear in the witness box.

A zoologist, hydrologist, botanist, SES volunteers and many Sunshine Coast residents were also on the list read to the jury.


Sporting a grey suit jacket and navy dress pants, Brett Peter Cowan, 44, strolled into Brisbane Supreme Court under the gaze of Bruce and Denise Morcombe but he did not throw a glance their way.

Clean shaven with short hair, Mr Cowan wore a blue and white striped shirt teamed with a blue diagonal striped tie. He sat in the centre of the prisoner's dock with guards on either side.

"While he's on trial, he's in the custody of the court," Justice Ros Atkinson said.

"Nothing unusual about that, it's absolutely stock standard."

Mr Cowan stood to answer the charges against him, firmly responding "not guilty" three times.

Topics:  brett peter cowan daniel morcombe editors picks

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