Author Topic: 2004-06-04 Royal Group/Norfolk/Raymond Yager - Open finding on island murder  (Read 1697 times)


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The Norfolk Island inquest on Janelle Patton was closed yesterday, but the homicide investigation, like the inquest's findings, remains open for now.

After stating that Ms Patton was murdered somewhere on Norfolk Island by a "person or persons unknown", Coroner Ron Cahill excluded none of those named as having been investigated but directed police look closer at specific clues.

This inquest was held to dispel two years of wild island rumour and put the known facts in the public domain, in the hope that publicity would prick a conscience or memory.

Mr Cahill said just one piece of new information might bring Ms Patton's killer or killers undone: finding the motive, the site of the killing, the murder weapon or the vehicle used to dump the 29-year-old's body at Cockpit Waterfall Reserve on March 31, 2002.

"The investigation team and myself need a break," Mr Cahill said. "There's no doubt the investigation and the search for truth will continue until someone is brought to justice."

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Mr Cahill ordered fresh efforts to definitively match green paint flakes found in Ms Patton's hair, on her shorts and under her nails, with a seemingly identical green paint particle found in the tray of an islander's ute. He did not refer to any of 16 persons of interest named in court during the week, but one of them is Raymond "Tugger" Yager, who owns the utility in which the paint was found.

Mr Yager told police that on the day she was stabbed and bashed to death he spent at least three hours cleaning his vehicle, as he did every Sunday to ward off rust. He left Norfolk Island three days after Ms Patton's murder for Sydney, then Perth, and is now believed to be in Cambodia.

Another person of interest is Terence Jope, who may have had prior access to the black plastic sheeting in which Ms Patton's body was partially wrapped.

Mr Cahill yesterday called for further investigation to identify eight fingerprints on that sheeting, having heard that two belong to Steven Cochrane, a carpenter who had everyday contact with such material. The prints do not match those on any database including those of Australian or New Zealand police.

Mr Cahill also reiterated that there was a $300,000 reward.

"It's closed, but it's still open," he said.

By Stephen Gibbs
Norfolk Island
June 4, 2004

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