Friday, May 13, 2011

Missing cop Mick Isles's son says police were 'vultures'

THE son of a missing police officer choked back tears as he remembered his "best mate" in the Brisbane Coroner's Court. Steven Isles spoke on behalf of the family of Senior-Sergeant Mick Isles, 58, who vanished on September 23, 2009.

"My father was my best mate and it really was a disgrace to see such a display," he said of Queensland Police's investigation into his dad's disappearance.

He claimed Queensland Police had victimised his family and behaved like "absolute vultures".

A pre-inquest hearing heard the former officer-in-charge at Ayr had been scheduled to attend a training course in Townsville on the day he was missing, but failed to show up. The unmarked police car he'd been driving was later found in a dry creek bed, 80km south-west of Ayr. He hasn't been seen since.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Peter Johns, said the police officer's absence at the course did not raise concerns until his wife, Fiona, contacted police later that day. He said Mrs Isles also found notes expressing regret from her husband, but none which made any reference to suicide.

A gold prospector south-west of Ayr is expected to give evidence at his inquest, and is believed to be the last person to have seen him alive.

The court heard Sen-Sgt Isles had been under a great deal of stress due to a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation, for which he was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing.

Mr Johns said Sen-Sgt Isles returned to work after being on sick leave, and said the inquest would examine the appropriateness of his rehabilitation plan. He said there was evidence the missing policeman had an "intense dislike" for one of his superiors, and considered him responsible for the treatment he'd received from the CMC.

A police uniform, a police swipe card, cash, a shotgun and ammunition were found in the vehicle, but a search of the area failed to find any trace of the father-of-three.

Mr Johns said the inquest would aim to determine whether Sen-Sgt Isles was deceased, and would examine the delay in reporting him missing and the adequacy of the search to find him. A survival expert is also due to give evidence to help State Coroner Michael Barnes make his findings.

The Isles family is not legally represented, but Sen-Sgt Isles' son Steven spoke on their behalf, accusing the police service of being a "boy's club" that had conducted a "deficient" and "biased" investigation into his father's disappearance.

Mr Barnes agreed to conduct the inquest in Brisbane at the family's request, and adjourned the hearing to a date to be fixed.


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