Cop suggests Tyrrell died in ‘accident’
New South Wales homicide detective Gary Jubelin suggested a retiree may have killed toddler William Tyrrell in an accident and used two unaccounted for hours to "get rid of the body", a court has heard.
During a conversation allegedly illegally recorded, Jubelin put it to Paul Savage that he could have accidentally run over the little boy.
Jubelin, 57, has pleaded not guilty to illegally recording four conversations with Mr Savage years into the investigation of the three-year-old's disappearance from a home in Kendall in September 2014.
Mr Savage lived across the street from William and was among hundreds of persons of interest.
One recording, in which Jubelin discusses the possibility William died in an accident, was played in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday.
Jubelin made the tape when he visited Mr Savage and his daughter at Kendall in May 2018.
After explaining that Mr Savage's version of events "didn't add up", Jubelin said he had "concerns that you've lost touch with reality".
"You're twisting things," Mr Savage said in the recording.
Jubelin replied: "I'm not twisting things. I'm trying to resolve it and find out what happened to William."
Dismissing Mr Savage's account that he'd gone looking for William and then had a cup of tea, Jubelin said the widower was the "one person" whose movements couldn't be accounted for in the two hours after William disappeared.
"Your behaviour at the time is really, really concerning," Jubelin said.
When Mr Savage asked what he could have done in the two-hour period, Jubelin said: "Get rid of the body." "Rubbish," Mr Savage replied.
Jubelin later stated he thought Mr Savage could have accidentally run over the boy because William was known to go looking for his dad's car.
"He's all excited to see his dad, you're moving your car and there was an accident, people understand it," the then-detective inspector said.
Jubelin raised the 2008 death of Matthew Leveson, whose boyfriend Michael Atkins was accused of murder but eventually confessed to disposing of Mr Leveson's body a decade later.
A coroner made an open finding, but Jubelin told Mr Savage he believed Mr Leveson died of a drug overdose.
"(Michael) was a broken man because of it," he said of the cover-up.
Throughout the recording, Mr Savage denied any involvement in the disappearance of William or that he was mentally unwell.
The court on Wednesday was also shown footage from a police interview in which Jubelin accused Mr Savage of lying about when he found a piece of evidence planted by police.
A Spider-Man suit, similar to what William was wearing when he went missing, was placed in nearby bushland in July 2017.
Mr Savage was covertly recorded stopping near the location on consecutive days soon after. He reported the costume to police on the second day.
"You're involved in what happened to William ... and you didn't know how to deal with it," Jubelin said during an August 2017 police interview.
Mr Savage replied: "Rubbish."
The only other person in the room during that police interview told Jubelin afterwards she didn't think Mr Savage was responsible for William's disappearance.
"Mr Jubelin didn't agree with me," Detective Sergeant Laura Beacroft told the court on Wednesday.
After accompanying the widower on a walk-through of the area in September 2017, the officer echoed her earlier position to Jubelin.
"I just didn't think he was responsible," she said.
The prosecutor alleges Jubelin, who was a detective chief inspector when he quit the force in 2019, made four recordings at times when Mr Savage was not subject to surveillance warrants.
No one has been charged over William's disappearance.
The hearing continues.