Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Additional Reading: 2011 Coroner told of Bali drug mule rumours

Malcolm Brown January 26, 2011
Trudy Adams
A CLOSE friend of Trudie Adams, who disappeared more than 30 years ago after leaving a surf club at Newport, dismissed suggestions yesterday that Ms Adams, who had been due to go to Bali, had been recruited to be a drug courier to bring narcotics back to Australia.

Christine Viner, who had been a close friend of Trudie Adams, said yesterday that Ms Adams disappeared on June 25, 1978, and about a month later stories had emerged that she had been involved with drugs.

Answering counsel assisting, Peter Hamill, SC, Ms Viner said she was unaware of a suggestion that Ms Adams had been recruited, but she did not think she would have been ''that dumb''.

But a deputy state coroner, Scott Mitchell, taking evidence into the disappearance of Ms Adams, heard yesterday that shortly before her disappearance, she had told her mother that some people were ''hassling'' her.

A convicted drug importer and police informant, Neville Tween, had been named by police as a prime suspect in Ms Adams's disappearance. Police had interviewed Mark Standen, who was with the Federal Narcotics Bureau at the time and was handling Tween as an informant.

Mr Standen became assistant commissioner of the NSW State Crime Authority and has since been charged over a conspiracy to import 300 kilograms of pseudoephedrine and perverting the course of justice.

Her brother, John Adams, said yesterday: ''I think because Trudie was going to Bali - it is the thing. Everyone goes to Bali with drugs; I think she might have been asked to bring drugs back. Shortly after … mum said, 'Trudie kept saying, ''They are hassling me, mum, they are hassling me.'' ' ''

Mr Adams said his sister had not been on drugs but there were certain people in the area who were known to be. ''You knew they were bad; they were capable of bad things,'' he said.

Federal agent Gavin McKean, formerly with the NSW Police unsolved homicide squad, said that Tween, otherwise known as John Anderson, had been the prime suspect owing to his long criminal history, and was now in jail, convicted over a $7 million cocaine importation.

After Trudie Adams's disappearance, a number of young women came forward to say they had been raped while hitchhiking in the northern beaches area and there was identification of Tween, though the identification techniques would not be acceptable in a court today.

Mr McKean said that after the disappearance of Ms Adams and the intense search for her and huge publicity, the rape offences bearing the hallmarks of abduction, tying up and assault, had stopped. He thought the perpetrator had been scared off.

Tween had not been charged over Ms Adams's disappearance and Tween's solicitor, Leon Goldberg, had written to the officer commanding the investigation warning police to ''stop looking at Neville Tween''. The hearing resumes tomorrow.