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Friday, March 14, 2014

Child rapist Brett Peter Cowan found guilty

Daniel Morcombe's killer Brett Peter Cowan started sexually abusing children when he around 9 years old.  By the time he was 18, he told undercover cops, he had preyed on around 30 children. 

In 1989, he got two years for digitally and orally raping a seven year old boy in a public toilet in a Queensland playground. He knew that some judges still believe the myth that paedophiles can be rehabilitated, so he played the system and asked to participate in a sexual offenders treatment program at the Moreton Correctional Centre in Queensland, and it wasn't long before he was back on the street.   

Child rapist Brett Peter Cowan

Four years later in the Northern Territory, Cowan raped and almost killed a six year old boy and left him to die in an old car before the child was found wandering around naked and bleeding.  He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years but was out on parole in three and a half.

On his release in 1989, he moved to the Sunshine Coast and joined the Christian Outreach Church where he met and married Tracey Moncrieff.  The couple, who later divorced, had a child and were living in Beerwah at the time Daniel went missing.

Within an hour of being lured into Cowan's car at a bus stop under the Kiel Mountain Road underpass on Sunday 7 December 2003, Daniel was dead and his body dumped in an old sand mine less than 40 kilometres away.

Cowan was an immediate suspect and was interviewed by police twice, once in 2004 and again in 2005, but when he told the inquest he had nothing to do with it, there was no evidence to prove otherwise. 

Police knew the only way they were going to get Cowan to admit his guilt, was to trick him.  So they invented a clever ruse - undercover cops pretended to be members of a criminal gang and in time, became his best friends.  And he fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

He told his new mates, all on tape, that he picked Daniel up at the bus stop to have some fun with him and took him to a deserted demountable building on a farm.  When he invited him inside for a drink of water and tried to pull his pants down, the boy started to struggle, and that's when he killed him.  How, his new friends asked?  With an arm around his neck, he said.  He then took his body to an old sand mine where Daniel's bone fragments were later found.

Brett Peter Cowan was found guilty of murdering Daniel Morcombe yesterday - 14 March 2014 - and this time, the judge better keep him locked away for the rest of his life. If not, there will be public outrage.

Daniel's parents established the Daniel Morcombe Foundation in 2005 and have visited schools and spoken to hundreds of children, warning them about what can happen when someone with an friendly, honest face offers you a lift when you miss the bus.

Denise Morcombe particularly must be applauded for her dogged persistence to keep going for ten long years under extreme stress. A shy, private person, she must have suffered every minute of the media sessions her husband seemed to handle with ease.

Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon

After the guilty verdict was announced, the family embraced Crown prosecutors Michael Byrne QC and Glen Cash, as well as homicide detectives Detective Ross Hutton and Stephen Blanchfield.  Justice Roslyn Atkinson thanked the members of the jury for their service.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe stayed the distance and saw it through to the end.  Thanks to their efforts and fantastic police work, one less rock spider walks our streets. 

Edit 21 March 2014:  Yesterday, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he is appealing the sentence handed down to Brett Peter Cowan. He said that the life sentence with a non-parole period of 20 years was "manifestly inadequate" for Daniel Morcombe's killer.