Daniel Morcombe trial hears of pack of wild dogs roaming

AN animal expert, in confirming large populations of wild dogs on the Sunshine Coast, has described how a council worker dived into a motorist's open window to escape a dingo because he felt threatened to within "an inch of his life".

Mark Goullet, from Ferals Out pest control, said it did not matter what time of day he drove around properties on the Sunshine Coast, especially at Glasshouse Mountains and Beerwah, there were dingoes walking the streets.

Mr Goullet, who has 30 years' experience with wild pest populations on the Sunshine Coast, said he had video footage of entire packs of wild dogs in the area pulling carcasses apart and dragging limbs for long distances.

He said he had no doubt they would have been in the area where Daniel Morcombe's remains were found at Kings Road.

Daniel's remains were found 50-75m from where his alleged murderer Brett Peter Cowan pointed out his final resting place to undercover police.

Searchers found 17 human bones, which DNA experts have concluded belonged to Daniel, within a 25m by 14m search area.

Mr Goullet said he had video footage of a dingo dragged a large spinal cord, rib cage and pelvis of another animal a long distance into an open paddock to feed.

He said a carcass also could attract birds of prey such as wedge-tailed eagles but also small birds like kites or crows, as well as foxes or feral pigs.

Toowoomba zoologist Lee Allen, who has worked with Biosecurity Queensland and its former departments for more than 30 years, said he had been involved with satellite tracking of more than 100 wild dogs, mostly dingoes, in the Sunshine Coast area since 2003.

He said wild dogs or dingoes could exist in packs of up to a dozen but usually just a small number of three or four.

Mr Allen said stable wild dog packs tended to stay in a 20sq km range where they defended their territory but satellite tracking showed  their offspring could move much further.

He said young were usually born June-July and would become independent about November, with tracking data showing they could end up more than 500km away in 30 days.

Mr Allen said wild dogs would hunt live prey and also savage carcasses, in drought times even chewing on carcasses that could be a year old.

He said he could see dog tracks along the creek bed near where Daniel was found which was not unusual as the dogs would follow such creeks through forests.

Mr Allen said he also would expect foxes and feral pigs in the area too.

He said wild dogs had powerful jaws and he expected  many bones from a human frame could be chewed up.

"Wild dogs could smell a carcass or food like that probably half a kilometre or even further in a forest situation, particularly those young dogs when they're starting to become independent," he said.

"They would scavenge as a group on a carcass, they fight and squabble as they do.

"Normally what you find is the carcass is pulled apart; limbs carted off in different directions so they can eat in peace from their siblings and rivals.

"They can be up to several 100 yards potentially but usually you'd expect over a space of days 10 to 50m apart."

Editor's note: Parts of the evidence from this morning has been edited out due to its graphic nature

A muddy shoe, believed to be that of Daniel Morcombe, found at Glasshouse Mountains. Source: Police
A muddy shoe, believed to be that of Daniel Morcombe, found at Glasshouse Mountains. Source: Police

Daniel Morcombe shoe expert says pair found a match

 

A SHOE expert believes the Globe skate shoes found at a Glasshouse Mountains search site belonged to Daniel Morcombe.

Podiatrist Paul John Bennett said he compared the "crime scene" shoes with black Clarks brand school shoes and an older pair of Globe skate shoes that Daniel's parents had provided as reference samples.

Mr Bennett told Brisbane Supreme Court his expertise was in studying the movements and motion of human feet, assessing gait cycles and how an individual's characteristics might affect footwear.

"Effectively the kinds of comparisons you are looking for are consistencies in the way footwear might wear out," he said.

Mr Bennett said he would look at wear patterns -their locations, the magnitudes and orientations - to form an opinion of the way an individual moved.

He said he would then use the reference samples for comparison and use the same systematic approach.

Mr Bennett said he would look at the sole of the shoes and the inside lining of the shoes as he looked for anatomical features to compare to crime scene samples.

He concluded the same wear angles had formed on all three pairs of shoes, which meant the same movement led to the footwear wearing in that way.

The mud-encrusted shoes also revealed asymmetrical findings which showed the left side of Daniel's body was not functioning the same way as his right side, Mr Bennett said.

The court heard those same findings could be seen in the other shoes his parents had handed to police.

Mr Bennett said he believed the Globe shoes found at the search site belonged to a person roughly 12 to 13 years of age.

This small demountable building at Glasshouse Mountains is where, according to police, Daniel Morcombe died.
This small demountable building at Glasshouse Mountains is where, according to police, Daniel Morcombe died.

House where Daniel allegedly molested 'gutted' by retiree

A LANDBOROUGH retiree has told the court how he completely gutted the demountable house where Brett Peter Cowan told undercover police he tried to molest Daniel and then killed him.

Brian James Russ said he took the building from the macadamia farm at Lot 2 at 510 Kings Road at Glasshouse Mountain in late 2005 or early 2006.

He said they pulled it in half and transported it on a tilt tray to Landborough to renovate to live in

"It was knocked around a bit," he said.

"Apparently it had been vacant for some time."

Mr Russ said he removed the carpet, wall cladding, bathroom and cupboards which were left at the farm.

"We just took basic shell and completely refurbished it," he said.

"We lived in it.

"We completely gutted it, tiled the floor and replaced most of the wall clad and cupboards, re-plumbed and did the electricity."

 


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