Tag: Ms Kehlet
The daughter of a woman feared dead in WA’s outback says her family’s worst-case scenario has been realised, with authorities unable to find her five years after her disappearance.
- Raymond Kehlet died and his wife vanished on a WA prospecting trip
- A coroner has been examining what happened on the fateful journey
- The ordeal has had an immeasurable impact on the couple’s family
Kelly Keegans read an emotional statement at an inquest examining the death of her stepfather Raymond Kehlet, 47, and the suspected death of her mother, Jennie Kehlet, 47, during a prospecting trip to Sandstone, about 700 kilometres north-east of Perth, in March 2015.
The couple’s disappearance sparked the most expensive search in WA’s history, which ended after Mr Kehlet’s body was found down an abandoned mine shaft.
The inquest has heard his cause of death could not be ascertained.
No trace has ever been found of Mrs Kehlet.
Ms Keegans broke down as she read a statement to the court saying her mother had been full of life.
“She created warmth and she was the tightest hug,” Ms Keegans said.
“When this all started our worst-case scenario was that mum would never come home at all.
“They deserve so much more than the death they’ve been reduced to in the eyes of the world.”
Daughters learnt of stepfather’s death through the media
Ms Keegans said she and her sisters learnt of the discovery of Mr Kehlet’s body through the media.
“No one checked to see if we had been told,” she said.
“It’s a terrible, sick feeling when I think of him down the bottom of that mine shaft.
“He should be here with us.”
She also described her family’s pain at learning the bank had foreclosed on the pair’s house in Beverley, in the Wheatbelt, before a death certificate had been issued for her mother.
Family has hopes for justice
Mr Kehlet’s brother Malcolm also addressed the inquest, saying the impact the couple’s deaths had on his family was immeasurable.
“Ray and Jennie were always together and an inseparable pair,” Mr Kehlet said.
“These years have taken a heavy toll on our family and friends.”
He said he hoped there would ultimately be justice for his brother and that Ms Kehlet could eventually be found and laid to rest.
Last month, a man named by police as a suspect in the case gave evidence at the inquest.
Graham Milne had accompanied the Kehlets on the prospecting trip to help them search for gold.
During his testimony Mr Milne told the inquest the last time he saw the couple alive was on Saturday March 21, two days after they arrived and set up camp.
That day he had gone out prospecting on his own, before returning in the early hours of the next morning, packing up his things and leaving the campsite without saying goodbye.
He denied having anything to do with the pair’s disappearance.
Coroner Ros Fogliani will hand down her findings at a later date but today indicated they would include a conclusion that Ms Kehlet was no longer alive.
A man named as a suspect in the case of two prospectors who disappeared in remote Western Australia has been compelled to answer questions at an inquest, after voicing concerns his evidence may “incriminate” him.
- Raymond and Jennie Kehlet travelled to remote WA with Graham Milne
- Both went missing, and Mr Kehlet’s body was later found down a mine shaft
- Mr Milne, the last person to see them alive, is still considered a suspect by police
Graham Milne is the last known person to have seen Raymond and Jennie Kehlet alive, when the three of them went on a prospecting trip to Sandstone, about 700 kilometres north-east of Perth, in March 2015.
Mr Kehlet’s body was found down a mineshaft about three weeks later, but no trace has ever been found of Ms Kehlet.
On the first day of the inquest last week, police identified Mr Milne as a suspect in the case, testifying some of the information he told investigators was not supported by evidence.
The inquest was also told police had intended to charge him, but the move was rejected by state prosecutors.
Milne fearful of being charged: lawyer
At the start of proceedings on Wednesday, Mr Milne’s lawyer, Glenn Cridland, said his client wanted to “exercise his right not to answer questions” on the grounds “they may have the tendency to incriminate him”.
Mr Cridland said since the investigation first began, Mr Milne had fully cooperated with police.
He provided four written statements, allowed his property to be forensically searched and took part in two video recorded interviews — one of which lasted more than 12 hours.
But Mr Cridland said it was “starkly obvious” from the evidence of police that they had wanted his client to be charged and the answers he provided at the inquest could be an opportunity “to fill in the missing bits of a prosecution case”.
“One can see where the police case is going,” he said.
“If this matter was where he had refused to cooperate before, then it would be expedient for him to answer questions in a fact-finding exercise.
“It’s not expedient, it’s oppressive because of the cooperation which has been remarkable to date.”
Offer of immunity
WA coroner Ros Fogliani ruled that “for the ends of justice” Mr Milne should be compelled to answer questions, but said if she was satisfied he was truthful at the end of his evidence, she would consider granting him a certificate of immunity.
That would mean any answers Mr Milne gives to the inquest could not be used in any criminal prosecution of him.
When Mr Milne’s testimony proceeded he described Jennie and Ray Kehlet as “good friends” he met at the mine site where they all worked.
He described the couple as “being two peas in a pod” and said their friendship developed when Mr and Ms Kehlet showed an interest in prospecting and he agreed to train them.
Mr Milne has denied having anything to do with the couple’s disappearance and he has never been charged.
The inquest continues