Annette Shirley BRIFFA
|Annette Shirley BRIFFA|
|DOB:||1961 - 18 years old when missing|
|HAIR:||Brown||BUILD:||slight build, olive complexion||EYES:||Brown|
|Annette was last seen at Asquith on 10 January 1980. She had been living in the area as well as on the Central Coast. She was possibly sighted on the Pacific Highway that day heading towards Hornsby. Annette has not been seen or heard from since that date and there are grave concerns for her safety and welfare.|
|Reported missing to: Hornsby Police Station|
Disappearance remains a mystery
By Natasha Wallace - SMH
January 28, 2005
Fifteen years after Annette Shirley Briffa disappeared her uncle suddenly turned to her brother and said: "I've got to tell you something about your sister. I'll be back in an hour." But Raymond Briffa never learned what his uncle John Briffa wanted to tell him - that day he had a heart attack and died. The mystery of what happened to Annette Briffa on January 11, 1980 came before the Woy Woy Coroner's Court yesterday, but appears no closer to being solved.
Even the backpacker killer Ivan Milat was mentioned - the court heard that Annette's father, Joseph, knew him. But in his findings, the Deputy State Coroner Carl Milovanovich said that while Milat could not be ruled out, there was no evidence to link him, or any other person, to Annette's death. But it was "highly likely" that she had been killed, he said, and her case would be "treated as an unsolved homicide from this day on".
Raymond Briffa told the court that he recalled his uncle owned an orange Ford Escort. The vehicle matched the description of the car his sister was seen getting into as she hitchhiked on the Pacific Highway at Mount Colah about 3am on the day she vanished. Not long after Briffa disappeared, the uncle dumped his car in bushland at Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast. According to a police statement of facts tendered to the court, the uncle had been convicted of a "sexual-related matter". Asked if he thought his family had something to do with her disappearance, Raymond Briffa replied: "I don't know". Did he suspect anyone else? "Nah". He said he had heard a conversation between his father and his uncle about "how his father used to get Uncle John to find out where Annette was after she had run away and follow her".
In her statement to police, Annette's aunt, Joan Nixon, raised the Milat connection, saying Annette's father had rented a flat to him. Ms Nixon also told police that her niece fought with her "possessive" and "alcoholic" father and often ran away. In his evidence, Joseph Briffa denied any connection to Milat.
Raymond William Nixon - who is not related to Joan Nixon - told the court he saw Annette get into an orange car after a night out drinking and cruising the streets with he and others. He said he had "no idea" what happened to her. The police statement of facts said that after Briffa's disappearance, Nixon had been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend.
A Sydney teenager who disappeared 25 years ago had most likely been abducted and murdered, the NSW Deputy State Coroner found today.
Annette Briffa was 18 when she was last seen hitchhiking on the Pacific Highway at Mount Colah in January 1980.
An inquest on her disappearance heard today that one of the last people to see her, a man with whom she had been out drinking, has since been jailed for murdering his de facto wife.
But the man, Raymond Nixon, was not considered a suspect in the Briffa disappearance, the inquest heard.
However, NSW Deputy State Coroner Carl Milovanovich said serial killer Ivan Milat, who was known to have travelled between Sydney and the state's north around the time of her disappearance, could not be ruled out as a suspect.
Although there was no conclusive evidence linking Milat to Briffa's disappearance, because he been convicted of killing seven young hitchhikers, Milat "could never be totally eliminated as a suspect", Mr Milovanovich said.
He delivered an open finding on the inquest that recommended that the NSW Police now treat the matter as an unsolved murder.
"As to what actually happened, well, we may never know," he said.
Detectives investigating backpacker killer Ivan Milat had reviewed Briffa's case.
Milat is serving a life sentence for the murder of seven young backpackers and an attack on another traveller between September 1992 and November 1993.
Detective Senior Sargent Craig Davis, heading the investigation into Briffa's disappearance, told the inquest some of the teenager's relatives had suggested her father once rented a flat to Milat.
But Briffa's father had denied knowing Milat and there was no evidence to link the serial killer to her disappearance, the inquest heard.
"While Ivan Milat cannot be eliminated as a suspect in this disappearance there is no evidence to suggest any involvement of him," Senior Sargent Davis said.