Flip Prior and Sean Cowan, The West Australian
Updated November 26, 2011, 3:00 am
The family of a Kimberley boy who went missing almost 40 years
ago believe one of Australia's most notorious child killers is
responsible for his abduction and murder.
Jimmy Taylor was last seen leaving a shop in Derby on August
29, 1974, and was reported to have climbed into a car with a white
His family reported him missing one week later.
The mystery has baffled police but the family's recent
discovery of a documentary covering the life of Tasmanian child
killer James Ryan O'Neill has convinced them he is responsible for
O'Neill, who was born Leigh Anthony Bridgart, left a trail of
sexual assault allegations in his wake as he moved across Australia
in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1971, he was arrested and charged with 12 counts of
abducting and indecently assaulting four boys in separate incidents
He was released on bail and fled to the Kimberley, where he
called himself O'Neill.
In late 1974, he moved to Tasmania with his new wife and
within months he was arrested over the murders of two young boys.
Police believe he tried to abduct at least two other children in the
weeks between the separate disappearances.
O'Neill was convicted of murdering the first boy and was not
tried for the second after being given a life sentence.
In a statement given to police after O'Neill's arrest, his
wife Carol said they had lived in Derby for just a few months from
June to November in 1974.
The revelation prompted Jimmy's sister Lynette
Henderson-Yates, now deputy vice-chancellor at the Broome campus of
the University of Notre Dame, to contact police. She claims they
have told her the case is too old to investigate.
"I don't believe he ran away," she said. "The fact that
O'Neill arrived in Derby and Jimmy went missing in August is too
"The police told Mum that Jimmy had just gone walkabout and
they weren't too concerned. That was the attitude in 1974.
"I spoke to the special crime squad about three years ago
because they had just been formed to look at special cases.
"They said it was too long ago, but a month later in the
newspaper there was a story about them investigating a 19-year-old
girl who went missing from Nanutarra Roadhouse the year after Jimmy
"I thought, 'Why is that case OK to investigate and Jimmy's
case is too old?' There was never even a coronial inquiry. That
should have at least been done."
Det-Insp. Casey Prinns, from the special crime squad, said the
case had been reviewed and was an ongoing investigation.
He asked anyone with information to contact police or Crime
Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
'The police told Mum that Jimmy had just gone walkabout and they
weren't too concerned.' "Sister *Lynette Henderson-Yates *
A 12-YEAR-OLD boy "seemed worried" when he got into
a vehicle with a man on the day he disappeared 40 years ago,
an inquest has heard.
THE West Australian coroner is examining the disappearance
and suspected death of James "Jimmy" Patrick Taylor who went
missing from Derby, in the Kimberley region, in 1974.
Jimmy's disappearance has remained a mystery, but when a
television documentary revealed child killer James Ryan O'Neill
had been living in Derby at the time, police looked at the case
Michael Gary Griffin told the court on Thursday that he did not
know the Taylor family but knew their faces and was sure he had
seen a worried Jimmy outside a shop on the day he disappeared.
"He told me he was going somewhere with a white guy," Mr Griffin
Jimmy wanted him to look at the man and Mr Griffin warned him
not to go if he was concerned.
Mr Griffin said Jimmy insisted he see the man, so he walked to
The man told Jimmy "quite assertively" to get in the car, Mr
"I thought that his tone of voice was unusual," he said.
Mr Griffin declined an invitation to join them and left in his
own car before them.
He later heard Jimmy was missing and might have "gone
walkabout", Mr Griffin said.
At the time of Jimmy's disappearance, it was suggested he might
have run away due to his violent father, who the court heard had
a drinking problem.
But Jimmy's brother, David John Taylor, testified he did not
think Jimmy was unfairly treated by their father and didn't
recall any domestic violence, although his father did use a
strap on him.
Jimmy's sister, Sharon Taylor, testified on Thursday that her
father taught the family about the importance of education.
"He taught us love of learning, he used to always use phrases
like 'listen and learn, pay attention to detail'," Ms Taylor
Ms Taylor said they were a close family and she didn't believe
her brother had run away.
"I don't see how he could leave us and not return. I don't
believe that," she said.
Lionel Gordon Parremore testified via video link from Tasmania
that he was 10 years old in 1975 when he got into a car with
O'Neill in Tasmania, in between O'Neill abducting and killing
two other boys.
Mr Parremore said he reported the incident to police about
one-and-a-half weeks later because he could not keep the secret
once he learned about one of the other boys.
"I just couldn't live with it anymore," he said.
Mr Parremore said he had to pick O'Neill out of a line-up and
"You just don't forget that," he said.
O'Neill was never charged over the alleged incident and Mr
Parremore did not testify against him.
O'Neill, who was born Leigh Anthony Bridgart, was interviewed by
WA detectives in a Tasmanian prison in February 2012, but denied
any involvement in Jimmy's disappearance.
The inquest continues.