Trudie Jeanette ADAMS

Trudie Adams, 18, went missing in 1978 after a night out in Newport.

   

Thanks to Anthony Barnao's book "Violent Crimes that Shocked a Nation" for the photographs and information about Trudie. Photo above right is from the Daily Telegraph.

Trudie has been missing since the night of June 24th, 1978. She was 18 years old and a business college student from Avalon on Sydney's Northern Beaches. She had long Blonde hair, grey-green eyes, slim build, 162cm tall. She was last seen wearing a Bottle Green floral blouse and Black jumper.

Trudie left her home at 7pm to attend a party with friends and walked up Barrenjoey Road. She turned south to walk towards Newport. A motorist stopped to give her a lift to her friend Debbie's house and from here Trudie and Debbie walked to the Newport Hotel, arriving at 8:30pm. They stayed until closing time, 10pm. Trudie was excited about her upcoming trip to Bali in 6 weeks time. The girls travelled in a friend's car to the Newport Surf Lifesaving Club. At 10:30pm Trudie's boyfriend Steve Norris, pictured above, aged 22 arrived. Trudie left the Club for about an hour, her whereabouts unknown, but returned at 11:30pm. During this time Steve was upstairs at the club with friends. Shortly after midnight Trudie ran outside, upset, telling no one where she was going. Steve saw her leave from the window of the Club heading for Barrenjoey Road and he assumed she would try and catch a lift as he had no car. Trudie had a habit of accepting lifts from strangers at night and this worried Steve. It was common for many people to hitch rides on the Northern Beaches at that time as there was little or no public transport available.

Steve followed her out of the Club but as he was crossing the carpark Trudie had already reached the road and was getting into a fawny-beige 1974 - 76 Holden panel van with no side windows which had stopped to give her a lift and was already speeding up Barrenjoey Road towards Palm Beach. Steve flagged down another car to follow her but the panel van moved too quickly out of sight behind Bilgola Headland, northward.

Trudie lived just 6 minutes away but did not arrive home and she has never been seen again. Steve hitched a ride to Trudie's house and waited there for her but she never came home.

Five days after Trudie disappeared (June 29th) a male person telephoned both Trudie's parents and Mona Vale Police and said "Trudie is dead. You will find her about half way up Mona Vale Road. It was an accident."  Police searched a huge area, almost 400 square kilometres including extensively along Mona Vale Road but no trace of Trudie was found.

In the months before Trudie disappeared a total of 8 girls reported they had been picked up hitchhiking on Barrenjoey Road between Newport and Mona Vale, and were raped at gunpoint. A ninth girl was abducted at gunpoint while waiting for a bus. The suspects were two men aged about 30 years, Australian.

The victims' eyes were taped, they were handcuffed then tortured and raped after being driven into bushland within a 20km radius of where they were picked up.

There is a $50,000 reward still current for any information about Trudie Adams' disappearance and probable murder.

**I think the panel van would have been a HJ model (as the HQ's had side windows.) This is what the HJ panel van would have looked like (but fawny-beige) -

 

 

***Note from me - for legal reasons I have removed some names that have been previously published by the newspapers quoted. I have not been asked to do this but in the interests of justice for Trudie and for all the other missing women from the late 70's and early 80's I will do whatever I can to make sure those responsible for all these many disappearances are dealt with by our legal system.

Detectives appeal for help to solve 30-year mystery - Unsolved Homicide Team

2008-07-29 12:22:10

 
NSW Homicide Squad detectives investigating the suspected murder of a teenager 30 years ago have today welcomed a $250,000 reward which has been put up by the NSW Government.
 
Strike Force Keldie has been established by the Unsolved Homicide Team to carry out further inquiries into the disappearance of Trudie Adams.
 
Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford, said the case is among more than 190 allocated for further investigation by the Team.
 
"The disappearance and suspected murder of Trudie Adams impacted deeply on the northern beaches community.
 
"Tragically, Trudie's mother has since passed away without knowing her daughter's fate or seeing anyone brought to justice," Detective Superintendent Beresford said.

 
Trudie was only 18 and had been at a dance with her boyfriend at the Newport surf lifesaving club on the evening of 24 June 1978.
 
She left the dance alone and it is believed her intention was to hitch-hike home. Trudie was last seen getting into a light-coloured 1977-model Holden panel van on Barrenjoey Road in the early hours of 25 June 1978.
 
Her parents and boyfriend reported her missing later that day after she failed to arrive home.
 
"It is our belief she was kidnapped by two males and murdered," Detective Superintendent Beresford said.
 
At the time of Trudie's disappearance, extensive searches were conducted unsuccessfully of the dense bushland of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
 
Following Trudie's disappearance a number of young women came forward to report being abducted and violently sexually assaulted in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The incidents occurred between 1971 and 1978 and involved females aged between 14 and 20.
 
Strong links have been established by detectives between the sexual assaults and Trudie's disappearance.
 
"As a result of our inquiries, we believe Trudie's abduction was sexually-motivated.
 
"Furthermore, we suspect there are more victims of these two sexual predators who have not previously come forward to police. Support is available to these women, who we are encouraging to contact strike Force Keldie detectives.  Their information, despite the passage of time, might be crucial to helping us charge those responsible in this case," he said.
 

"Unsolved Homicide Team detectives have already carried out numerous inquiries since this case was reviewed and allocated for further investigation.
 
"In particular, Strike Force Keldie detectives are making inquiries in Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand, as well as in New South Wales. As a result of these investigations detectives are following strong lines of inquiry.
 
"Thirty years may have passed, but we are determined to provide this family with the answers which will give them some sense of closure," Detective Superintendent Beresford said.
 
The NSW Government has put up a $250,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person/s responsible for Trudie's suspected death.
 
Members of the public can provide information to Strike Force Keldie detectives by contacting their nearest police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
 
Callers can remain anonymous and information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
 

 

$250k reward to solve 30yr mystery

Posted Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:00pm AEST  - ABC

The New South Wales Government is offering a $250,000 reward to help solve the suspected murder of a teenager 30 years ago.

Trudie Adams was last seen getting into a Holden panel van on Barrenjoey Road at Newport in June 1978.

Police believe she had been at a dance with her boyfriend when she decided to hitchhike home. She was reported missing by her family and boyfriend the next day.

Her father, 79-year-old Charles Adams, says it is hard not knowing what happened to his daughter but hopes the new investigation will solve her disappearance.

Police say they believe the woman's disappearance may be linked to 14 known violent sexual assaults that occurred around the same area between 1971 and 1978.

Extensive searches were conducted in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park at the time of her disappearance.

Homicide detectives are also making inquiries in Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Cold case murder trail leads police to NZ

By New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie - ABC

Posted 5 hours 44 minutes ago July 31st 2008

New South Wales detectives will arrive in New Zealand today as part of a cold case investigation into the disappearance of a Sydney teenager 30 years ago.

Trudie Adams disappeared in June 1978 after she went dancing with her boyfriend at Sydney's Newport surf club.

Police believe the 18-year-old was kidnapped, raped and killed by two men.

Extensive searches were conducted in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park at the time of her disappearance.

NSW homicide squad commander Geoff Beresford says they are aiming to speak to a person of interest who now lives in New Zealand.

He says there is a $250,000 reward for information which results in an arrest.

"We're hoping that will provide an incentive certainly for someone to come forward," he said.

"There's no doubt that there are people out there who know what happened."

The Unsolved Homicide Team is currently investigating 190 cold cases.

******* in spotlight

 
John Kidman - SMH
August 3, 2008
 
 
DETECTIVES reinvestigating the 30-year-old murder of Sydney teenager Trudie Adams are to question disgraced ************ in jail.

Insiders say the move is designed to determine the nature of the jailed law enforcement boss's long-term friendship with John Anderson, one of the key suspects in the slaying of the 18-year-old business college student.

Career criminal Anderson is also considering a deal with prosecutors after the sudden postponement of his sentencing on unrelated drug charges, The Sun-Herald has learned.

The developments follow the announcement of a $250,000 police reward for information leading to a conviction over Ms Adams's murder and a series of rapes on Sydney's northern beaches.

Sources have also revealed the case is linked to a string of unsolved killings, including the 1984-85 murders of Andrea Wharton and Ante Yelavich, and the 1991 execution of former Australian light-heavyweight boxer and heroin dealer Roy Thurgar. Insiders have likened the scenario to "an underworld mosaic", with the chances of solving the long-cold homicides hinging on what Anderson reveals.

On June 2, ******* was accused of involvement in a $120 million global drug conspiracy and arrested by federal police.

Anderson, 68, who is understood to be suffering from hepatitis C and dementia, was charged with trying to smuggle 27kilograms of cocaine into Australia chained to the hulls of cargo ships, including the Tampa, in 2006. His son Michael, 30, has been convicted over the same matter, with the potential length of his jail sentence allegedly crucial to any deal in the Adams case, sources say.

Ms Adams was last seen with a group of men outside Newport Surf Life Saving Club on June 24, 1978.

Her body has not been found. After she disappeared, a stream of young women came forward to report being kidnapped and assaulted in the previous 10 months, by two armed men aged in their 30s along Barrenjoey Road.

While not prepared to name Anderson or his accomplices, homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford said last week there was little doubt the attacks were connected. "Based on that link, if you like, it makes us confident that the same offenders are responsible for all those offences," he said.

At the time, some detectives were so convinced more could have been done to prosecute Anderson - also known as Neville Tween - and his alleged co-offender that a complaint alleging a lack of support in the matter was lodged with the Police Integrity Commission. It is still being examined.

Inquiries by detectives at Manly this year into the murder of Mr Yelavich identified Anderson as the last known person to see him, outside the Manly Pacific Hotel on September 2, 1985.

Routine inquiries into Anderson's background then found ******* 's son  staying in the home of Anderson's estranged wife Susan.

There is no suggestion ********** was aware of Anderson's activities. It was also established ******** had been a close friend of Anderson for at least 30 years and a regular visitor to his Central Coast home.

Mr Yelavich's girlfriend, Ms Wharton, was last heard from on February 19, 1984, when she rang her mother to say she was staying with friends at Byron Bay.

Police sources say she became embroiled in a fatal dispute with an underworld associate of Anderson over an alleged drug rip-off and that, in the weeks before she vanished, she was warned off by hitman Christopher Dale Flannery. Detectives believe Mr Yelavich was killed after subsequently threatening revenge.

Inquiries have also revealed that the other man suspected of Ms Adams's murder is a person of renewed interest in the slaying of Thurgar, who was shot dead outside his wife's laundromat in Alison Road, Randwick, in May 1991.

 

Gangs quizzed over Sydney cold case

06:00 AEST Tue Jan 25 2011
28 minutes ago
 
By ninemsn staff

 

A group of men who called themselves "The Roseland Lads" were once questioned over the suspected murder of a Sydney teenager more than 30 years ago, an inquest has heard.

Trudie Adams was seen on June 24, 1978, leaving a dance at the Newport Surf Life Saving Club in a fawn or beige-coloured van. She was never heard from again.

An inquest began yesterday into the case, which heard that two groups of unconnected men were once at the centre of the investigation.

The Roseland Lads owned two vehicles linked to the crime and were in the area at the time of Ms Adams' disappearance, the Daily Telegraph reports.

A source told police that two men were involved in the disappearance, and that she had been raped before being hit on the head with "a spanner".

Another witness told police the Roseland Lads said that if another woman "didn't come up to scratch she would get what Trudie Adams got".

The Roseland Lads all deny involvement.

The other group linked to a series of violent sex attacks across NSW between 1971 and 1978 was led by criminal Neville Tween, also known as John Anderson.

Tween is currently in prison over a $7 million cocaine importation racket. Among his other crimes was abducting and sexually assaulting a man at gunpoint in 1975.

The inquest heard the attack against the man was similar to those against 14 other women in the area and believed to have culminated in the abduction and suspected murder of Ms Adams.

"She has not been seen by anyone who cares, anyway since," said counsel assisting coroner Peter Hamill SC.

"The overwhelming likelihood is Trudie met with foul play early that morning, administered by the person or persons who picked her up on Barrenjoey Rd."

The inquest continues today.

Policeman names suspect in Adams inquest

Updated Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:29pm AEDT - ABC

A police investigator has told an inquest he believes he knows who is responsible for the disappearance of a girl on Sydney's Northern Beaches in 1978.

Trudie Adams was 18 years old when she went missing after a dance at Newport Surf Club.

Her body has never been found.

Detective Senior Constable Gavin McKean has told Glebe Coroners Court he thinks Neville Tween, also known as John Anderson, is responsible for what happened to Miss Adams.

Tween is serving time in prison on drug charges.

Detective McKean says 14 women came forward after Miss Adams went missing, describing similar sexual assaults involving being blindfolded and held at gun point.

But he has admitted that a number of the women were unable to identify Tween as their attacker.

 

Carefree beach lifestyle hid sinister crimes

Kim Arlington COURTS - SMH
January 25, 2011

THE night she went dancing at the Newport surf club, Trudie Adams asked her mother to wait up for her. The 18-year-old never came home.

An inquest into her disappearance in 1978 heard there was a dark side to the carefree lifestyle enjoyed in those days on the northern beaches, with 14 young women reporting they were abducted and raped before Ms Adams's suspected murder.

The attacks began in 1971 and ended when Ms Adams, a business student, went missing on June 25, 1978.

Trudie Adams, 18, went missing in 1978 after a night out in Newport.

Two groups of men emerged as possible suspects in her disappearance, the State Coroners Court in Glebe heard yesterday. One is believed responsible for the string of sex attacks. Members of the other group, the Roselands Lads, allegedly talked of their involvement in her abduction.

Ms Adams's father, Charles, and brother, John, were joined at the inquest by her boyfriend at the time, Steven Norris. After Ms Adams left the club about midnight, Mr Norris saw her get into a light-coloured panel van, though police initially identified the vehicle as a green Kombi van.

"The overwhelming likelihood is that Trudie met with foul play that morning,'' Peter Hamill, SC, assisting the coroner, said.

Among the ''persons of interest'' is Neville Tween, also known as John Anderson, who is in prison over a $7 million cocaine importation. His ''diverse and lengthy criminal history'' included offences against a young man who was abducted, handcuffed and sexually assaulted at gunpoint in bushland off Mona Vale Road in 1975.

The attack was strikingly similar to those reported by young women hitch-hiking in the area. Many were blindfolded, handcuffed and threatened with firearms by assailants wearing false beards and wigs.

One Tween associate was found in 1978 with wigs, false beards and firearms. Another, Len Evans, was in Long Bay jail when Ms Adams disappeared; he allegedly boasted to a fellow inmate about committing rapes with Mr Tween in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, giving details ''chillingly reminiscent'' of what happened to the 14 victims, Mr Hamill said.

Newspaper reports suggested the NSW Crime Commission had been approached with information about Ms Adams in an effort to seal a deal on drug charges for a Tween associate. But a deputy state coroner, Scott Mitchell, was told that secrecy provisions prevent officers disclosing information except where necessary for a prosecution.

While Mr Hamill said it was ''somewhat unsatisfactory'', it was unknown whether the commission had information that could help the inquest.

Mr Mitchell may consider recommending the provisions be relaxed to allow a coroner access to information on a suspected homicide.

The inquest heard that members of the Roselands Lads owned a panel van and green Kombi. Some were in the Newport area the night Ms Adams disappeared and allegedly bragged about picking her up, saying she was run over or killed trying to escape a sexual assault.

Mr Hamill said the inquest would consider if there was substance to the ''admissions''.

Rape and murder suspect Neville Tween was well-connected police informer

A MAN police suspect was behind the murder of Sydney woman Trudie Adams more than 30 years ago was once a police informant to a senior law enforcement figure, an inquest has heard.

"Career criminal" Neville Tween, also known as John David Anderson, was a significant drug dealer during the 1990s and had a close relationship with a senior crime investigator, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Former NSW police detective Gavin McKean told the inquest he interviewed the more senior officer in 2009 to gain information about Tween.

Tween is serving an 18-year sentence for a conspiracy to import $7 million worth of cocaine, for which his son, 32, was also convicted.

In 1975, Tween and co-accused Garry Batt were convicted over the abduction and rape of a man on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Mr McKean told Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell yesterday he believed Tween was responsible for the disappearance of Ms Adams, who was last seen hitching a lift in a fawn-coloured panel van after a dance at Newport Surf Club, as well as 14 abductions and rapes with striking similarities during the 1970s.

In almost all instances the women were abducted by two men from Barrenjoey Rd, near the Newport Hotel, handcuffed, their eyes taped or blindfolded, and were driven to bushland where they were threatened with a firearm and raped. Tween was never charged over any of the rapes.

Ms Adams' father Charles yesterday recalled the last time he saw Ms Adams: "She kissed me on the forehead and she said, 'I won't be late'."

The inquest into the death of missing teen Trudie Adams resumes on Thursday.

 

Coroner told of Bali drug mule rumours

Malcolm Brown - SMH
January 26, 2011
 

A CLOSE friend of Trudie Adams, who disappeared more than 30 years ago after leaving a surf club at Newport, dismissed suggestions yesterday that Ms Adams, who had been due to go to Bali, had been recruited to be a drug courier to bring narcotics back to Australia.

Christine Viner, who had been a close friend of Trudie Adams, said yesterday that Ms Adams disappeared on June 25, 1978, and about a month later stories had emerged that she had been involved with drugs.

Answering counsel assisting, Peter Hamill, SC, Ms Viner said she was unaware of a suggestion that Ms Adams had been recruited, but she did not think she would have been ''that dumb''.

But a deputy state coroner, Scott Mitchell, taking evidence into the disappearance of Ms Adams, heard yesterday that shortly before her disappearance, she had told her mother that some people were ''hassling'' her.

A convicted drug importer and police informant, Neville Tween, had been named by police as a prime suspect in Ms Adams's disappearance. Police had interviewed M  *******, who was with the Federal Narcotics Bureau at the time and was handling Tween as an informant.

Mr ******* became assistant commissioner of the NSW ********** and has since been charged over a conspiracy to import 300 kilograms of pseudoephedrine and perverting the course of justice.

Her brother, John Adams, said yesterday: ''I think because Trudie was going to Bali - it is the thing. Everyone goes to Bali with drugs; I think she might have been asked to bring drugs back. Shortly after mum said, 'Trudie kept saying, ''They are hassling me, mum, they are hassling me.'' ' ''

Mr Adams said his sister had not been on drugs but there were certain people in the area who were known to be. ''You knew they were bad; they were capable of bad things,'' he said.

Federal agent Gavin McKean, formerly with the NSW Police unsolved homicide squad, said that Tween, otherwise known as John Anderson, had been the prime suspect owing to his long criminal history, and was now in jail, convicted over a $7 million cocaine importation.

After Trudie Adams's disappearance, a number of young women came forward to say they had been raped while hitchhiking in the northern beaches area and there was identification of Tween, though the identification techniques would not be acceptable in a court today.

Mr McKean said that after the disappearance of Ms Adams and the intense search for her and huge publicity, the rape offences bearing the hallmarks of abduction, tying up and assault, had stopped. He thought the perpetrator had been scared off.

Tween had not been charged over Ms Adams's disappearance and Tween's solicitor, Leon Goldberg, had written to the officer commanding the investigation warning police to ''stop looking at Neville Tween''. The hearing resumes tomorrow.

Boyfriend's one final glimpse of Trudie

HE was too far away to call out and she wouldn't have heard him. But as Steven Norris hastily walked across a surf club carpark, he caught his last glimpse of his girlfriend Trudie Adams.

Yesterday he told an inquest into her presumed death 33 years ago he recalled the moment "clear as a bell".

It was the late 1970s and he didn't like her hitching, even though everyone did it, and often insisted on going with her if she was adamant.

That night, on June 24, 1978, Ms Adams was on the other side of Barrenjoey Rd when a "fairly new" fawn or beige-coloured Holden panel van pulled up to pick her up..

"I saw the vehicle stop beside her and so I couldn't see her any more," Mr Norris told Glebe Coroner's Court.

Then, "10 seconds later", the van was gone - and so was the attractive 18-year-old woman he loved.

Mr Norris said he walked across the road, determined to hitch a ride and, in a way, to "follow" her and check that she arrived home safely.

He admitted yesterday the couple were in the process of breaking up - so perhaps they would talk when he caught up with her at her home.

Ms Adams, he said, was comfortable with her decision to end the relationship. He, however, was not.

He got a ride within a couple of minutes but the fawn panel van had long disappeared from view. Mr Norris was dropped off in Avalon and made his way to her house, to find her mother Constance still waiting up for her daughter.

But Ms Adams had not arrived home. He went for a ride on a borrowed bicycle around the beaches but in the end presumed she had stayed with friends so was not "overly concerned".

It wasn't until the next afternoon he knew something was wrong, when Ms Adams had still not returned home.

He joined police, family and her extended group of friends in a search.

But he said that within two or three days he had a deep feeling that Ms Adams had "met with foul play" on that Saturday night after a dance at the Newport Surf Life Saving Club.

Mr Norris kept his emotion in check yesterday but admitted the disappearance and suspected murder of Ms Adams had affected him deeply.

While rumours about his possible involvement in Ms Adams' suspected murder had plagued Mr Norris for many years, he said he had always simply "turned a blind eye to it".

Mr Norris also told the hearing he knew he had nothing to hide about Ms Adams' disappearance.

And he was adamant about the car make and model because he was "pretty good at cars, I know them".

 

Startling new evidence in Trudie Adams case

Jamelle Wells, ABC January 28, 2011, 3:16 pm

The neighbour of a missing Sydney woman has come forward with new evidence that contradicts what police have assumed about the case for more than 30 years.

An inquest has heard 18-year-old Trudie Adams probably "met with foul play" after hitch hiking home from a dance at Newport Surf Club in Sydney's north in 1978.

Police had thought Trudie Adams was last seen hitch hiking at Newport at midnight and was picked up there by an unknown driver.

But her former neighbour Carolyn Drake has come forward, telling Glebe Coroners Court she and her boyfriend at the time, John Milliken, found her hitch hiking in the nearby suburb of Avalon, after midnight.

She said they gave Trudie Adams a lift to her Avalon home - but did not see her go inside.

Carolyn Drake said she had "told off" her neighbour for hitch hiking because it was "stupid and dangerous".

She told the court she has never given the information to police previously, but has come forward after reading media reports of the inquest.

The new witness said she was a year behind Trudie Adams at Barrenjoey High School at the time.

She said she told other friends at school about the lift, but soon after her neighbour's disappearance, she contracted glandular fever and spent about six weeks in bed.

The counsel assisting, Peter Hamill SC, has previously told the court Trudie Adams was a "product of the northern beaches" and enjoyed the relaxed lifestyle that the area offered.

The court also heard that police have investigated whether Ms Adams' disappearance is related to one group of men thought responsible for a string of sex attacks in the area, which is not far from Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, between 1971 and 1978.

They have also investigated allegations by another group known as "the Roselands Lads", that they were involved in her abduction.

The inquest continues before Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell.

Trudie mystery: friend reveals she gave girl a lift home

Malcolm Brown - SMH
January 28, 2011 - 2:32PM

A witness has given evidence in the Coroner's Court at Glebe that totally contradicts an account accepted for more than 32 years - that Trudie Adams was picked up by an unknown driver after she left Newport Surf Club on June 25, 1978.

Instead, Carolyn Drake said today that she and her then boyfriend John Milliken saw Ms Adams hitchhiking on Barrenjoey Road on the northern beaches of Sydney in the early hours that morning and drove her home in their station wagon.

Ms Drake said that she had recognised Ms Adams, who had been a year ahead of her at Barrenjoey High School, and, after picking her up, had "told her off" for hitchhiking.

Ms Adams had said that she had had an "argument with her boyfriend" and was going home.

Ms Drake said she and Mr Milliken dropped Ms Adams off outside her home and then went elsewhere.

Ms Adams was never seen again.

Immediately after her disappearance Ms Adams's then boyfriend Steven Norris told police that he had followed Ms Adams out of a club in the early hours of June 25 because he was concerned for her safety when it appeared she was going to hitchhike.

He said that, before he had been able to get to her, she had been picked up by a Holden panel van, probably a 1977 model.

The inquest, being conducted by Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell into Ms Adams's disappearance, has not heard any other evidence to corroborate Mr Norris's account.

Ms Drake said today that, on the following Monday, June 26 1978, she went to school where she was finishing year 12 and spoke to friends Fran Mencham, Kym Frawley and Betty van der Scheur about reports of Ms Adams's disappearance - but nobody had suggested she go to the police.

Ms Drake said that shortly afterwards she became seriously ill with glandular fever, was bedridden for six weeks and when she was well again two months later had missed the huge publicity surrounding the search for Ms Adams.

Ms Drake said that she only realised this week of the possible relevance of her information when she read a report in the Herald that Ms Adams had left the surf club shortly after midnight on June 25 1978, which fitted the time frame she knew Ms Adams had been picked up.

Twist to 30-year mystery of missing Trudie Adams

Malcolm Brown and Nick Ralston - SMH
January 29, 2011
 

IT WAS the missing piece of information to the disappearance of Trudie Adams that a witness has not disclosed for 32 years.

Carolyn Mary Drake told the Coroner's Court in Glebe yesterday that she and her then boyfriend picked up Ms Adams on the night she disappeared and drove her home.

Mrs Drake, a conveyancer, said she had realised the information was relevant only this week when she read a Herald report that Ms Adams had left the Newport Surf Club after midnight on June 25, 1978, to go home, never to be seen again.

Her former boyfriend Steven Norris said he had seen Ms Adams being picked up and had gone to her home expecting to meet her there. She had not arrived.

But Mrs Drake said she and John Milliken, in a station wagon, saw Ms Adams on Barrenjoey Road trying to catch a lift at midnight or soon after.

''I feel horrible. Extremely horrible. It has upset me. Avalon at that stage was quite a small town. We all knew each other,'' she said.

Mrs Drake said that night had stuck in her memory because she was ''considered a square'' and had stayed out past her parents' curfew while celebrating her boyfriend's birthday.

She also remembers it because despite being a year younger than Ms Adams, she lectured her for hitch-hiking. Mrs Drake, nee Harrington, was completing her final year at Barrenjoey High School and knew Ms Adams, who was in the year ahead of her. She had been out with Mr Milliken on June 24 to celebrate his birthday. He was driving her home because she was late.

They had turned into Central Road, saw Ms Adams and picked her up. Ms Adams said ''she had had an argument with her boyfriend and was going home''.

Mrs Drake and Mr Milliken had taken Ms Adams home, dropped her outside and driven on.

On the Monday, June 26, Mrs Drake knew Ms Adams was missing and had talked about it with her school friends, Frajn Meachan, Kym Frawley and Betty van der Scheur. But nobody had suggested she go to the police.

She had then taken ill with glandular fever and was ill for two months - six weeks of which she was in bed. She had missed the massive publicity surrounding Ms Adams's disappearance and had not come forward until now.

In other evidence before the Deputy State Coroner, Scott Mitchell, inquiring into Ms Adams's disappearance, Mr Norris has said he and Ms Adams had broken up and that he was keen to continue the relationship but she was not. He said they had not had an argument at the club but when he saw her leaving, he had followed out of concern for her safety.

After reading the story this week Mrs Drake's husband, Trevor, a solicitor on the central coast, contacted the Crown Solicitor and told of his wife's evidence.

She said the Adams disappearance had haunted all the girls who grew up in the area at that time. Mrs Drake said she hoped her evidence might finally help solve the mystery. ''We would all just like to know what's happened to her,'' she said. The hearing resumes on Monday.

 

Boyfriend worried for Adams's safety

Malcolm Brown - SMH
January 28, 2011

 

A BOYFRIEND of the missing teenager Trudie Adams said yesterday that when he followed her out of the Newport surf club on the night she disappeared in 1978, it was because he was concerned for her safety and not because he was upset over their break-up.

Steven Anthony Norris, who had a steady relationship with Ms Adams for 18 months, said they had had a blazing row a few days earlier, when her father had told him to leave. Mr Norris said the row was probably associated with their break-up.

Mr Norris said that in the 1970s he had been a ''fairly light'' smoker of marijuana and had smoked it with Ms Adams.

He said he had been to Bali twice and had smoked marijuana there.

But he denied he had been a drug ''mule'', that he had brought drugs back, that he had been set up and threatened over drugs, or that he had told someone he came back with a stash of ''Thai sticks'', being marijuana.

Mr Norris said that on June 27, 1978, he had seen Ms Adams at the Newport Arms Hotel and again at the surf club. He had asked her ''a couple of times'' for a dance but she refused.

In answer to Peter Hamill, SC, counsel assisting the coroner's inquest into the disappearance, Mr Norris said he had been drinking but he did not think his emotions were inflamed by alcohol.

He had not been watching her or who she danced with. He had no knowledge that she might have had an interest in another boy, Steve Bryant.

He had gone after her because he was concerned for her safety. He did not think she was trying to get away from him.

But within seconds a beige or fawn-coloured Holden panel van, probably a 1977 model, picked her up.

Mr Norris said he caught a lift to Avalon and went to her home but she did not arrive and has never been seen again.

He said he could not remember telling police about an argument he and Ms Adams had about six months earlier, when they had ''come to blows''.

He did not think Ms Adams's disappearance was connected with drugs.

The hearing continues today.

Paradise lost: northern beaches' dirty secret

January 29, 2011 - SMH

 

A coroner's inquest into the 1978 disappearance of Trudie Adams has reopened old wounds and drawn attention to a darker side of the carefree beach culture, writes Damien Murphy.

Golden-haired girls standing out on Barrenjoey Road hitching, blond young men paddling into sparkling waves at Whale Beach Wedge, barefoot Avalon primary kids bringing dogs to school, and everywhere, cloaking ocean headlands and Pittwater's shores, the dark, silent bush.

Thirty-three years ago people on Sydney's northern beaches joked they lived on the ''insular peninsula'' but thought it heaven on earth. At Newport, they even had a name for it, Paradise Beach.

Then one wintry Saturday night in June 1978, Trudie Adams vanished.

Suddenly an invisible worm was exposed at the heart of northern beaches style.

A coroner's inquest into her disappearance began this week. Sad wounds were reopened and police named an elderly prisoner as prime suspect.

The historian Margo Beasley believes Trudie Adams is emblematic of a dark secret beneath surface glitter. The City of Sydney historian spent her teenage years on the northern beaches and has made a study of sexual and social relationships in surf culture.

''We forget just how brutally masculine much of Australian life was back then,'' Dr Beasley said. ''Life might have seemed free and easy, but it was very different for many girls and young women on the northern beaches. No one spoke of rape. The sexual violence was not visible. But there were abortions, many disappeared for months to have unwanted babies adopted out. There were extraordinary high levels of unreported gang rapes and group sex. Sad little girls, unloved lots were foster kids.''

Nat Young grew up at Collaroy and provided an insight into the northern beaches zeitgeist in his 1998 autobiography Nat's Nat and That's That: A Surfing Legend:

''The Grunter was really into group sex and we all greeted her with open flies every time we saw her getting off the school bus. This began happening a few times a week on a regular basis, then every weekend when all the crew at Collaroy would join the queue Other girls from our beach started to get a bit jealous of all the attention the Grunter was getting and some decided it was better to join her if they couldn't beat her. The competition was terrific. 'Brenda the Bender', 'Sally Apple Bowels', the list got longer and longer and we had plenty of activity down at the beach in between riding waves.''

The Queensland criminologist Paul Wilson thought Trudie Adams integral to an era when the beach was evolving into the national persona.

The 18-year-old Avalon business student disappeared just as the northern beaches' easy embrace of sex, dope and rock and roll unravelled. Drugs were claiming leading surfers, NSW royal commissions were putting the squeeze on marijuana, AIDS was not far ahead and Ivan Milat was yet to turn hitch-hiking into a life-threatening form of transport.

''In a broad sense you could draw a line between Wanda beach, the disappearance of the Beaumont children, the Truro murders and Leigh Leigh and see them as all part of Australia's emerging engagement with the beach and a less stringent lifestyle,'' Professor Wilson said.

''Certainly these things had happened in towns, cities and the bush. But the rise of the beach gave people a new world: a chance to lose inhibitions, it's a place of display yet paradoxically amid all that freedom and beauty, it can be violent. It makes people think they can get away with murder.''

The northern beaches lifestyle also attracted men from outside hunting easy prey. The inquest heard the ''Roseland Lads'' gang was prowling the peninsula the night Trudie Adams vanished.

''Hitch-hiking was a way of life,'' Dr Beasley said. ''Public transport was abysmal, you had to wait hours sometimes. If somebody pulled up at a bus stop and offered a ride, you took it.''

Trudie Adams left home about 7 pm, hitched to a friend's house, walked to the Newport Hotel, and got a lift to a dance at the Newport Surf Life Saving Club.

Her recently dumped boyfriend Steve Norris saw her leave. He followed her to Barrenjoey Road and watched her thumb a lift in a brown 1977 Holden panel van. A fellow student at Barrenjoey High School, Carolyn Drake, told the inquest yesterday she had picked up Trudie and dropped her at her home after ''telling her off'' for hitch-hiking.

Police named Neville Tween, 70, as prime suspect. A police informer serving an 18-year sentence at Long Bay for conspiracy to import $7 million worth of cocaine in 2006, Tween was convicted of abducting a man and forcing fellatio and other acts at gunpoint in local bushland in 1975.

Police consider Tween's modus operandi evident in 14 abductions and rapes around the northern beaches between 1971 and 1979. Women were picked up along Barrenjoey Road, handcuffed, blindfolded and driven to bushland where they were threatened with a firearm and raped. The attacks stopped when Tween left the area.

Tween cannot give closure to those who grieve for Trudie Adams. He has dementia.

Detective doubts inquest claim

Justin Norrie - SMH
January 30, 2011

A FORMER detective who investigated the disappearance of Trudie Adams in 1978 has questioned new evidence from a woman who has emerged to say she dropped Ms Adams home on the night she vanished.

Federal agent Gavin McKean said that in his opinion it defied logic that someone holding such a crucial piece of evidence could have kept quiet for 32 years in the face of the publicity surrounding the case.

Carolyn Drake told the Coroner's Court in Glebe she had realised the information was relevant only last week when she read a media report about the case - one of the biggest missing person investigations in NSW history.

For 32 years homicide detectives had tried in vain to establish what happened to Ms Adams after she left a dance at the Newport Surf Club in the early hours of June 25, 1978, and hitched a ride in a light-coloured van.

Mrs Drake's startling revelation appears to have finally answered the question. She told the court she had been travelling on Central Road with her then boyfriend John Milliken when the pair saw Ms Adams and stopped to pick her up. She said they drove her home and left her in front of the house. Ms Adams was never seen again.

The episode was memorable, Mrs Drake said, because Ms Adams had been a year ahead of her at Barrenjoey High School. ''Avalon at that stage was quite a small town. We all knew each other,'' she said.

But she had missed the initial publicity over her disappearance because she had been ill with glandular fever for two months.

Agent McKean said it was ''stretching the bounds of belief'' that someone who knew Ms Adams could have missed the enormous interest in the local community and media that her disappearance generated.

The former detective, who re-examined the case with the NSW police unsolved homicide squad, left to join the Australian Federal Police in May.

''This is a person who allegedly lived in the same area, was of a similar age and knew Trudie,'' he said. ''It defies logic that no approach to family, friends or police was made in 32 years.''

In that time detectives had taken thousands of calls and interviewed hundreds of potential witnesses. That Mrs Drake's involvement would go undiscovered was hard to believe: ''I'm struggling to accept that.''

Last Tuesday Agent McKean told a deputy state coroner, Scott Mitchell, he was convinced Ms Adams had been abducted and murdered by Neville Tween - a career criminal also known as John David Anderson - and his associates.

Ms Adams had disappeared on the same stretch of Barrenjoey Road near Newport Hotel, and at the same time of night as other women who were abducted and raped between 1971 and 1979, when Tween was living nearby in Terrey Hills. Some victims identified Tween but their evidence was not admissible.

Former associates of New Zealand-born Tween have called him an extreme sexual deviant. In the 1990s he became a drug player and an informant to a senior crime investigator who cannot be named.

Tween's friendship with the investigator came under scrutiny at the hearing last week when it emerged the man had worked in the Federal Narcotics Bureau in the late 1970s and was asked to help on Ms Adams's case, when Tween was a suspect.

Tween, 70, is serving 18 years for his role in a 2006 conspiracy to import $7 million worth of cocaine. He is expected at the hearing this week. It resumes tomorrow.

 

 

Hitchhiker attacked just hours before Trudie Adams disappeared, inquest hears

A YOUNG female hitchhiker claims she was attacked by a man on the northern beaches just hours before Trudie Adams disappeared more than 30 years ago.

Amanda Murphy, who now has the surname Smith, has given evidence today at an inquest into the disappearance and suspected murder of 18-year-old Ms Adams in June 1978.

Ms Murphy, then aged 16, said she finished a shift at Newport's Kentucky Fried Chicken shop at 9pm on the night of June 24.

She told Glebe Coroner's Court she left work and decided to hitch a lift to the Newport Arms Hotel - otherwise a 20 minute walk - because she was rushing to meet up with her boyfriend, who she jokingly said she wanted to "protect" from other girls.
 

Within seconds, Ms Murphy said, a man had pulled up and offered her a lift.

"I felt a bit scared ... I sensed something wasn't quite right," she said.

When he stopped the car before reaching their destination, she knew something was wrong.

"He grabbed me by my neck, pulled me towards him and towards his face ... with both hands," she said.

"Then there was a bit of a struggle ... I recall trying to make some noise, wriggle and scream, I was terrified.

"He was saying 'if you just be quiet, it will be okay,' or something along those lines."

Eventually, the man pushed her head down on his lap and was "really really holding me" there.

"I felt like he was trying to reach for something," she said.

Ms Murphy managed to escape, the car sped off, and she reported the matter to police.

However she was unable to identify the vehicle except that it was a sedan, and not dissimilar to her mother's Holden.

When asked by junior counsel assisting, Kirsten Edwards, if she had felt in grave danger, Ms Murphy replied: "God yeah."

Earlier, three woman gave evidence that a friend of theirs Carolyn Drake had never told them that she had seen Ms Adams that night.

Ms Drake's evidence, given last Friday, had potentially changed the landscape of the last sighting of the popular young woman, as she told the inquest she had given Trudie a lift at one stage that night.

However, all three women Ms Drake claims to have told the information said they had never heard it before.

"She never said anything like that ... I would have gone to the police myself," said one, Kim Frawley.

"There's no way ... (we would have) kept this quiet for all these years, like everyone else everyone's wanted to know what's happened to Trudie, always."

The inquest continues.

Adams inquest suspect claims being set up

By court reporter Jamelle Wells - ABC

Updated Wed Feb 2, 2011 1:13pm AEDT

A man police suspect was involved in the disappearance of Sydney woman Trudie Adams has told an inquest he has been set up over a string of crimes.

Glebe Coroner's Court has heard that 70-year-old Neville Tween, also known as John Anderson, is a suspect in the disappearance of Trudie Adams.

The 18-year-old was last seen leaving Newport Surf Club in Sydney's north in 1978.

Tween's evidence to the inquest today lead to an angry exchange with the Coroner.

Currently serving a jail sentence for drug offences, Tween told the inquest that police have set him up on a string of criminal offences that he has been convicted of since the age of nine.

Tween said that, although police also suspect he was involved in a number of abductions and rapes on the Northern Beaches, "their red hot case is just speculation".

When pressed about some of his vague answers to questions Tween said the speculation has damaged his reputation.

Coroner Scott Mitchell then snapped back, "you haven't seen anything yet" and told the witness the real damage will be if the inquest finds he is linked to Trudie Adams' disappearance.

"We'll take a break and you can think about that," the Coroner said.

Earlier Tween told the court he was not an angel but that police had framed him for a number of crimes.

His response was to a question from the council assisting, "do you agree you've led a life of crime?"

The inquest heard Tween has a number of convictions that include theft, and drug offences.

He is now serving an 11-year jail sentence for drug offences and is being held in the Long Bay Prison Hospital.

He told the Counsel Assisting he has not obtained legal advice because he cannot afford it

Adams inquest told suspect is a sexual deviant

By court reporter Jamelle Wells - ABC

Updated Tue Feb 1, 2011 2:34pm AEDT

An inquest has heard that a man police suspect was involved in the disappearance of Sydney woman Trudie Adams, is a sexual deviant.

The 18-year-old student disappeared after leaving a dance at the Newport Surf Club in Sydney's north in the early hours of June 25, 1978.

Glebe Coroner's Court has heard that, although her body has never been found, police suspect 70-year-old Neville Tween (also known as John Anderson), who is in jail for drug offences, may have been involved in her disappearance.

Garry James Batt, who served a six month jail sentence for abducting and sexually assaulting a male victim with Neville Tween in 1975, told the court that Tween asked him to bring the victim to bushland in Kuringai National Park, north of Sydney.

He said Tween thought the male victim had cheated him in a $200 drug deal involving marijuana 'cut with parsley'.

The witness said he assumed Tween would "give him a backhander and tell him the error of his ways", but instead he terrorised the victim with a sub machine gun, forcing him to strip and dig his own grave.

"He was pretty crazy," he said.

Garry Batt said he fled to Melbourne after serving his sentence because in jail Tween told him "If you don't disappear, I'll make you disappear".

The witness said 70-year-old Tween was a sexual deviant.

Former detective Gavin McKean has previously told the inquest he thought Tween was responsible for Trudie Adams' murder and the abduction and rape of several other female hitchhikers.

Tween's first wife, Dulcie, has given evidence.

Tween is expected to give evidence tomorrow.

Crazy and a 'sexual deviant' - Trudie Adams inquest told of fears

 

A SUSPECT in the disappearance of teenager Trudie Adams was described as a "sexual deviant" and "pretty crazy" ahead of his own appearance at a Sydney inquest.

One-time criminal Gary Batt has told how his former associate Neville Tween - named as a person of interest in Ms Adams' disappearance - "went well over the top" in the pair's sex attack on a young man and Batt had later feared for his own safety.

"If something would have happened, he [Tween] would not have left any witnesses," Batt told Glebe Coroners Court. Tween, also known as John Anderson, is currently in jail for importing cocaine. He is due to give evidence at the inquest today.

Tween's ex-wife Dulcie Anderson testified he had been violent towards her in their marriage but said she knew nothing about his sexual offending.

Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell has been told 18-year-old Ms Adams was last seen leaving the Newport Surf Club, on Sydney's Northern Beaches, after midnight on June 25, 1978.

Tween also has been named as a suspect in relation to a number of sexual assaults in the Northern Beaches area in the years before Ms Adams went missing.

Batt told the inquest he and Tween each served six months in jail after pleading guilty to procuring a male for an indecent purpose in July 1975.

The young man - who had ripped off Tween in a drug deal - was abducted, handcuffed and sexually assaulted at gunpoint in bushland in Sydney's north.

Batt said he had been friends with Tween since they met in a boy's home in 1955 until Tween went "a bit crazy".

After the attack on the young man, Batt formed the view Tween was a sexual deviant. Batt said he fled to Melbourne after serving his sentence as Tween had threatened him in jail.

"I feared for my life," he said.

He said Tween told him "if you don't disappear I will make you disappear".

 

Suspect smirks at gun attack

FORCING a man at gunpoint to dig his own grave, dress in women's underwear and perform fellatio was no big deal for Neville Tween, the chief suspect in the murder of Sydney woman Trudie Adams.

"There was no violence or harm done to him," Tween told a coronial inquest in Sydney yesterday.

"It was no big deal and this guy obviously wasn't terrorised."

Tween, who was armed with a submachine gun during the 1975 attack, even joked that he had to force the man to take his clothes off, because "how else would I put the woman's dress on him?"

The 70-year-old, who is serving an 18-year sentence for a $7 million cocaine importation plot, was giving evidence at an inquest at Glebe Coroners Court into the death of Adams in 1978.

Tween is the chief suspect in Adams's disappearance and police also believe he is responsible for the rape and abduction of 14 other women on the northern peninsula of Sydney in the 1970s.

Former NSW Police detective Gavin McKean last week told the court that the modus operandi in the 14 other incidents was strikingly similar to the attack with the submachine gun and all the incidents occurred during the rare periods when Tween was out of jail.

Tween smirked when the submachine gun attack was related to the court. And he laughed when counsel assisting the coroner Peter Hamill SC said that by "the ripe old age of 10" Tween had already racked up numerous offences.

"For a couple of lollies from Woolworths," Tween scoffed.

Trudie Adams murder suspect Neville Tween 'loose cannon' at inquest

THE prime suspect in the abduction and murder of Trudie Adams appeared in court today admitting he was "no angel" but claiming to have no memory of the 1970s when the Sydney teenager disappeared.

Neville Tween, 70, was called to give evidence at an inquest into Adams's disappearance on June 25, 1978.

Tween, who is presently serving an 18-year-sentence for a $7 million cocaine importation plot, was described as a "loose cannon" in the witness box by counsel assisting the coroner Peter Hamill SC.

At times Tween refused to answer questions and spoke over the top of Mr Hamill, raising the ire of deputy state coroner Scott Mitchell.

"The way it works is (Mr Hamill) asks the questions, not you. I have been pretty tolerant," Mr Mitchell said.

Tween smirked as Mr Hamill described an assault in 1975 in which Tween and accomplice Garry Batt forced a young man at gunpoint to perform fellatio while he took photos of the act.

"There was no violence or harm done to him," Tween said.

Tween then asked if he could view the Polaroids he had taken of the incident so he could see the reaction on the young man's face, claiming, "Oh, no it's not a turn-on."

Mr Mitchell denied that request.

Mr Hamill told the inquest that Tween began his criminal career at the age of nine and by the "ripe old age" of 10 he had racked up about seven break and enter offences.

Tween chuckled to himself and said, "a couple of lollies from Woolworths".

Last week former NSW police detective Gavin McKean told the court he believed career criminal Tween was guilty of Adams's murder as well as the abduction and rape of 14 other women.

Tween criticised the police investigation, which named him as a "red hot suspect".

"Where's all the evidence of 30 years . . . 30 years is a very long time and not to even interview me . . . and yet you are putting me up in the papers and all that as the first suspect . . . come on, give me a fair go."

Tween was only lost for words when questioned about where he was in March 1971, when two young hitchhikers were abducted at gunpoint and raped, and the rest of his time in the 1970s.

"My memory is not the best," Tween said.

"I would not remember one day, let alone one week or a very special event. I lived a very sedate life".

After two hours of questioning, Tween then demanded "legal representation".

"I want to get some legal assistance here," he said.

"We have gone through all this crap . . . and yet not one word has been said about (Adams)."

Tween declined to answer any more questions at which point Mr Mitchell adjourned the inquest until 2pm today.

 

After 30 years, the truth about what happened to Trudie Adams is hard to prove

Police believe a Sydney northern beaches rape culture led to the teenager's disappearance

WALLABIES leap through the long grass, native blossoms sway in the breeze and the throb of cicadas fills the air in a clearing beside a winding bush trail in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park north of Sydney.

But for former NSW police detective Gavin McKean, this is no bush idyll. Beneath the buzz of overhead powerlines, McKean sees a devil's playground where he believes Neville Tween and three accomplices raped and threatened young female hitchhikers during a reign of terror in the 1970s.

McKean's suspicions were made public last week at an inquest at Glebe Coroner's Court into the suspected rape and murder of Sydney teenager Trudie Adams in June 1978.

McKean and Detective Senior Constable Nicole Jones of the Unsolved Homicide Squad were assigned the cold case of Adams's disappearance in 2007. The pair spent over two years devoted to the task before the case was referred to the coroner late last year.

"I strongly believe that Trudie Adams was kidnapped off the street by Tween and [Raymond] Johnson for the purpose of sexual assault," McKean wrote in a statement tendered to the court.

"I believe that something went wrong as the two men went about the business of sexually assaulting Adams and she has been killed."

Johnson took whatever secrets he had to the grave in October last year. Tween, now known as John David Anderson, is serving an 18-year sentence for a 2006 conspiracy to import $7 million worth of cocaine, for which his son, Michael, 32, was also convicted.

The 70-year-old appeared at the inquest on Wednesday. He was a difficult witness, at times denying proven evidence, laughing at descriptions of his life in crime and making "convenient omissions" from his testimony.

"My memory is not the best," Tween said. "I would not remember one day, let alone one week or a very special event. I lived a very sedate life."

The court has heard Tween was born in 1940. At 14 he was sent to a boys home and upon his release followed his family to the Riverina region of NSW.

Police investigating the disappearance of Adams were able to trace Tween's whereabouts through his lengthy custodial history. Tween married his first wife, Dulcie, in 1973 while in custody in South Australia for hotel breaks and larceny.

The couple moved to the northern beaches region of Sydney on his release in 1974 and settled with their two small children in Booralie Street, Terrey Hills, not far from the devil's playground.

The trail that leads to Tween begins in July 1975, when he and accomplice Garry Batt were sold a dodgy marijuana deal by Sydney man Paul Whittaker.

Batt told the inquest Tween ordered him to collect Whittaker and bring him to a clearing in the national park, just off Mona Vale Road near the St Ives Showground. Batt thought they would just give Whittaker a "backhander"to show him the error of his ways. Tween had other ideas.

When Batt and Whittaker arrived in the bush they were met by Tween, who was wearing a motorcycle helmet and was armed with a sub-machinegun with a bayonet attached. At gunpoint Whittaker was forced to dig his own grave, take his clothes off, dress in women's underwear and fellate Batt, while Tween took photographs with a Polaroid camera.

Tween joked about the incident in court this week and claimed it was "no big deal".

"There was no violence or harm done to him," Tween said. "The guy obviously wasn't terrorised."

Whittaker told police Batt said: "That c . . . [Tween] is mad, he picked up two sheilas hitching, took them up there and we got a lot of good pictures of them."

When Whittaker took detectives to the bushland crime scene, officers discovered a pink bra, a pair of women's underpants, a carry-bag containing two pairs of replica handcuffs, one spent 9mm cartridge shell as well as bottles of spirits and wine secreted in holes.

Tween and Batt were imprisoned over the assault of Whittaker and released in 1977.

On the evening of June 24, 1978, Trudie Adams kissed her father, John, on the forehead, told her mother, Constance, to wait up for her and left her Avalon home on Sydney's northern beaches for a night out with friends.

Adams, 18, had graduated from school a year earlier and was taking a secretarial course and saving for a trip to Bali in August.

There wasn't a regular bus service on the northern peninsula, so teenagers would hitchhike. . That night was no different.

The court heard Adams drank with friends at the Newport Arms Hotel, and when that closed the group moved on to the Newport Surf Club. At about 12.30pm Adams, who was feeling unwell after receiving vaccination shots for her Bali trip, left to hitch a ride home on Barrenjoey Road.

Steven Norris, who until that week was Adams's boyfriend, watched her cross the road and almost immediately saw a light-coloured 1977 Holden panel van pull up alongside her. The car drove off and Adams was gone.

Her disappearance made headlines and sparked the biggest police search in the state's history. Between June 27 and August 10, 1978, police and volunteers conducted 15 searches. But Adams's body was never found.

Her disappearance prompted 14 women to report rapes and attempted abductions in the northern beaches during the 70s. In almost all instances, the modus operandi was strikingly similar to the abduction and assault of Whittaker, the Coroner's Court was told. The women were hitchhiking and picked up in a car by two men, threatened with firearms, handcuffed and driven down a bush track where, aftertheir eyes had been taped shut, they were raped.

In some cases Polaroid photographs were taken of the assaults. Their attackers offered the girls marijuana or alcohol before taking their identification details and dropping them close to home, with the threat that their families would be killed if they told the to police.

Some of the women identified Tween as their attacker, but said they didn't want to press charges and only came forward in a bid to help the investigation into Adams's disappearance.

Even with a positive identification, counsel assisting the coroner, Peter Hamill SC, said the mugshot techniques used by the police at the time would not pass muster in a court today.

The sexual assaults began in March 1971, while Tween was in Sydney, and stopped when he was incarcerated in South Australia between September 1971 and September 1974, and in NSW between 1975 and 77. Shortly after Adams's disappearance, Tween moved to the NSW central coast.

McKean believes he was trying to lie low and said no rapes with the same signature method were reported after he left. He believes Tween's co-offenders in the rapes were Johnson, Batt and Len Evans. Batt appeared at the inquest on Tuesday. Outside court he said he didn't know if Tween was responsible for Adams's murder, but believed he was capable of it. Evans, who now lives in New Zealand, denies taking part in the rapes.

Tween told the court this week that allegations he was a "red-hot suspect" were all part of a "police set-up". "Where's all the evidence of 30 years?" he said. "Thirty years is a very long time . . . and yet you are putting me up in the papers as the first suspect . . . come on, give me a fair go."

With each passing year, the likelihood of a conviction diminishes. Thirty years after Adams's disappearance, McKean looked for swabs taken from some of the 70s rape victims, but that evidence, which may have held crucial DNA, had been disposed of.

Even if deputy state coroner Scott Mitchell refers the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions for charges against a known person, investigators are likely to hit the same obstacles.

McKean and Jones interviewed Tween at Long Bay prison in 2009 in the hope that, facing the rest of his life in prison, he would confess to killing Adams and allow her family some peace.

As at the inquest, Tween denied any knowledge of Adams's death. "After the interview it was mentioned to Tween . . . that it could be the case that whoever killed Trudie did so by accident and never meant it to happen [and] this would put a different slant on things," McKean told the court.

"Tween's face changed and he took a long pause, saying words similar to, 'Yes, I guess that would.' "

The inquest has been adjourned until March 21.

 

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