Cold case inquest shut down

THE cold case inquest into the disappearance of Bellingen’s Susan Maree Kiely has taken a dramatic turn.

Just as the three-day probe in Coffs Harbour Coroner’s Court wound up yesterday afternoon, Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell dropped a bombshell by banning the publication of more evidence from the court-room saga.

The inquest – which has so far heard from 12 witnesses – will resume for another three days in December.

Detectives in the meantime will chase up fresh leads which have come to light from testimony this week.

Ms Kiely, a mother-of-two, was 33 when she went missing at Bellingen on December 1, 1989. Her body has never been found and the cause of her death is shrouded in mystery.

“I am ordering the prohibition of further publication of evidence in this matter,” Mr Mitchell said ahead of his return to Sydney.

“I want nothing published while my back is turned. I’m not going to be here, I’m away.

“I’m conscious we’re part-heard and there’s further evidence to come. There has been some publicity in the paper (the Advocate) and I don’t have any problems with that and I think that’s enough.”

Mr Mitchell made the order as Ms Kiely’s former husband Robert Smith – a key figure who has not had legal representation at the inquest – took the witness stand.

The court also heard yesterday from Ms Kiely’s brother Gary Kiely and Daniel Sharples, who knew Ms Kiely.

A letter from Heidi Smith, the younger daughter of Ms Kiely and Mr Smith, was also read out.

Mr Mitchell foreshadowed the adjournment to the case by telling the court: “Some things have arisen and seem to be arising which I think require police to have further investigations. I might not ever know everything I tried to know but I want to give it the best shot I can.”

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