Inquest takes a twist

A CLOSE friend of Susan Maree Kiely believes she was murdered over what she knew about the death of a friend.

Anne Fitzhenry told Coffs Harbour Coroner’s Court that Ms Kiely was about to go to the police with this information when ‘whoever it was got rid of Sue’.

Ms Kiely was 33 when she went missing from Bellingen on December 1, 1989. Her body has never been found and the cause of her death is unknown.

In Ms Fitzhenry’s 2004 police statement tendered to the court yesterday, she says Ms Kiely told her on the day of the funeral in 1989 of Darrel Drabsch: “It wasn’t an accident, it was murder. It wasn’t a case of the brakes failing.”

When told yesterday police had no evidence to suggest there was foul play in the death of Mr Drabsch, Ms Fitzhenry said: “I don’t believe it”.

Ms Fitzhenry’s statement also says the last time she saw Ms Kiely was three weeks before her disappearance when she visited with two males. Ms Kiely and the men were intoxicated.

“I recall both of the males said to Susan ‘I am going to kill you one day’. They said it more than once, quite a number of times,” the statement said.

When Ms Fitzhenry was asked yesterday what she thought had happened to Ms Kiely, she said: “Her dad was coming to see her on December 14 and she was so excited. I believe Sue has been murdered. There is no way Sue would ever leave Heidi (her youngest daughter living with her at the time) like that. She would never leave her kids like that.”

When asked about speculation Ms Kiely’s former husband, Robert Smith, may have been involved in her disappearance, Ms Fitzhenry replied: “I don’t think Robert has it in him to do anything”.

The court has been told Mr Smith had a motive to kill his former wife because of an impending financial settlement and she was seeking custody of their two daughters.

Ms Fitzhenry said the relationship between Ms Kiely and Mr Smith had started to deteriorate when they lost a baby.

“I never saw physical violence but Susan came to me. They had been arguing when police had been called,” she said.

“She needed to get away from the house. She would complain of being sore. I do know they would have a number of fights and she would come to me crying on a few occasions.

Ms Fitzhenry said Ms Kiely had just wanted to be a good mum for her children ‘and to go to Tupperware parties’.

She said she was concerned Ms Kiely had become involved in substance abuse and was mixing with ‘a bad group of people’.

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