The disappearance and murder of Daniel Morcombe has made headlines across Australia for years since the teenager vanished from a bus stop in the Sunshine Coast and now footage has been released of the moment his killer was arrested.
Moments after a nine-year-long inquest into the 13-year-old’s death was finalised on Friday, Queensland Police made public video of Brett Cowan being taken into custody. It was the first time the footage had been shared with members of the community.
In the short clip, shared online by ABC journalist Jessica van Vonderen, the man, who was convicted of Daniel’s abduction and murder in 2014, is confronted by police officers.
Cowan is told by police that they are investigating Daniel’s disappearance and that he is under no obligation to speak to them at that point in time.
— Jessica van Vonderen (@jessvanvonderen) April 5, 2019
“You have the right to remain silent, you don’t have to answer any questions or make any statement, do you understand that?” a member of the police force can be heard asking him.
Cowan, who is talking on a mobile phone in the footage then asks: “I’m under arrest am I?”
To which the officer replies: “Not at this time, if you’re happy to remain with us and speak to us in relation to this matter.”
Daniel’s murderer appears calm and composed as he says: “Nah, youse can arrest me.”
“Alright, you’re under arrest for the murder of Daniel Morcombe,” the officer promptly replies.
“Yep, cool,” Cowan can be heard saying. “I’m under arrest for Daniel’s, Daniel Morcombe’s murder,” he then says into the phone.
The release of the footage follows the end of a nine year inquest into the teenager’s disappearance.
During the handing down of his findings in court on Friday, Queensland state coroner Terry Ryan claimed officers should have paid more attention to Cowan during the early stages of the investigation, especially due to his criminal history.
Cowan had admitted to being at the scene of the crime, had a history of abducting and sexually abusing boys and there were gaps in his alibi. According to Ryan, officers even had access to evidence that could have been examined earlier on linking Cowan to the crime but said it wasn’t looked for eight years.
“I consider that those items should have been prioritised and the subject of much earlier examination,” the coroner said in court. “Mr Cowan was an accomplished liar and his alibi, although not strong, could not be rebutted.”
Ryan continued by claiming the case should not have been treated as a disappearance of a teenage boy who had either stayed out too late or had run away. However, he added that the response wasn’t “inappropriate” according to the procedures set out by the Queensland Police at that point in time.
“The way in which Mr Cowan’s purported movements on 7 December 2003 were investigated was relevant to the adequacy of the QPS investigation,” Ryan claimed.