An inquest into the disappearance of missing fraudster Melissa Caddick has heard that a key theory that suggests Caddick amputated her own foot to stage her disappearance is “very unlikely”.
Caddick has not been seen since November 12, 2020, when she disappeared from her beachside mansion the same day the Australian Investment and Securities Commission (ASIC) raided her Dover Heights home.
The 49-year-old is presumed to be dead after the remains of her foot were discovered on the NSW South Coast.
As the inquest commenced on Monday, September 12, orthopaedic surgeon David Lunz was asked to weigh in on the suggestion that Caddick had amputated her foot. Lunz said it would have been “extremely difficult” for Caddick to perform such a procedure as it would have resulted in heavy blood loss and possible infection.
Junior Counsel Assisting the inquiry Louise Coleman told the court that an amputation would require the use of a prosthetic which would likely have raised questions regarding the theorised amputation.
“Having regard to that evidence, your Honour may form the view that it is very unlikely that Ms Caddick has amputated her own foot, with or without the assistance of a non-medically trained individual, in order to stage her disappearance,” Coleman said.
The inquest also heard that a previous autopsy had determined that the severed foot did indeed belong to Caddick, however it could not determine how the foot came to be separated.
Wow, forensic pathologist was unable to tell how Melissa Caddick’s foot became detached from her body and that it may well be that the Coroner returns an open finding into her presumed death. #CaddickInquest
— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) September 12, 2022
The inquest is expected to continue for the remainder of the week and then recommence for a second week on September 26.
Rumours and theories as to the fate of the Sydney conwoman have swirled after her foot was discovered washed up on a beach several months after she vanished.
Criminologist, Dr Xanthe Mall, recently weighed in on the mysterious case, telling The Daily Mail it’s difficult to determine whether Caddick is dead or alive given her severed foot is the only trace left of the conwoman.
“It’s possible, at the extreme end of what’s possible, in that what’s been recovered is a foot and medically you can survive without a foot,” she said.
“It wouldn’t be impossible to disappear when you have that much money. As an investigator, I couldn’t rule it out. But what’s possible and likely are two very different things.”
Mallett ruled out one theory, telling the publication that “based on her personality profile I don’t think she’s likely to have committed suicide.”
“I think the most likely outcome is she was sadly murdered, second that she took her own life and third is that she’s still alive,” she said.