Seasoned cop recalls chilling confession from Daniel Morcombe’s killer

Mar 27, 2022
Seasoned officer recalls chilling confession from Daniel Morcombe's killer. Source: Getty Images

Seasoned homicide cop Brian Wilkins, has recounted the moment Brett Peter Cowan confessed to the murder of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe.

Speaking with the Gold Coast Bulletin, Wilkins said the confession gave him “shivers”.

Wilkins who has worked as an officer for 44 years and is expecting to retire in March 2022, was part of a sting operation where undercover officers befriended Cowan while Wilkins and a team listened on devices in a separate room at a Perth casino.

“When I heard him through the listening devices confess that he had murdered Daniel, I must say that actually sent shivers up my spine,” Wilkins said.

“It was crazy (when he confessed). To me, it was just a great sense of relief – we’ve got him.”

The confession came after a long and extensive investigation by detectives.

“ … to actually find his shoes and find his remains, which corroborated what Cowan was saying, to me was the greatest times in my career,” Wilkins said.

Cowan was sentenced to prison at Brisbane’s Wolston Correctional Centre in 2014, he will be eligible for parole in 2031.

The disappearance of Daniel Morcombe sent shockwaves across the country after the then 13-year-old was abducted from the Sunshine Coast in broad daylight on December 7, 2003. The boy’s disappearance prompted one of the largest criminal investigations in Queensland’s history. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt while waiting for a bus. In October 2004, a $250,000 reward was posted by the Queensland Government for information on Daniel’s disappearance. By December 2008 the reward had increased to $1 million.

After an extensive search and an undercover police investigation, Daniel’s remains were finally found in 2011. In the same month, police arrested and charged Brett Peter Cowan with murder, child stealing, deprivation of liberty, indecent treatment of a child, and interfering with a corpse. Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, launched the Daniel Morcombe Foundation in 2005 “to give back to the community who had supported them from the day that Daniel went missing”.

The foundation aims to educate children about personal safety and to raise awareness throughout Australia of the dangers of predatory criminals.

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