news

"The weight you bear." Gary Jubelin on not solving the disappearance of William Tyrrell.

After more than three decades of putting away bad guys, homicide detective Gary Jubelin jokes that he may meet them all again. In jail.

It’s probably not something to joke about. But Jubelin uses humour as his coping mechanism, and in recent months he’s needed plenty of it.

The former NSW Police detective was dumped from the investigation into William Tyrrell’s disappearance earlier this year, shortly before being charged with allegedly making illegal recordings during his inquiries.

Listen to The Quicky debrief on the truth about William Tyrrell’s parents, and what happened after the three-year-old’s disappearance. Post continues below.

He strongly denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty to all four.

Speaking with journalist Jana Wendt at the Sydney Crime Writers Festival on Sunday, the father-of-two said he considered his inability to solve the William Tyrrell case a “personal failure”.

“But that is the weight that you bear,” The Australian reported him saying. “I will carry that until the day I die, if we don’t find out what happened to William Tyrrell.”

He felt he’d let down both William’s biological parents and his foster parents, whose care he was in when he went missing about 10.15am on September 12, 2014, and worried that in his absence, the case would lose momentum.

frank abbott william tyrrell
The last photo taken of William Tyrrell.
ADVERTISEMENT

Despite being removed from the case, Jubelin said he did have thoughts, "not just gut instinct", on who was responsible for William's disappearance five years ago, but he cannot be "100 per cent certain".

"It's a question I'm asked a lot," he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"I have thoughts, ideas about what may have happened, but I want to stress that there is a process with the coroner and an ongoing inquest which I respect totally and support."

He told the crowd at the event the recordings he made, and is charged over, were of conversations with an elderly neighbour who lived on the same street in Kendall on NSW's mid north coast as William's foster grandmother, where he vanished from in 2014.

"Those charges relate specifically to me carrying out my duties. It was within the scope of what I was tasked to do, investigating the William Tyrrell matter," he said. "I had a lawful reason to record those conversations, and an operational need.

"It has impacted on me greatly. Obviously I’ve left the police. I am in the police to support victims and lock up bad guys. And I wasn’t able to do that."

gary jubelin william tyrrell
NSW Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin speaks to the media in Kendall on the NSW mid-north coast, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Image: AAP.

Outside court in July, Jubelin said the case against him was an "incredible waste of time" and he was sad to have left the NSW Police after the allegations surfaced, making his position "untenable".

But for more than four years, Jubelin led a team which gathered more than 4000 pieces of evidence, received more than 15,000 pieces of information and conducted hundreds of interviews in an effort to answer the question that has weighed heavily on him: What happened to William Tyrrell?

ADVERTISEMENT

It's not the only heavy question that he has been trusted to answer in his long career.

In 2012, his life was played out through actor Matt Nable, as a protagonist in Underbelly: Badness, which covered a number of real crimes that occurred in Sydney between 2001 and 2012. Under the direction of Anthony Perish, a convicted kidnapper, murderer and drug-dealer, a flurry of criminal activity took place in Lindfield, New South Wales, and it was only due to the perseverance and commitment of Jubelin, that Perish was ever caught and prosecuted.

Matt Nable played Detective Gary Jubelin in Underbelly. Image via Nine.

He has also been instrumental in investigating the Bowraville murders, an unsolved case where three Indigenous children disappeared from the same street between 1990 and 1991.

Justifiably, members of the Bowraville community have an intense distrust of police, but Jubelin managed to earn the respect of the aggrieved families.

In 2014, he said of the case which he had been working on for more than eight years, "I am still shocked by the lack of interest that has been shown in this matter".

Jubelin’s case is listed for hearing on September 24.

00:00 / ???