Listening devices captured a person of interest in toddler William Tyrrell’s disappearance telling his dead wife to “make sure you don’t tell anyone … they’re after me”, a Sydney court has heard.
Widower Paul Savage was also recorded saying “you’re a little boy” at his home in Kendall three years after William disappeared.
Mr Savage lived across the road from the mid-north coast home where the three-year-old went missing in 2014 and was one of several people subject to intense police scrutiny.
Former Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin is contesting allegations he went beyond listening device warrants and illegally recorded four conversations with Mr Savage in 2017 and 2018.
Mr Jubelin says the recordings were legal.
During the court hearing, Mr Jubelin’s barrister read a transcript of audio from the devices planted in Mr Savage’s home in late 2017.
It was suggested the retiree may have been talking to his wife Heather, who died of cancer more than two years earlier in April 2015.
“Make sure you don’t tell anyone, love … they’re after me, love, they’re right after me,” Mr Savage said, Margaret Cunneen SC told Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday.
Mr Savage, 75, denies any involvement in William’s disappearance.
He told William’s inquest in 2019 he’d always done the best he could to tell police what he remembered, including participating in interviews and walk-throughs when detectives arrived unannounced at his home.
The court heard Mr Savage often spoke to himself at home, including on 29 July, 2017 when he was captured saying: “You’re a little boy, you’re nobody, you’re just a little boy, you don’t tell me, I tell you.”
One of Mr Jubelin’s former colleagues told the court on Thursday she didn’t believe Mr Savage was responsible for the disappearance.
“I couldn’t prove it beyond reasonable doubt,” Detective Sergeant Laura Beacroft said.
“There were a few different things that firmed that up for me (but) there was nothing concrete that could put Mr Savage in or out.”
Two of the allegedly illegal recordings made by Mr Jubelin were of conversations at Mr Savage’s home in May 2018.
Det Sgt Beacroft told the court she believed she learned of those recordings shortly after the second was made.
Under cross-examination, she said Mr Jubelin told her about the recordings, that “it was not a secret” they existed and most of the Tyrrell investigators knew of them.
She also agreed that while listening devices had been secreted in the home, it would be difficult for them to pick up entire conversations conducted at the front door.
In the first May recording, Mr Jubelin suggested Mr Savage or his wife may have accidentally fatally struck William with their car.
In the second, taken the next day, the widower said he didn’t want to speak with the officer.
“A three-year-old has disappeared and you don’t want to help?” Mr Jubelin said at Mr Savage’s front door.
“I beg your pardon, I’ve helped you every way I can,” Mr Savage replied.
Both then accused each other of being untruthful during the investigation.
“You’re the one who started pushing me away. I’ve had you go through my house … you just want to put s*** on me,” Mr Savage said.
“You told me to plead guilty.”
Mr Jubelin, who quit the force in 2019, denied telling Mr Savage to plead guilty.
No one has been charged over William’s disappearance.
The hearing continues.