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William Tyrrell’s foster mother has been found not guilty of lying to the top secret NSW Crime Commission a day after a senior detective accused her of knowing where the missing toddler is. 

The 57-year-old woman showed little emotion as she was cleared of the charge in a Sydney court on Friday surrounded by supporters including former police detective Gary Jubelin, who led the search for William for years. 

It comes after a senior detective told the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday that he believes she knows where William is. ‘I’ve formed the view (the foster mother) knows where William Tyrrell is’, Detective Sergeant Andrew Lonergan said. 

The court also heard another officer told the foster mum – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – ‘we know why, we know how’. 

William disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall, on the NSW north coast, on September 12, 2014, and has not been seen since.

William Tyrrell's foster mother (above on Thursday) was found not guilty of one count of giving false or misleading evidence to the NSW Crime Commission

William Tyrrell’s foster mother (above on Thursday) was found not guilty of one count of giving false or misleading evidence to the NSW Crime Commission

The foster mother was charged with one count of giving false or misleading evidence to the NSW Crime Commission. 

The foster mother was secretly grilled by the commission in November 2021. 

The court heard evidence that the foster mother had misled the crime commission about an alleged incident where a little girl was injured by a wooden spoon.

Magistrate Miranda Moody said she was not convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the foster mother knowingly lied to the commission.

She said given the accused ‘made such prompt admissions’ of kicking William’s foster sister, she ‘couldn’t discount the possibility that she was mistaken’.

The magistrate agreed with the defence that admitting to kicking a child was arguably worse than hitting her with a wooden spoon and that if the issue was explored further she may have had a chance to correct herself.

The foster mother sat with her hand on her lap, her fingers interlocked, as the magistrate recapped the case and the evidence presented in court.

She mopped her face with a tissue as a supporter clutched her hand while the court was told how she was asked if William died by falling off a balcony and she hid his body.

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Outside the courtroom she hugged her husband and wiped tears from her eyes as she discussed her next moves with her legal team.

When Mr Stratton asked Det Sgt Lonergan if he was pursuing the foster mother on charges to ‘break her spirit’, the police officer said the purpose of her appearing before the Crime Commission was to ‘find the location of William Tyrrell.

Extraordinary details emerged during the hearing on Thursday about how NSW Crime Commissioner Michael Barnes and counsel assisting Sophie Callan piled pressure onto the foster mother.

In fiery evidence put before the Crime Commission and played to the court the foster mother repeatedly denied the accusations about William.

She challenges investigators to ‘dig up’ the area where they claimed the three-year-old’s remains were buried. 

The foster mother was summonsed to appear before the Crime Commission along with William’s foster father on November 10 and 11 last year.

She was told by Commissioner Barnes ‘we are here to find the body of William Tyrrell’.

When it was suggested the foster mother ‘put … or dumped’ William’s remains ‘near the riding school’ at Kendall, she answered back ‘do you think I did that?’ 

The court was played secret recordings of the foster parents in which the foster mother said she had hit a girl, 10, hard with a wooden spoon

The foster mother said she had left a 'big welt', which the foster father said  that was 'not good' and could be 'a problem'

The court was played secret recordings of the foster parents (above, left and right) in which the foster mother said she had hit a girl, 10, hard with a wooden spoon and left a ‘big welt’, which the foster father said ‘that is a problem’

Senior detective Andrew Lonergan told the court he believed the foster mother knew where William Tyrrell's remains were and he was certain the boy's body was buried was the corner of Batar Creek Road and Cobb and Co Road, Kendall (above, police digging the location last year)

Senior detective Andrew Lonergan told the court he believed the foster mother knew where William Tyrrell’s remains were and he was certain the boy’s body was buried was the corner of Batar Creek Road and Cobb and Co Road, Kendall (above, police digging the location last year)

Sobbing, she continued: ‘No, absolutely not’.

When the Commissioner suggested ‘William went around on that verandah and he toppled over and it was nobody’s fault what happened’, the foster mother replied, ‘No, I would have found him. But I didn’t find him.’

When Ms Callan said, ‘I want to suggest you did find him, you put his body in your mother’s car’, the foster mother replied, ‘I didn’t, I didn’t’.

The court heard that when challenged about her knowledge of what had happened to William Tyrrell, the foster mother cried ‘You can search the whole house. Dig it up!’ 

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The court also heard police had bugged the foster parents’ homes with nine listening devices and eight hidden cameras. 

Dramatic audio was also played in court of audio of a ten-year-old child – who is not William – crying and yelling out ‘no, no, nooooo’ as she was allegedly disciplined with a wooden spoon in January 2021. 

The court heard that the foster mother had denied having struck the girl – who cannot be identified – to the Crime Commission last November.   

Det Sgt Andrew Lonergan (right) said under cross-examination by the foster mother's barrister that he believed she knew where William Tyrrell's remains were buried

Det Sgt Andrew Lonergan (right) said under cross-examination by the foster mother’s barrister that he believed she knew where William Tyrrell’s remains were buried

The court heard that when challenged about her knowledge of what had happened to William Tyrrell, the foster mother cried 'You can search the whole house. Dig it up!' Above, police search the house last year

The court heard that when challenged about her knowledge of what had happened to William Tyrrell, the foster mother cried ‘You can search the whole house. Dig it up!’ Above, police search the house last year

Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Amin Asaad told the court that ‘allegations involving the child … were put to the accused’ at the Crime Commission. 

Sen Sgt Asaad said that the foster mother had ‘denied those propositions’ and then ‘seconds or minutes after event contacted her husband and added certain things disclosing the offence … and certain observations regarding the event’.

The audio begins with a female voice, possibly of the girl, saying, ‘I am calling the police’ and then a child screaming ‘no’ and crying, panting and 

In the conversation after the incident Snr Sgt Asaad told the court, the foster mother told her husband, ‘she’s been hit really hard with that wooden spoon. She’s going to have massive welt on her leg.’ 

The foster mother has never been charged in relation to William’s disappearance, not has any other person. 

The court heard that when Det Sgt Lonergan and another police officer who interviewed the foster mother, Sgt Scott Jamieson, told the foster mother that they knew how and why William disappeared. 

Mr Stratton said the foster mother had been told ‘ we are not saying you hurt him’ and then Sgt Jamieson said, ‘we know how it happened, we know why it happened, we know where he is’

Asked by Mr Stratton whether he was lying about police knowing the location of William’s body, Det Sgt Lonergan said he wasn’t and cited an area in the town of Kendall.

The location, on the corner of Batar Creek Road and Cobb and Co Road, was the area investigated during the high intensity search made last November and December.

‘We believe it was disposed’ in that area, ‘yes’, Det Sgt Lonergan said. 

Then there is the sound of a possible slap and the foster mother ordering the child, ‘Stand up. Stand up’. 

The child said ‘no, please no, Nooooooo’ and the being told to ‘Sit down. Sit.’

The court was played a subsequent conversation between the foster mother and foster father in which he says, ‘Oh that’s not good. We’ve got a problem. We’ve got a big problem.’

Detective Andrew Lonergan (second right) with Professor Jon Olley, who found murdered Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morecombe's remains in 2011, at the William Tyrrell dig in Kendall late last year

Detective Andrew Lonergan (second right) with Professor Jon Olley, who found murdered Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morecombe’s remains in 2011, at the William Tyrrell dig in Kendall late last year

In cross-examination of Det Sgt Lonergan about detectives’ purpose in pursuing the foster mother on charges, John Stratton SC accused the detective of lying, which he repeatedly denied.

The officer agreed when Det Sgt Lonergan asked whether William Tyrrell’s body had ever been located and that the foster mother had ‘made complaints about police lack of progress in the investigation’.

But when asked whether it was his hope to break the foster mother’s ‘spirit’, Det Sgt Lonergan told the court the woman had ‘committed an offence’.

‘She was given an opportunity to give her evidence at the Crime Commission where she could tell the truth and she wouldn’t be punished, as in charges’.

The foster mother arrived at court on Thursday wearing black trousers and a black and white checked jacket and in the company of two marketing consultants, Clare and Alice Collins, who run the Where’s William PR campaign. 

Ex-detective Gary Jubelin, the former boss of the task force investigating William’s disappearance, also listened in to the hearing. The hearing continues. 

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