Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Brett Peter COWAN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Serial child molester
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 7, 2003
Date of arrest: August 13, 2011
Date of birth: August 18, 1969
Victim profile: Daniel James Morcombe, 13
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Status: Sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 20 years, on March 14, 2014

photo gallery


Murder of Daniel Morcombe

Daniel James Morcombe (19 December 1989 – 7 December 2003) was a 13-year-old Australian boy who was abducted from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, on 7 December 2003.

In August 2011, Brett Peter Cowan (born 18 August 1969), a former Sunshine Coast resident, was charged with Morcombe's murder. In the same month, DNA tests confirmed bones, found in an area being searched by the State Emergency Service (SES) under the guidance of the police, were Morcombe's.

On 13 March 2014, Cowan was found guilty of the murder of Daniel Morcombe. Cowan was sentenced to life imprisonment for indecently dealing with a child and interference with a corpse. He will not be eligible for parole until March 2034.

Abduction and murder

Morcombe was abducted from an unofficial bus stop under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass in the Woombye district of the Sunshine Coast approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of The Big Pineapple on Sunday, 7 December 2003. Morcombe planned to catch the 1:35 pm bus to the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre for a haircut and to buy Christmas presents for his family, but he failed to return.

Witnesses reported seeing Morcombe at approximately 2:10 pm on the Nambour Connection Road under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass. The bus he was supposed to catch had broken down a few kilometres before his stop, and was behind schedule. When a replacement bus eventually arrived, Morcombe hailed the bus, but it carried on without stopping, due to its delay and the fact that his stop was only an unofficial request stop. The driver of the bus radioed the depot for another bus to go and pick up Morcombe. The bus driver and other witnesses later reported seeing a man standing a distance behind Morcombe and another man slightly further away at the time. When the second bus came a couple of minutes later, Morcombe and the man had both gone.

In 2011, Perth man Brett Peter Cowan was arrested and charged with Morcombe's abduction and murder. He confessed to having approached Morcombe to offer him a lift to the shopping centre. When Morcombe accepted, he drove him to a demountable house in the Beerwah area. Upon entering the house, Cowan attempted to pull down Morcombe's pants. When Morcombe resisted, Cowan killed him. Cowan then drove Morcombe's body to an embankment, undressing and abandoning it. Cowan disposed of Morcombe's clothing in a nearby river

Morcombe owned a distinctive fob style pocket watch with "Dan" engraved on it, which has not been found.


The death of Daniel Morcombe was one of the most extensively investigated crimes in Queensland's history.

As of 12 December 2008, a total reward of A$1,000,000 ($250,000 from the Government and another $750,000 donated privately) had been offered. The privately donated portion of the reward expired at midnight on 31 May 2009. On this day, the Seven Network reported that a known paedophile (identified by the media as Douglas Jackway) could be of interest to the police. Jackway had been released from prison in 2003, one month before Morcombe's disappearance.

By early 2009, the investigation had seemingly run out of leads, but in May a full-size clay model of the man believed to be involved in Morcombe's abduction was placed at the spot where Morcombe disappeared. Within a few days there were more than 300 tip-offs.

In June 2009, the Queensland Government came under criticism from Parliament over the release of Jackway from prison. One MP claimed the Supreme Court had presented clear evidence of his risk of reoffending. This publicity also prompted civil liberties groups to call for laws banning media outlets from naming people linked to criminal cases.

In July 2009, the parents of Morcombe called for a coronial inquest in the hope of finding answers to their son's abduction and murder. The Morcombes said that after 5½ years, it was time for an inquest. Of particular interest to the family are several criminals who have told police they know who killed Morcombe and where his body was buried.

Murder charge: Brett Peter Cowan

Brett Peter Cowan was born in Bunbury, Western Australia to Marlene, a homemaker, and Peter Cowan, who was a Vietnam veteran, on 18 August 1969. He grew up in the Brisbane suburb of Everton Park, where acquaintances described him as an "ordinary guy" with few hobbies or social interests who "seemed alright".

The Cowan's lead a strict household—himself and his three brothers attended Marcellin College, now known as Mt Maria College, a Catholic high school in northside Brisbane. He dropped out in year ten and began working odd jobs throughout his late teens. He was a habitual drug user, who first tried marijuana at the age of eleven and regularly used amphetamines, cocaine and LSD.

Cowan's first conviction came at the age of 18, on December 5 1987, when he was charged with molesting a seven year old. Cowan had been performing community service at a park when he lured the child into a public toilet. He was charged in 1989 and served three years in prison.

On September 28 1993, he raped a six year old child outside a Darwin caravan park, leaving him seriously injured in an abandoned car in the bush. Cowan was sentenced to seven years in prison and served four and a half years of his total sentence. After his release, he moved to the Sunshine Coast with his pastor aunt and uncle, becoming a reformed Christian and regularly attending church.

He married Tracey Moncrieff in 1999 and the couple had a son before divorcing in 2004. Cowan was living in the town of Beerwah around the time of Morcombe's disappearance. Early on in the investigation, Cowan became a suspect due to his criminal history and his proximity to the area in which Morcombe was last seen.

On 13 August 2011, Cowan was taken into custody and charged with Morcombe's murder and other offences, including child stealing, deprivation of liberty, indecent treatment of a child under 16, and interfering with a corpse.

In 2006, Cowan had admitted to police that he travelled the road from which Morcombe disappeared on the same day of his disappearance, on his way to purchase marijuana from a drug dealer. Around this time, a white Mitsubishi Pajero was seized from a property on Russell Island. The vehicle was believed to have been involved in Morcombe's abduction after a witness at the coronial inquest in April 2011 reported seeing a vehicle of similar description parked 100 metres (330 ft) north of the site where Morcombe was last seen.

Remains found

On 21 August 2011, two shoes and three human bones were found at a search site at Glass House Mountains.[26] Forensic testing confirmed that the bones were Morcombe's. The shoes were similar to the ones that Morcombe was wearing when he disappeared. Underpants and a belt were also found. By the end of the investigation, seventeen bones had been found, including a rib, hip, leg, arm and vertebrae. They were all confirmed as belonging to Morcombe using DNA from his toothbrush to make the match.


Morcombe's funeral was held at Siena Catholic College on 7 December 2012. It was attended by more than 2000 people.


On 7 February 2014, Brett Peter Cowan was ordered to stand trial.[30] He was charged with murder, indecently dealing with a child under the age of 16 and improperly dealing with a corpse. The trial, at the Supreme Court of Queensland, began on 10 February 2014 under Justice Roslyn Atkinson. The prosecution closed its case on 7 March. 116 witnesses gave evidence and over 200 exhibits were tendered in evidence. Cowan pleaded not guilty and declined to give evidence.


On 13 March 2014, Cowan was found guilty of all charges. Cowan had two previous convictions for child sex offences.


On 14th March 2014, at 12:12 pm Eastern Standard Time, Brett Peter Cowan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years for: the murder of Daniel Morcombe, unlawful interference with a child and interference with a corpse. He will also serve 3 1/2 years for indecently dealing with a child. Judge Roslyn Atkinson said "but I don't think you should be released in 20 years time" which could affect his sentence.


The Morcombe family started the "Daniel Morcombe Foundation",[34] and has put its resources into keeping Morcombe's disappearance in the public eye and trying to find out what happened to their son. The foundation is committed to educating children about personal safety and to raising awareness throughout Australia of the dangers of predatory criminals. These efforts are supported by the Australian media, especially on each anniversary of Morcombe's disappearance when a "Day for Daniel" is held to promote awareness of the vulnerability of children. An accompanying event is the "Ride for Daniel", which covers 50 km of the Sunshine Coast, held each year since 2005.

Morcombe's murder was the focus of the Crime Investigation Australia Season 1 episode "Tears for Daniel".


Daniel Morcombe's murderer Brett Peter Cowan sentenced

By Marissa Calligeros -

March 14, 2014

The serial paedophile found guilty of murdering Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe has been sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 20 years.

Daniel's parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe, and his brothers Dean and Bradley, were at an annual golf charity day for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and declined to be in the courtroom when Justice Rosyln Atkinson handed down her sentence on Friday.

"In view of criminal histories and the enormity of the crime that you have committed it is appropriate in my view to set the parole eligibly date after you have served 20 years of your sentence," Justice Atkinson said.

"I am not of the view that you should be released in 20 years’ time ... that is not in my control."

Cowan was also sentenced on Friday to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for indecently dealing with Daniel and two years’ for interfering with his corpse.

The sentences are to be served concurrently with his murder sentence.

The former tow truck driver has already spent two-and-a-half years in prison since his arrest in 2011.

Cowan already had two convictions for molesting boys aged six and seven prior to 2003, when he abducted and killed Daniel, 13, on the Sunshine Coast.

In sentencing Cowan, Justice Atkinson said anyone considering granting him parole should exercise caution.

‘‘Whenever anyone is considering the prospect of granting you parole in the future they should mark my words that you are a convincing, plausible and adaptable liar,’’ she said.

The state government increased the non-parole period for murder from 15 to 20 years in August 2012, which could be applied retrospectively upon a judge's discretion.

Queensland's Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he would review the sentence and seek advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions about a possible appeal.

"Murder is a heinous crime and one of this government’s first acts of parliament was to increase the non-parole period to 20 years for murder and 30 years for multiple murder," Mr Bleijie said.

Meanwhile, the Morcombe family joined the Drive for Daniel at the Carbrook Golf Club for the third consecutive year, which was attended by 160 golfers who donated their course fees to the foundation.

Justice Atkinson said Cowan had looked like an ordinary person, not a monster, when he opportunistically offered Daniel a lift from a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.

‘‘You had no intention of taking him to the shopping centre. You were just thinking about what you could do with him,’’ she said.

She said instead Cowan had taken the 13-year-old to an isolated area and killed him.

‘‘Everything about what you did to that child was horrific and disgraceful,’’ she told Cowan in the Brisbane courtroom.

‘‘This is not just a murder, but a terrible murder. It has had widespread and shocking impacts.’’

Justice Atkinson spoke about Cowan’s "apparently normal upbringing''.

"But you have committed terrible crimes throughout your life ... escalating in your offending,'' she said.

"When I talk about your upbringing, of course it reminds me of other victims of your crimes; your family, your siblings and most terribly of all your own children, who will forever be associated with you and your name."

On Thursday, jurors found the 44-year-old father of three guilty of indecently dealing with 13-year-old Daniel, murdering him and interfering with his corpse.

The jury deliberated for nearly eight hours before delivering its verdict.

The Crown prosecution had argued that Cowan should be jailed without parole for longer than the mandatory minimum 15 years, as was cop killer Phillip Graeme Abell in 2013.

Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise tendered victim impact statements after the verdict was delivered, describing the anguish of losing their son at the hands of a serial child molester.

With Cowan present in the courtroom, Denise Morcombe described him as a ‘‘perverted soul’’ who underestimated the Morcombe family’s drive to catch Daniel’s killer.

‘‘That was your mistake, you evil, evil, unhuman thing,’’ she wrote.


For the Morcombes, the After Time begins

By Amy Remeikis -

March 14, 2014

It was the sort of photo parents take all the time.

A family gathering. Happy children. Lips wet with sugary water, bellies full.

A boy, caught in that moment between childhood and the angst of teendom, turned to the camera with his glass of cordial. The camera clicked. He finished his drink. Life went on.

But for the rest of us, Daniel James Morcombe was captured in that photo. Everything he was, from his contented grin, to the kindness in his eyes, was frozen.

In that photo, the one used in news reports, missing posters and police bulletins, Daniel Morcombe was the face of every well-loved child.

After December 7, 2003, he became the reason Queensland parents held their children closer. If Daniel, with his coastal country upbringing, safe neighbourhood and loving family could go missing, what child was safe?

That rainy day, 12 days short of his and twin brother Brad's 14th birthday, marked the beginning of the Not Knowing.

Not knowing, with its uncertainty and darkness leaves a void filled by anxious and terrified imaginations. The Not Knowing plagued the Morcombes, haunting them, even as they pushed ahead, shining light on a topic parents keep locked away with their deepest fears.

Daniel had started the day picking passionfruit with Brad and older brother Dean on a neighbour's farm in Palmwoods, a small community in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

All three boys loved being outside. They had the sort of idyllic childhood politicians like to paint during election campaigns, 'big-backyard Australia' where they ran, rode motocross, fell down and refused to show the pain, laughing it off together.

They had animals, each other and dreams.

Daniel wanted to be a vet and was happiest with a pet in his lap.

It rained that day, the last of the Before Time and the boys were delayed. They couldn't join their parents, Bruce and Denise, at a work lunch which had been organised in Brisbane, about an hour and half away.

So while his brothers took advantage of a lazy afternoon at home, Daniel decided to buy some Christmas presents and get a haircut at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore.

He wandered down from his home to a locals' bus stop just a few minutes away. There was no designated stop under the Kiel Mountain overpass, but those who lived in the area knew they could flag down a passing bus from there. Plus, it was dry.

So there he waited. And there he disappeared. And for more than a decade, that was the only thing his family, his community, the police, knew for sure.

Daniel was gone. The Not Knowing began. But his family made sure he was never forgotten, never 'just another case', never a 'I-wondered-what-ever-happened-with...'.

In one of his first interviews, still hesitant and nervous in front of the cameras, Bruce set the tone for how his family would move forward.

“They have picked on the wrong family. We will never give up,” he told reporters.

They kept their promise.

A memorial service was held for Daniel in December 2004. The following year, in May, the first meeting of the foundation named in his honour and his memory was held.

Since then, the Morcombes have spoken to thousands of school children about personal safety, spreading their message – protection, safety and opportunity for our children – across the nation.

Less known is the work the foundation does to support child victims of crime, providing everything from money for medical treatment, to things to make the child smile.

And through it all, the Not Knowing continued.

The desperate, the ill, the cruel, the attention-needing and the well-meaning rush to pervade the Not Knowing. The Morcombes encountered them all. The psychics. The mediums. The constant 'I-know-who-did-it' phone calls. The unnamed woman who called to say she had been in the car which had spirited Daniel away in 2007. The Douglas Jackway theory in May 2009. The Not Knowing bled into year after year after year.

And then, in 2010, after years of lobbying, a coronial inquest was held. State Coroner Michael Barnes went through the millions of pages of police reports, witness statements, testimonies, false leads and procedural files. Most cases have a few folders dedicated to them. Daniel's case had rooms full.

After hours and hours and hours of testimony, questions and questioning again, 'P7' was identified as the most likely person of interest. He had history. He had opportunity. His alibi was blown open. Police, who had kept him on their radar, unable to close in, finally had a green light to get their man.

P7, otherwise known as Brett Peter Cowan, was arrested in a caravan park on August 13, 2011.

Searchers fanned out across a macadamia nut farm in the Glass House Mountains, at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.

On August 17, 2011, a shoe, the same size and brand as Daniel's favourite pair, the ones he had been wearing when he left his home seven years and seven months before, was found. And the Not Knowing began to crack open. Three days later, its mate was found.

And then, on August 21, 2011, while at Denise's parents' joint 80th birthday party in Melbourne, came the news a bone, one of an eventual three, had been found.

His family knew. Daniel had been found.

But the wheels of justice grind slowly. Daniel was held by the authorities while scientists for both the defence and the prosecution conducted their tests and formed their conclusions.

A committal hearing was held late in 2012. Cowan sat in his designated seat dressed in an ill-fitting suit, furiously taking notes.

He did his best not to look at the family he had destroyed, but they looked at him. They stared him down until the evidence of what had become of their son became too much and they had to look away.

And then came his lawyer, in flat tones, relaying a script from a recording made by undercover detectives. There were no images, not a lot of context, but the words, they painted their own picture. 'Yeah. I did it.'

This man, this pathetic, gangly man, who at 190 centimetres tall had towered over their son, had lured their innocent boy with the promise of a lift to the shops, secreted him away to an isolated spot, made his awful intentions clear, and spooked Daniel into action.

And as he tried to escape, this creature had crushed his throat until the air left him.

Cowan, through his lawyers, admitted to the words, but denied the actual doing from the moment he was arrested all the way until the trial. But the Morcombes knew they had finally had a face for the bogeyman who had deprived Daniel and them of decades of ordinary wonders.

A face. A name. A history.

Former Sunshine Coast tow truck driver.

An ex-husband and father.


Convicted child sex-offender.

And murderer. They were sure of it.

Daniel was returned to the Morcombes soon after. His funeral was held on December 7, 2012, nine years after he left to buy his family gifts and never returned. He was buried with the Christmas presents he never got to open.

A public memorial was held so the community could share their grief. A private burial was held for his family, who opened their hearts and sorrow to the world, against their much more private natures.

That day was just for Daniel. It rained again that morning. The Morcombes can't help but think of their son when the weather turns.

Early in 2013, Cowan was committed to trial. The 44-year-old, who legally changed his name to Shaddo N-unyah Hunter sometime between 2003 and 2010, finally spoke on February 10. "Not guilty."

The jury, six men, six women, disagreed. Cowan didn't testify at the trial. It didn't matter. His image, on a tape filmed by undercover police officers, spoke for him.

The man on that tape, in a desperate bid to prove his worth to an invented crime gang, confessed to the murder of Daniel Morcombe. In detail. That man had information only the killer would know.

Brett Peter Cowan's fate was sealed the moment he left that hotel room.

A month and some change after the trial began, the jury returned their verdict.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Outside the court, the sun shone bright and high.

Cowan will only be remembered for what he did, not who he was. His humanity wiped away, his name said with a sneer.

The After Time has begun.

For the Morcombes, life continues. Time marches on, despite life changing events. They learnt that just over a decade ago. They kept the promise they made to Daniel on the day he disappeared, that they would see it through it to the end.

They'll keep the one they made themselves to "do something positive every day" with the black cards they were dealt.

Sixty school visits have already been lined up this year and more will come. Fundraisers will be held. Red ribbons will continue to flutter in the wind.

Daniel Morcombe will continue to be held close to strangers' hearts, his image a symbol of protection. Of heart. Of strength.

And a family's enduring love.


Daniel Morcombe verdict: Brett Cowan, portrait of a monster

By Stephanie Wood -

March 13, 2014

The little boy was looking for his sister. He was six and dressed only in a pair of underpants as he wandered alone through the BP Palms Caravan Park on the Stuart Highway on the outskirts of Darwin.

The little boy lived in the caravan park with his family. Brett Peter Cowan lived in a neighbouring van.

Around dusk on a Thursday night in September 1993, Brett Cowan, then aged 24, approached the boy and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk to see an old car wreck abandoned in the bush not so far away.

The pair left the trailer park, climbed through a hole in a wire fence and walked along a scrubby bush track. When the little boy asked Cowan how far it was to the wreck, the young man swung him up on to his shoulders for the final 200 metres.

Cowan then lay the boy on the upturned rust bucket, pulled the boy’s underpants down and dropped his own shorts.

About an hour later, the boy, naked and filthy now, stumbled through the dark back into the BP Palms service area. Northern Territory Supreme Court documents reveal he was dazed and distressed.

In intensive care at Royal Darwin Hospital the extent of his injuries became apparent. A collapsed and punctured left lung, haemorrhaged eyes, a bloodied nose, abrasions across his face, a deep cut in his scrotum area.

A doctor said the boy’s “combination of injuries was consistent with his having sustained a complex series of injuries involving an asphyxial element, blunt force injury, sharp force injury and anal penetration”. The boy’s wounds were heavily contaminated with carbon-containing material, “consistent with contact with a heavily ashed bushfire area”.

After initially denying any involvement, Brett Peter Cowan made a full confession. He told police that he needed help.

But just how much help did he get? It’s a question that many will be asking about the 44-year-old, who on Thursday was found guilty in Brisbane’s Supreme Court of murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.

In Queensland’s highest-profile criminal case ever, Cowan, the father of three young boys, now awaits Justice Roslyn Atkinson’s sentencing decision.

It might be little consolation to Daniel’s heartbroken and weary parents, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, that Cowan denies molesting their son. “I never got to molest him or anything like that; he panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and just before I knew it, he was dead,” Cowan confessed to an undercover police officer in Perth in August 2011.

“I was starting to pull his pants down … and he said, ‘oh no’, and he started to struggle..” Cowan told the officer. In a later conversation, he said, “... if I didn’t panic I could’ve been there for an hour doing stuff.”

Whatever jail term Justice Atkinson settles on, it will be Cowan’s third for crimes against boys. He was sentenced to two years’ jail in 1989 after indecently dealing with a seven-year-old boy. Cowan was 18 when he took the boy into a public toilet in Brisbane and molested him.

In June 1994, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail for his crimes against the little boy in Darwin. But by 1998, only four years later, Cowan was out of jail and living in the Sunshine Coast community of Bli Bli with his aunt and uncle who were pastors at the Suncoast Christian Church (formerly the Christian Outreach Centre).

It was to be a new start for the convicted paedophile and small-time drug dealer, a 190cm-tall man with a goatee, two silver earrings, a tattoo of a clown on his shoulder and two upper-arm tattoos - one of a skull holding a smoking gun with skeletal fingers, the other of a skull in a top hat.

At one point Cowan was going to church three times a weekend. He met a girl through church and, in September 1999, after a church wedding ceremony, they celebrated at a reception at the Big Pineapple, a remnant of gaudy 1970s tourism on the Nambour Connection Road.

The couple started their life together in Beerwah, an old sugarcane town spliced by Steve Irwin Way and with a view of the jagged Glasshouse Mountains. Cowan smoked pot and did a bit of this, a bit of that — odd jobs, tow-truck driving, industrial spray-painting — until someone hooked him up with local businessman Trevor Davis. “I thought quite a lot of Brett,” says Mr Davis, who owns a sandblasting business.

By all accounts, Cowan had a disciplined upbringing. “He was an army brat,” says Mr Davis of his former employee, who was born in Bunbury, Western Australia, in September 1969. He and his three brothers spent much of their childhood in Brisbane’s Everton Park. Cowan’s father, Peter, retired from the Army having achieved the rank of major.

Mr Davis says Brett Cowan was intelligent and hard-working, “an open and friendly chap” who got on with customers and “never forgot anything I taught him”.

Mr Davis was so impressed by his employee that he bought a second sandblasting business with the intention that Cowan could run it independently. “I figured that I could front him into it,” says Mr Davis.

Tracey Lee Moncrieff gave birth to the couple’s first child, a little boy, in mid 2003, about six months before Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s little boy vanished from a bus stop under an overpass at Woombye on the Nambour Connection Road.

Police quickly identified Cowan as a person of interest in their investigation. Cowan was interviewed and, just before Christmas, his white Pajero was carted off to Nambour police station where it was scoured it for evidence. Nothing was found.

Cowan denied having anything to do with the case. He would later officially change his name in a vain attempt to avoid further scrutiny. His new name was “Shaddo N-unyah Hunter” — “Shaddo” because it was his dog’s name and his dog followed him around like a shadow. When undercover police asked what “N-unyah” was all about, he replied “Nunyah business”.

In 2004, Moncrieff gave birth to his second son but the marriage was soon over. At some point Cowan’s spiritual observance had come to an end too. “Something was preached over the pulpit that I didn’t agree with and (I) went and spoke with the pastor about it and he wouldn’t change his mind so...” he would later tell police.

“He just didn’t appear at a job site one day and that was the last I saw of him,” says Trevor Davis. “He just did a bunk.”

The Darwin judge who sentenced Cowan after his sex attack on the six-year-old boy described Cowan as a “pathological liar and a person who is prepared to steal even from his own parents”. He had lived a “parasitic existence, relying on social security and his parents”, the judge said, listing offences including stealing, break and enter and unlawful use of motor vehicles.

After he left Moncrieff, Cowan seems to have resumed that behaviour, drifting through a drug-hazed underclass, from what he described as “Nam-boring”, to Moranbah in north Queensland and then, by the time of the Nerang interview in 2005, to Uki in the Tweed Valley.

In 2008 he was living with 18-year-old Leticha Anne Harvey in Durack, Ipswich. By December 2009 she’d given birth to their son and they were living in a caravan park on Bribie Island in Moreton Bay off Brisbane. Cowan would later tell undercover police that he’d lost access to his two oldest children and that his brother and his wife had custody of his youngest son.

By March 2011 when Cowan was called to give evidence at the inquest into Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance, he was living in yet another caravan park — this time in Perth with another woman, also called “Tracey”, a woman he described as “a friend with benefits”, and his pet “birdie”, a “twenty-eight” or Australian ring-neck parrot.

At the inquest in the Brisbane Coroners Court, Cowan was Dubbed “P7”, “Person of Interest 7”. He had been bullied at school, Cowan told the court, and came to struggle with his bisexuality.

He admitted to smoking “cones” of marijuana in his hotel room each morning he was required to give evidence.

He admitted something else as he tried to convince the inquest he wasn’t involved in Daniel’s disappearance. “I wasn’t interested in teenage boys. I was interested in six, seven and eight-year-old boys.”

On April 1, excused from the inquest, Cowan caught a flight back to Perth. On the plane, he sat next to a bloke who introduced himself as Joe Emery. They got chatting and swapped numbers. “Joe Emery” was the false name of an undercover police officer. One of the most extraordinary undercover police investigations in Australia’s history had begun.


Daniel Morcombe murder: prosecution closes case against accused killer

By Josh Bavas and Francene Norton

March 7, 2014

Witnesses have finished giving evidence in the trial of the man accused of killing Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

The last to appear was a police officer who described the day Brett Peter Cowan was arrested.

Cowan, 44, has pleaded not guilty to the 13-year-old boy's abduction and murder in 2003.

A total of 116 witnesses have given evidence during the four-week Supreme Court trial in Brisbane.

More than 200 exhibits have been submitted as evidence, including photos of remains found at a crime scene and recordings of alleged confessions by the accused.

Today, Cowan declined to give evidence when asked by Justice Roslyn Atkinson.

Appearing as the final witness, Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen Blanchfield told the court he was in charge of the investigation when Cowan was arrested.

Detective Blanchfield said that occurred at a Glass House Mountains site about 11:15am on August 13, 2011.

He said that when Cowan was arrested he was informed of his rights and exercised his right not to answer questions.

olice seized Cowan's phone, but he spoke to a lawyer.

The court heard Cowan would not take part in a formal interview.

Previously, the trial has heard secret tapes of Cowan's conversations with undercover police.

The defence has said Cowan's confession was false.

At one point in the tapes, Cowan describes the way he strangled his victim.

Cowan took two officers to a bus stop and is heard describing how he offered Daniel a lift to an abandoned house.

Cowan told the officers he wanted to "have fun" with the boy and tried to pull his pants down.

He said Daniel responded by saying "oh no" and when Cowan thought he was going to run, he choked him and felt something snap in his neck.

He also showed the officers a creek where he said he dumped Daniel's clothes.

Earlier today, undercover officer "Fitzy", who posed as a crime boss, was back in the witness box.

He told the jury Cowan led him and another undercover officer to an old sand-mining site at the Glass House Mountains where he told them he dumped Daniel's body in 2003.

He says Cowan believed the pair were in an organised crime gang with links to police and the courts and thought they could help "clean up" his past problems.

"Fitzy" told the court the trio were arrested by other officers who had been waiting at the site.

Under cross-examination today, "Fitzy" also said Cowan was offered other big jobs with big money if he was a member of the crime organisation.

Witnesses have finished giving evidence in the trial and the crown closed its case against Cowan about 11:15am.

The jury has now left for the week and is expected to return on Monday when prosecution and defence lawyers are expected to give their concluding statements.


Daniel Morcombe murder: Ex-wife of accused murderer Brett Peter Cowan testifies in Brisbane Supreme Court

By Francene Norton and Jason Rawlins

February 21, 2014

The ex-wife of the man accused of killing Daniel Morcombe has told his murder trial about the day the Queensland schoolboy went missing.

Tracey Moncrieff told Brisbane's Supreme Court that she married Brett Peter Cowan in September 1999 but they separated in 2004 and their divorce was finalised in 2008.

Cowan, 44, is accused of abducting and killing the 13-year-old on the Sunshine Coast in 2003.

Ms Moncrieff said on December 7, 2003, the day Daniel disappeared, she attended a church service and returned home to make lunch for herself and Cowan after settling their baby son.

She says Cowan left their Beerwah home about 1:00pm to retrieve a mulcher from a friend at Nambour.

Ms Moncrieff told the court she did not see Cowan return, but heard him outside using the machine about 3:00pm.

Cowan has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

Meanwhile, the media has been able to publish photos of Cowan for the first time after they were tendered in evidence on Thursday.

Cop tells of interviewing Cowan after Morcombe vanish

Former policeman Kenneth King told the court he interviewed Cowan two weeks after Daniel vanished.

He said the conversation had been recorded, but was lost.

Mr King said Cowan confirmed he had driven past the overpass on December 7, but had not seen any cars or people.

He said Cowan told him he had left home about 1:30pm and arrived home 2:30pm to 2:45pm that day.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Pascoe told the court today he received information from a fellow officer on August 10, 2011.

Later that night, Detective Pascoe and a colleague drove to the Kiel Mountain Road overpass at Woombye, the site of Daniel's disappearance.

He said the pair drove from the overpass and stopped at Kings Road at the Glass House Mountains, where Cowan allegedly told undercover police he murdered Daniel.

The court heard the pair then drove to the home of Cowan's drug dealer at Beerwah and then Cowan's former home nearby.

Detective Pascoe said they did two alternative routes and timed them on a stopwatch on his mobile phone.

The court heard the times ranged from 14 minutes and 29 seconds to 30 minutes and one second.

Witness bursts into tears in court

Earlier, driver Toni Lutherborrow told the court she saw a blue car on Eudlo Road and something under a white sheet rise up.

Ms Lutherborrow burst into tears as she recalled a man in the front seat turn around and punch the sheet.

Motorist Wayne John Baker was the first witness to testify at Thursday's proceedings.

He told the court he saw a boy near the Kiel Mountain overpass on the day Daniel disappeared.

Mr Baker said he saw a blue car on the opposite side of the road with two men near it.

During cross-examination by Cowan's lawyer, Mr Baker said the vehicle matched the description in news reports of a blue vehicle found abandoned weeks later in a Brisbane car park.

Driver Kim Guthrie told the court she saw a person pulling a boy wearing a red shirt towards a blue car.

Witness Kim North gave similar testimony today about a boy and a vehicle.

She also said she saw a person with both hands on a boy's arm trying to coerce him into the car while another person sat in the rear seat.

Ms North said she wanted to pull over but could not find a spot and could not remember the car's number plate.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard from a bus driver who admitted to ignoring a boy's attempts to hail him because he was running late.

There were also varying accounts from witnesses about seeing a boy and a man on Nambour Connection Road.

Some witnesses told the court they saw an "unkempt" and "gaunt" man standing behind a boy, while others described seeing a blue sedan parked nearby.

Justice Atkinson told the jury last week that although there was a substantial number of witnesses to appear, not all of them were expected to be questioned at length.

At the beginning of the trial, jurors were also told they would visit the site where the schoolboy disappeared.

Jurors will also walk through a macadamia farm in the Glass House Mountains where police found Daniel's remains eight years later.

Police prosecutors claim Cowan led undercover officers to the site after allegedly confessing to abducting and killing the schoolboy.


Timeline: Daniel Morcombe case

December 7, 2003:

Daniel Morcombe, 13, vanishes while waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on Nambour Connection Road at Woombye on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. He was on his way to go Christmas shopping when he disappeared.

December 7, 2004:

About 1,000 people attend a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of Daniel Morcombe's disappearance. A special plaque is also unveiled at the site.

October 4, 2004:

A $250,000 reward is posted by the Queensland Government for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

February, 2005:

Parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe launch the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to continue their message on child safety.

December 1, 2008:

A record $1 million private reward is offered for new information about the disappearance.

April, 2010:

The State Coroner receives an extensive investigation report, containing thousands of pages, from police regarding the suspected death.

October 13, 2010:

A coronial inquest led by State Coroner Michael Barnes begins. The inquest is held in Maroochydore and Brisbane. It adjourns on April 6, 2011.

August 13, 2011:

Brett Peter Cowan, 41, is arrested and charged. Police and State Emergency Service volunteers search bushland in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as part of the investigation. Over the next two months, a pair of shoes and human bones are discovered. DNA results confirm they belong to Daniel Morcombe.

November 26, 2012:

Cowan's committal hearing begins in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

December 7, 2012:

A funeral is held for Daniel Morcombe at St Catherine of Siena Church at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast, nine years to the day since he disappeared. He was laid to rest at Woombye Cemetery.

February 7, 2013:

Cowan ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland. He is charged with murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

February 10, 2014:

Cowan's trial begins. It is expected to take six weeks. A pool of about 100 potential witnesses may be called to give evidence.

March 13, 2014:

The Supreme Court jury finds Cowan guilty on all charges. It is revealed that Cowan is a serial paedophile with a long history of preying on children.

March 14, 2014:

Cowan is sentenced to life in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years for the murder of Daniel Morcombe. Supreme Court Judge Roslyn Atkinson says Cowan's crimes were "horrific and disgraceful" and that he "tragically and pointlessly snuffed out a young life".



home last updates contact