Melissa Caddick was last seen in 2020. This was only hours after Australian Federal Police (AFP) and ASIC raided her Dover Heights property. With almost two years since her disappearance, a coronial inquest has now begun into her disappearance.
Melissa Caddick: Con-woman disappears
Melissa Caddick allegedly misappropriated at least $23 million through her Ponzi scheme over 8 years.
Caddick had her clients invest money on the false pretence that they invested in shares that she would manage. She created fake CommSec statements and account numbers to show the investors that their investment reaped in returns.
Caddick allegedly spent investors' finances on two homes in Sydney's eastern suburbs. In addition, she spent money on luxury cars, designer clothing, artwork and jewellery.
Coronial Inquest into Caddick's disappearance.
The coronial inquest into Caddick's disappearance began on Monday 12th September at NSW State Coroner's Court.
In his opening address, Jason Downing SC, counsel assisting NSW Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan, stated that Ms Caddick was presumed dead.
Ms Caddick's friends said she was under extreme financial stress and walked to the Dover Heights cliffs on one occasion. Ms Caddick also told her friend that, "If I'm going to end it, it's going to be here."
The court heard she told her brother Adam that, "If it all gets too much to me, you'll find me at The Gap".
Inquest told Melissa Caddick autopsy was inconclusive
Three months after her disappearance, her decomposing foot washed ashore Bournda Beach on the NSW South Coast.
At the opening address of the inquest, Counsel Assisting the coroner Jason Downing said while DNA analysis confirmed the foot belonged to Ms Caddick, it was not possible to determine how it became separated.
The autopsy confirmed the foot belonged to Caddick, although it was unable to confirm whether the foot was separated as a result of decomposition or force.
The date and place of Ms Caddick's suspected death are the subject of "significant uncertainty" and there is a possibility of the inquest resulting in an open finding.
What is a coronial inquest?
The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding Ms Caddick's suspected death, a deeper look into the ASIC investigation will also be scrutinised.
A coronial inquest is where the Coroner considers evidence to determine a range of things that may be unknown after someone has died including:
- The identity of the deceased;
- The date and place of the death,
- The manner of death, and
In short, the Coroner's role is to find out what happened, not to point the finger or lay blame.
The Coroner cannot find someone guilty of a crime. If, at any time during the course of an inquest or inquiry, the Coroner forms an opinion that a known person has committed an indictable offence in connection with the death the Coroner is required to suspend the inquest or inquiry and refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.