WHERE IS SHE?
LISA MARIE MOTT would have reached the ripe old age of 48 this year and would have had a couple of kids herself and probably on the brink of being a grandmother, that is if she was still alive albeit the Western Australian Police file states that she is a still a missing person presumed dead.
Her children would have grown up by now and they too would have married and had children. Lisa Mott was only a 12-year-old girl went she went missing from the coalfields town of Collie in Western Australia at about 8.30pm on Thursday 30th October 1980.
Lisa was supposed to be picked up by a family friend and taken home after her basketball game but she was last seen in the main street of Collie getting into what witnesses described as yellow Holden Sandman panel van.
Despite an extensive police enquiry and numerous media coverage very little to no information has ever been forthcoming regarding Lisa’s whereabouts.
Former WA CIB retired detective Reg Driffill believes that notorious rapist and murderer David Birnie who committed suicide in gaol on October 7, 2005 had something to do with the disappearance of Lisa Mott. Unfortunately, if David Birnie was responsible for the disappearance of Lisa Mott he has taken that information to his grave.
As the officer in charge of the case at the time of Lisa’s disappearance Mr Driffill believes that David Birnie knew what happened to Lisa and indeed he was a person of interest at the time of her disappearance. Mr Driffill later interviewed David Birnie and his de-facto Catherine Birnie in 1986 and both denied any knowledge or involvement in the disappearance of Lisa.
Mr Driffill speculates that the Birnies modus operandi in relation to picking up girls off the streets in Perth was similar to how Lisa was last seen.
David Birnie had been an apprentice jockey so he wasn’t all that big in stature but moved to Bunbury during the construction phase of the Worsley Alumina Refinery near Collie, and it believed that Birnie owned a yellow panel van at the time when Lisa went missing.
The Western Australian police reopened the case along with other unsolved crimes in 2000 but nothing has come to fruition from that cold case review.
Lisa Motts mother Marion Powell is now an old lady and the very least anyone could do if they have any information about the whereabouts of Lisa, then they need to do Mrs Powell and Lisa’s siblings a favour and inform police so that they all get some closure. Mrs Powell now lives in South Australia which is her home state. Unfortunately Lisa’s father Brian Mott died of cancer in 2010 without ever knowing what happened to his young daughter.
David Birnies defacto Catherine Birnie who changed her name by deed poll is still incarcerated at the Bandyup women’s prison in Western Australia and she regularly comes up for a parole review with no real hope of ever being released.
But if Catherine Birnie does know something about or anything at all about Lisa Mott then she should tell the authorities which would show some compassion on her behalf whereby a conditional release could be considered such as having to wear a leg monitor and other conditions that a court could impose on her release back into society.
There is no real evidence these days to prove that David Birnie actually owned or borrowed a yellow panel van or which could have been a mates but Birnie was a very skilled liar and could be very convincing.
If it was a mates panel van that Birnie was using at that time then it is time for the mate to come forward and say ‘yes’ he did lend Birnie his panel van all those years ago. There is a panel van parked in Birnies old Moore street home when the Birnies lived there.
A Mandurah woman aged 19 earlier that year Annette Deverell went missing from the Mandurah Post office and it was reported that she was last seen in a yellow panel van and her burnt skeletal body was subsequently found in bush near Pinjarra some two years later. Annette’s killer has never been found.
But of course there is another person of interest who may have been responsible for unsolved Claremont Serial Killings and maybe the disappearance of Lisa Mott and that of Annette Deverell and that is the suspect in the disappearance of Hayley Dodd being John Francis Wark who is being extradited by WA police from a Queensland prison and who may have been working in Collie at the time that Lisa went missing. There is in fact an uncanny resemblance between Hayley Dodd and Lisa Mott, and maybe he saw the ghost of Lisa in Hayley and quickly sold up and left for Queensland.
FOOTNOTE: Western Australian Police recently extradited Wark from a Queensland prison and have since charged him with the murder of Hayley Dodd. David Birnie has since committed suicide whilst incarcerated in a WA Prison.
© Brian Hastie