FIRST VIDEOS: Confession of alleged Daniel Morcombe killer
MURDER accused Brett Peter Cowan was told his new found friends could drop him like a "hot potato" for his alleged involvement in the Daniel Morcombe case.
Arnold - the big boss in a fake crime gang police created - told Mr Cowan he could sort out alibis and "clean up" any mess he was in but "I need to know what I need to do".
He said he would delay a big job, which Mr Cowan believed would net him $100,000 for his role, if he could move past this hurdle.
Arnold reinforced the "honesty, trust, respect" mantra the gang had drilled into Mr Cowan between April and August, 2011.
"I need to keep us safe and clean as a group because ultimately if the heat's on you, then the heat's on Paul, the heat's on Geoff and the heat's on me and I can't afford for that to happen," he said during a meeting at a Perth hotel on August 9, 2011.
"The information I've got, I'm told you've done the Daniel Morcombe murder.
"I'm told it's dead set that you're the one who's done it.
"Like I said, it doesn't bother me at all but what concerns me is that I need to, I can sort this for ya.
"I can sort things out, I can buy you alibis, I can get rid of stuff, all that kinds of things that needs to be done I can do.
"Like I said, honesty, trust, respect.
"I pay good people good money to keep us clean.
"If I've got to postpone what we're gonna do for a few months to sort this out, I'm happy to do that for your sake because I'm told you're pretty loyal.
"You've built up a good relationship with some of the boys and they speak fairly highly of you."
Mr Cowan initially said he could "guarantee I had nothing to do with Daniel Morcombe's disappearance".
But about 10 minutes into a video shown in Brisbane Supreme Court after Arnold asked "so what do I need to fix?", Cowan said: "Yeah, okay, yeah I did it".
"I never got to molest him at all or anything like that," he said.
"He panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and before I knew it he was dead.
"I carried him over and threw (him) down the embankment. A metre and a half.
"I went down there and dragged him through, don't know how far it was.
"He had all his clothes on. I stripped them off and (gathered) trees and branches and covered his body with that.
"His clothes, I took back with me and threw 'em into the creek.
"They sunk and floated away. None of that's has ever been found."
Mr Cowan told Arnold he went back to the site he dumped Daniel a week to 10 days later after hearing all the missing persons reports.
He said he took a shovel but all he found was fragments of bone which he smashed up with the shovel.
Mr Cowan said he thought wild dogs, yabbies or other animals might have been to blame for the body disappearing.
"The rest of it was gone," he said.
Arnold told Mr Cowan he needed to send him back to Queensland with some of his crew to ensure there was no DNA, bones or clothes left at any of the crime scenes.
"We've been able to do what we've been able to do for so long because we're careful," he said.
"I've built this business up over a long time and I've got a lot of good contacts all around Australian and internationally.
"If I can sort this out for you, and I'm pretty sure I can, then we can move on."
Mr Cowan, who changed his name to Shaddo N-unya Hunter, revealed his first name was after his dog who used to follow him around like a shadow and his middle name was meant "none ya f***ing business".
He said he was prepared to cut all ties with his family and Queensland if it meant he could be part of this gang.
"I've cut ties with my family before but I've got no problems with cutting ties to everybody, even to the state of death certificate, dead," he said.
August 9, 2011 - 12.35pm
BIG BOSS: I'm hearing through Geoff, through Paul that you're doing some good stuff. I spose I just have to make sure you're happy doing what you're doing?
That there's no issues there? Because as you know, things are moving. You got no problems? You're happy? No one's forcing you to do things you don't wanna to do?
COWAN: Nah I'm quite enjoying it actually, Arnold.
BB: That's good. And are they looking after you?
COWAN: Very much.
BB: That's excellent. Listen, one of the reasons I brought you here is, as you know, I've said to you before, we've got to walk before we run, crawl before we walk.
And as you probably also know, a lot of people in my confines around the country that I pay good money to, get good information from, as this thing's progressing, this big job we're looking at, I've been checking you out which is only expected of me.
There's a couple of things that have come up that we need to talk about.
COWAN: I thought it was all dealt with.
BB: I'm here on other business, I'll be straight with ya, but I got some information through early this morning which has kind of made me postpone all of that so we can sort this out. Is there something you need to tell me? Bear in mind what we do is based on respect and honesty.
COWAN: I did say I had a criminal record but I didn't go into my record.
BB: Just let me stop you there before you go on, I'll let you know that I don't care what you've done, I've got no qualms at all, I've dealt with a lot of real bad c**ts and I've had a lot of real bad c**ts on my books.
What they do, what they get up to doesn't faze me at all, all I'm looking for is loyalty, respect and honesty. I'll pay you back as you pay me back.
COWAN: Because I lived in the area in '03 when Daniel Morcombe went missing and I've been interviewed and I was hounded for ages about that. I can guarantee I had nothing to do with Daniel Morcombe's disappearance.
Half an hour of alibi they reckon they've shot to pieces cos my drug dealer's now changed her mind that I wasn't at her house.
And I've lost my two eldest kids due to this as well. I was brought before the coroner's inquest in March-April this year and I thought that was the end of it.
So I was surprised when Craig said to me that there's another warrant, subpoena.
BB: I've got some info this morning, basically saying those things but what concerns me more than anything else is the info is telling me, and as I said I pay good money to a lot of people, and I take a lot of risk in doing that, to get the information that I need to keep us safe and clean as a group because ultimately if the heat's on you, then the heat's on Paul, the heat's on Geoff and the heat's on me and I can't afford for that to happen.
So what's happened? From the information I've got, I'm told you've done the Daniel Morcombe murder.
I'm told it's dead set, that you're the one who's done it. Like I said, it doesn't bother me at all but what concerns me is that I need to, I can sort this for ya. I can sort things out, I can buy you alibis, I can get rid of stuff, all that kinds of things that needs to be done I can do.
But I need to know what I need to do, you know what I mean? You saying to me 'I had nothing to do with it', that's not what I've been told and that brings me in a real dilemma and a crossroads.
Because I want to move forward with what we're doing but until I can sort this out I can't because you're too hot. I'm told there is a subpoena coming for you.
I'll show you the email. Man on man, one on one, in confidence - to see how I can sort this out. Cos as I've said, from what I'm told, you're good for us, and I want to bring you on board but I've got to weigh up the risks to me. Have a read of that, that's what I got this morning.
COWAN: Can you enlarge that?
BB: I'll read it for you all right?
BB: You need glasses?
COWAN: Yeah I've got them in the car.
BB: I'm a bit the same way - I can fight it, fight it and fight it but I need them.
What I've got is:
Shaddo Hunter, alias Brett Peter Cowan, is the main suspect in the disappearance of Daniel Morcombe who went missing in Queensland December 7, 2003.
My sources tell me there's no doubt he's the person responsible for this offence witnesses have placed him at the scene with Morcombe just prior to disappearance he had a 45 window of opportunity where Cowan was unaccounted for he provided a weak alibi two years later in a family court matter.
But there's something about this alibi that's not right. I'll find out a little bit more shortly and let you know.
The Morcombe case is one of the highest profile missing persons cases in Queensland history and there's a lot of media interest in it.
Cowan gave evidence at the inquest under the code name of P7 and I suggest you Google some of the info that I've provided to get more of a feeling for this matter (which I've done).
The coroner's inquest will be recommencing shortly and Cowan will then be in the spotlight. If you can't sort this out for him I suggest you drop him like a hot potato."
BB: That's what I've got and that's why I've postponed everything. I haven't postponed what's happening but I've postponed the business I had to do this morning to sit down one on one to sort this sh*** out. But, like I said, I can't sort out what I don't know. So look what happened and how can I sort it out?
COWAN: (Sighs) ... I don't know.
BB: Like I said, honesty, trust, respect. You know where you're going, you know what your options are here. You know the information I've got, and as I said I pay good people good money to keep us clean. If I've got to postpone what we're gonna do for a few months to sort this out, I'm happy to do that for your sake because I'm told you're pretty loyal. You've built up a good relationship with some of the boys and they speak fairly highly of you.
COWAN: I appreciate that.
BB: So what do I need to fix?
COWAN: Yeah, okay, yeah I did it.
BB: Ok so you did it? But what I'm saying is I need to slip ya right back through the whole thing so that if there's anything that ... DNA or that kind of s*** - obviously if they haven't found the f***ing body.
COWAN: They took my car, they searched me car, full forensics on the car, they got nothing out of the car.
BB: Take me through the whole f***ing thing from woe to go then I'll think about things we have to sort and fix.
COWAN: I seen him standing there, I did a loop around.
BB: What time was this? About lunch time?
COWAN: I don't know. Afternoon. I was going up to my boss' father's place to pick up a wood mulcher. Cos I had to do some tree lopping in my yard. I picked it up and on the way home there was a broken down bus, a Sunbus. And then I seen Daniel.
BB: So he was standing on the side of the road? Did you do a u-turn or something?
COWAN: I went up and around and parked in the church car park. My car was never on the road so I don't know how that (got reported).
BB: I heard something about a white four-wheel-drive at the scene?
COWAN: It was not sitting on the highway at all. I've walked back down there. I didn't talk to him at all when I got there. I made it look like I was waiting for the bus. The bus drove past and I said 'I'm going down to the shopping centre, do you want a lift?' and he's gone 'yep'. The bus drove past, presumably given orders not to pick up any more passengers because it was the broken down one. He jumped in. Passenger seat. Instead of taking him to the shopping centre I took him to a secluded spot that I knew of. Up Coochin Creek - Beerwah.
BB: So you knew the area pretty well. How far was that from where you picked him up?
COWAN: Half an hour.
BB: I don't know the area. I've never really been to Queensland. So you've taken him to Beerwah. Have you talked to him along the way?
COWAN: Just chatted.
BB: No problems? Like I said I'm not judging you at all. So bear that in mind, just tell me what I need to fix.
COWAN: I went to an abandoned house there.
BB: Do you know where that was?
COWAN: End of Roys Road.
BB: Roys Road at the end. What we might need to do is .... we'll get that sorted.
COWAN: There's nothing there. Cos I put him in the bushes and I went back to bury him..
BB: So you've taken him to the house. What happened in the house? I'm not judging you, all right?
COWAN: I never got to molest him at all or anything like that. He panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and before I knew it he was dead.
BB: How long did it take to strangle him out?
COWAN: It didn't seem long.
BB: So you grabbed him by the throat, he's you still sitting in the car?
COWAN: No. This is in the house.
BB: Whereabouts in the house?
COWAN: There's no furniture or nothing. I think just in the first room when you walk in the door.
BB: Did he spit, leave blood or anything in that room?
COWAN: Not that I know of.
BB: What about clothing?
COWAN: Yes, had clothing on then.
BB: So you choked him out? He's died in that room? What have you done then?
COWAN: Yep. Taken him outside and put him in the back of my car ... the white Pajero.
BB: So he's lying in the back of the car? Was the mulcher there still?
BB: Has he touched the mulcher?
BB: Do you reckon you left any prints at the house?
COWAN: The house is gone.
COWAN: I only had to go like from the house 150m cos it's all bush, it's an old sand mining site. Secluded bush in a fenced off area. I was actually gonna lease the property to do sandblasting on. There's an embankment where the sand mining got up to. It's all been grown over with trees and bush again and there's the old sand mining lake.
BB: I'm not familiar with the area mate, draw us a little f***ing map.
COWAN: The end of Roys Road comes in ... to a macadamia or an avocado farm, that spreads out, there's a couple of sheds and then there's the house here. Where the house is, there's a little track that goes off down through a gate down, nothing there, just a caravan and an old mobile saw mill.
BB: So once you've done that what have you done with him then?
COWAN: I took him out of the car. I dragged him down the embankment
BB: How'd you drag him? By the feet or the arms?
COWAN: I carried him over and threw (him) down the embankment.
BB: How far was that?
COWAN: A metre and a half.
BB: Has he left any marks? Right - you pushed him like the old cowboy movies.
COWAN: I went down there and dragged him through, don't know how far it was, until I found somewhere I thought was ...
BB: A good spot?
COWAN: Yep. Sandy (area)
BB: Did he still have all his clothes on? Did you leave anything behind?
COWAN: He had all his clothes on. I stripped them off and (gathered) trees and branches and covered his body with that. His clothes, I took back with me and threw 'em into the creek.
BB: You threw them into a creek? Which creek?
COWAN: Not too sure. On the way home. I had to go across one of them, like an old logging bridge type thing. There's a creek there, fast flowing.
BB: You just chucked them all in? Did you have to put them in a bag or anything like that? Throw em in one by one or the whole lot?
COWAN: Just threw them in. They sunk and floated away. None of that's has ever been found.
BB: You're lucky, aren't ya? I've heard somethin' about a f***in' watch, that he had a watch of some f***ing thing? Did you have that?
COWAN: The whole lot went in.
BB: The whole lot went in? Everything? You didn't keep anything? So no chance of finding anything of his?
BB: So you left him there under the scrub? What have you done then? You've gone home?
COWAN: Yep. I did stop at my dealer's place and pick up so they're lying when they say I wasn't there.
BB: Mind you, from what I understand it's a couple of years later, she's probably so drug f***ed she wouldn't know what time of day it was. So you gone to your dealer's house after you've thrown the clothes? Pick there?
COWAN: Yeah just 50. Never bought big quantities. Green. Spent about 15 to 20 minutes there, which I was always did ... went home, went inside, said g'day to my wife, told her I was back and went out and started chipping the timber.
BB: Did you go back?
COWAN: Within that week I went back.
BB: A heap of press by then?
COWAN: Yeah as a missing person.
BB: So, what, you're thinking 'f*** I better do something here'?
COWAN: Just in case, I took a shovel back.
BB: So a week later you've gone back and taken a shovel. Same car?
BB: What have you done then?
COWAN: I went down to where I put him, only found a fragment of bone, the rest of it was gone.
BB: In a week? What do you reckon has happened there?
COWAN: There's a lot of yabbies and animals, that sort of thing.
BB: So what was left of him?
COWAN: A little piece of bone left.
BB: No skull, no f*** all?
COWAN: I think that was part of the skull, I buried it, I broke it up with the shovel.
BB: That's gonna cause a problem, we're going to have to grab that. Nowadays they can do wonders with all this f***in' sh**, DNA, all that sort of crap. I'll have to get you to fly over there with a couple of boys and sort all that shit out.
BB: Where is the shovel now?
COWAN: Dunno. I took it home with me - used it in garden.
BB: This is a f***ing long time ago I spose.
COWAN: Someone has re-rented the house.
BB: So the shovel might still be there, who knows?
COWAN: Yeah I left my wife about seven months, eight months after that. We moved from that house to Nambour to another house and then I left her and went to Moranbah.
BB: So as far as you know there's nothing of his you've kept?
COWAN: Nothing at all.
BB: And the bit of bone that was left ... you've gone to bury him and that's all that's left?
COWAN: That's all.
BB: And you've buried that in that spot?
BB: Is there anything else you can think of that we need to f***in clean up? Your alibi, this drug dealer of yours, you still talk to her? Can we approach her - pay her some dollars? I'll have a think about that.
COWAN: She's still into the drugs as far as I know so she may be approachable on that side of things but it's the boyfriend that's saying he would have remembered the motor and all that sort of stuff on the chipper.
BB: What's the chipper got to do with all this?
COWAN: Because I did show him the chipper but he's saying ... he doesn't remember.
BB: Look Shaddo, I need to make some f***ing calls and have a bit of a think.
What I'll do I'll get Geoff to come back up and he can take you down to f***ing Paul. I'll make some calls, when I've sorted out the f***ing calls I'll give you a call back. We'll go and have a look.
Make sure everything is f***ing good because if we can sort this out now... We might have to put you up somewhere tonight.
Get you on a plane tomorrow with a couple of the boys ... go and have a look and making sure everything is f***ing good. Cos if we can sort all this shit out now, it'll keep us all happy.
COWAN: I've cut all ties. I've cut ties with my family before but I've got no problems with cutting ties to everybody, even to the state of death certificate, dead.
BB: You know I f***ing can fix things. We sent Joe away for a while. A few dramas. Not an issue. Have faith in me all right. We'll sort this out for ya and we'll move on. I might have to put this job back a little bit till we sort it out but that's not a problem.
COWAN: Nobody else knows. It's not something I'm going to tell anybody.
BB: It's up to you what you tell them. All they know is that I needed to talk to about something.... someone else is going to need to know because I'm going to have to send someone with ya to sort all this f***ing shit out.
Let me have a think about it. I'll talk to a couple of my people that have been giving me some of this info just to see if anything else can get us unstuck.
COWAN: It's just the half hour alibi, the dealer saying I wasn't there.
BB: We need to clean up. And you said the house is gone?
COWAN: The house is gone.
COWAN: I don't know. It's like a worker's cottage.
BB: No blood, no spit. Did you f*** him?
COWAN: No. Didn't touch him. Didn't get a chance.
BB: You didn't blow? So you left no spoof, nothing?
COWAN: No and even if there was my DNA in the house I had been there before with another guy.
BB: Is anything else I need to sort for ya? Anything else you're f***ing done that's going to get us unstuck? No more kids we're going to find missing and they're looking at you?
COWAN: No nothing like that at all.
BB: There's something about this watch. They're missing this f***ing watch. Did you see the watch he had?
COWAN: I didn't.
BB: So it might have been in a pocket or some f***ing thing?
COWAN: Yep. I wonder if it was heavy enough to sink.
BB: You're going to have to show 'em where ...
COWAN: There's all been floods through there - and the amount of time ago it was.
BB: That's probably your advantage. What concerns me is the actual f***ing place where you took him, you know.
COWAN: No one really knows about that place.
BB: We'll sort it right? Like I said we'll put things back a bit.
BB rings Paul: How you going mate? You want to come back up with Geoff and grab Shaddo and take him down for a coffee or a drink or bite to eat or something. I got some calls and sort a few things out. No worries - see you soon.
BB to COWAN: At this stage they don't know anything. It's up to you what you tell them but I'm going to bring someone else on board obviously.
We've been able to do what we've been able to do for so long because we're careful. I've built this business up over a long time and I've got a lot of good contacts all around Australian and internationally.
Ultimately if the heats on me, the heat's on them, but if I can sort this out for you, and I'm pretty sure I can, then we can move on.
BB: You want a cigarette?
(Move outside to balcony area of hotel)
COWAN: I'm confident they can't pin me for it.
BB: Shit happens but it's those little things ... they can bring us down.
(Indistinct conversation about comfit sketches)
BB: The inquest is coming up again. I need to sort out all that shit out before the inquest. Just got to maintain your story.
(Conversation about alibi)
BB: You gotta keep a low profile.
COWAN: That's why I changed me name.
BB: Where'd you get it from?
COWAN: My puppy dog over in Queensland is named Shaddo. Staffy. She looked like a shadow and followed me around like a shadow so I started using it as a nickname so I took that on and then I wondered what surname can I have.
Me and Tracey were talking and was like Hunter. That works. My middle name N-unya - none ya f***ing business.
BB: Very clever.
COWAN: $150 to get that changed.
(Conversation about Pajero and other cars)
BB: We'll get over there and sort that shit out as quickly and cleanly as we can ... You're in the inner circle now, you know what's kinda happening, I'd rather keep you on board and sort these problems out for you. We can sort it out.
I've got no real qualms. I've sorted out worse than this.
(More indistinct conversation before moving back to the alibi)
COWAN: I think they didn't want to say yes he was here.
BB: I've heard it was a couple of years later. They might have had difficulty remembering what happened but you reckon you showed 'em this wood chipper?.
COWAN: I took ... a bobcat down when I had to move, I tidied up all their yard and everything. She wanted it more flat and levelled. So I took it all in there and cleaned it all up for them.
BB: When you threw the shit into the river, have you seen it sink or drift down?
COWAN: Drift and sink at the same time, as it was getting wet.
BB: So where would that end up?
COWAN: In the Pulmicestone passage, into Moreton Bay.
BB: So highly unlikely that they'd be able to find that shit? Even if they do find it nothing to pin it to you? No DNA or nothing?
COWAN: Nothing. I didn't even get me pants down.
BB: And the shovel. And you smashed (the skull)?
COWAN: Yeah the little bit of skull that was left.
BB: That's amazing.
COWAN: Yeah I know there's a couple of wild dogs and s*** but I thought there would have been bones everywhere.
BB: And this is a week later?
COWAN: A week maybe or 10 days at the most. My car - I didn't even wash my car - didn't vacuum it out, nothing. They took my car for a whole day on Christmas Day.
BB: F*** you would have been sweating that?
COWAN: Yeah, I was.
BB: And they found f*** all?
COWAN: When I got my car back ... even the inside wasn't vacuumed or anything. When I got it back it wasn't vacuumed, there was black and white fingerprint dust everywhere.
BB: So he didn't touch anything in the car?
COWAN: It would only have been the door handle ...
BB: No prints or nothing?
BB: When you strangled him - two hands, one hand, elbow or arm? Where was he? On the ground?
COWAN: When he started to struggle I was starting to pull his pants down. He said 'oh no' and started to struggle.
BB: So he's lying on his back?
COWAN: Actually I was standing, squatting, and I grabbed him.