Mum’s plea: Find my son’s killer
The grief-stricken mother of suspected Geelong murder victim Trevor Tascas wants police to offer a reward for information to help catch her son's killer.
Pamela Tascas made the plea on Tuesday after a coroner found her son died in his Whittington home on the 'Bathurst weekend' in October, 2005.
Mr Tascas' body has never been found, but his housemate Lawrence Alexander Butler was convicted of his murder in 2009, and sentenced to a 23-year prison term.
However, the guilty finding was quashed two years later.
Mr Butler was later indicted on manslaughter charges and found not guilty.
His then girlfriend and co-accused Jodi Harris pleaded guilty to one count of accessory after the fact to manslaughter and two counts of obtaining property by deception in 2009.
Ms Harris was a key witness in Mr Tascas' first trial, telling jurors she helped her partner sweep out ash and bonelike fragments from a barrel where she had days earlier seen Mr Butler set fire to hessian sack which had been leaking a "blood-coloured fluid" into a bathtub.
But after getting a discount on her own sentence for assisting police, Ms Harris backtracked at the retrial and said she could not recall the events of her earlier testimony.
Coroner John Olle dismissed the theory, put forward at trial by Mr Butler's legal team, that Mr Tascas was still alive.
"I am satisfied beyond the balance of probabilities that Mr Tascas died on or between October 7 to 10 October 2005 at 4 Thatcher Ct, Whittington," the coroner said.
The finding prompted Ms Tascas to call for her son's killer to come forward, and plead with police to offer a reward to entice information about the death.
"I want them (the killer) to tell me where (they) put my son's remains, just tell me," Ms Tascas said.
"It's all I want … just tell me where I can go and see him on his birthday and at Christmas instead of sitting here crying."
Mr Olle's findings state Mr Tascas, Mr Butler and Ms Harris used and trafficked methamphetamine at the share house, with visitors regularly stopping by to purchase drugs.
The court heard Mr Tascas told two people he was scared of Mr Butler and spoke about moving to Queensland weeks before he disappeared.
In her original statement to police Ms Harris claimed Mr Butler said he had an argument with Mr Tascas, between October 7-10, about rent before the missing man "fell and hit his head and got knocked out".
Ms Harris said when she jokingly asked her boyfriend if Mr Tascas was in the bathtub he said "if you think that then you can come and help me".
The woman also told police she and Mr Butler later drove Mr Tascas' car to Queensland and sold it for cash, before giving away the missing man's dog.
Mr Olle said a prolonged lack of contact from Mr Tascas and the strength of the circumstantial evidence surrounding the disappearance led him to find Mr Tascas had died at the share house in the circumstances detailed in the police summary.
Outside court Ms Tascas, supported by her daughters, said the court findings had left her feeling stronger and ready to fight.
"We've waited all this time, we will find something we will," Ms Tascas said.
She said she hoped Mr Butler's family never had to experience what she had.
"I hope he never goes through what I've gone through with his children and that they don't meet evil," she said.