The Night Driver
The Night Driver
About The Night Driver
Janine Vaughan’s disappearance 19 years ago is at the heart of a mysterious case that has split a close-knit community left wondering if a murderer walks among them.
From Hedley Thomas and the journalists at The Australian comes The Teacher's Trial. A new episode will be published every Friday for the duration of the trial of Chris Dawson, who is accused of the murder of his wife Lynette Dawson. Search for The Teacher's Trial wherever you listen to podcasts, or read The Australian's ongoing coverage of the trial here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Was Janine Vaughan murdered by a Bathurst man with a propensity for shocking acts of violence? Women who have been with him describe his depravity and cruelty. Or was she killed by a different man who has been dead for years? A man who worked at The Dirty Tav, drove around in a small red car, and was similarly renowned for violence. Hedley and his friend the retired judge Peter Murphy delve deep in the final episode of the series. They also explore what really happened to the bloodied knife, subjecting the stalker notes to analysis by a handwriting expert, and hearing from a former detective who identifies ‘red flags’ for possible deception and believes one of the three persons of interest is lying. The longest episode in the series hears from women who cast doubt on the conduct of the other two key persons of interest while the closest witness to the fight between Janine and her once-close friend describes what she saw just hours before Janine disappeared. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
John Haynes is a former senior cop in Bathurst who still lives at Mount Panorama. He’s been retired for a decade and for the first time he’s speaking publicly about blood-curdling screams he and his family heard near the local university, two days after Janine’s disappearance in early December 2001. Haynes is confident he heard Janine fighting for her life. He has come forward as he says the significance of the screams was not properly understood by police who looked in the wrong place, on the opposite side of a creek separating the university grounds and bushland from the mount. Haynes fears that Janine was killed near the uni and her remains could still lie among the gnarly blackberry bushes along the creek. As Kylie goes back and searches other locations around Bathurst, another thread in this case which fell through the cracks - a fight between Janine and one of her best friends - comes to light. Janine was in serious conflict with her former employee and housemate before they spectacularly fell out. The person became Janine’s public enemy but it went under the radar in the 2009 inquest, raising awkward and distressing questions and memories nineteen years later. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In the search for Janine’s murderer, her sister Kylie who devotes much of her life to this case is taken to the brink of what she believes is a breakthrough, only to have her hopes dashed. Every time there’s a discovery of bones near Bathurst it hits Kylie and the rest of Janine’s family that these might be the remains of Janine. More evidence including details of a police strike force investigation of possible criminal links to taxi drivers who could have picked up Janine come to light as a retired detective who helped lead the major probe into Janine’s murder reveals he formed a view about the identity of the likely killer, a man who is still alive. The former top cop also describes some of the hurdles put in the way of police who spent years in Bathurst trying to solve the mystery. The crucial assumption of almost all investigating detectives that Janine was abducted by the same night driver who attempted to entice another blond-haired woman into his car 10 minutes earlier is challenged. The podcast investigation pauses for several weeks from the release of this ninth episode to look into fresh leads provided by confidential sources from Bathurst. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Janine’s private life came under close scrutiny and details were aired publicly as the Coroner Mary Jerram heard evidence about a young woman overwhelmed by sadness at times in the final days of her life. Janine was in financial and emotional distress - her bills were mounting and she was spending beyond her means on nights out with youthful friends from the local university. She wanted to settle down with a man her own age and raise children but her boyfriends were mostly a decade younger and wanted to party. Janine was taking recreational drugs including pills with her younger friends and the lows were becoming harder to bear. Janine confided to her friend Jordan on the night she disappeared that she had tried to commit suicide days earlier. She made another cryptic disclosure to a friend, Mark. The Coroner Mary Jerram assured the family that she and detectives were ‘trying like mad’ to find Janine’s killer as fresh leads came to light. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A local woman’s evidence was dramatic and deeply disturbing - she was adamant that she saw Janine with her hands bound with baling twine and a look of grave distress on her face while in a small red car being driven by the town’s top cop. The woman had remained silent for four and a half years but when she saw a photo of Janine in the newspaper she came forward. At the same time investigators were having another look at the police officer because of anonymous tip-offs, and then the discovery that he had arrived back in Bathurst before Janine disappeared, contrary to his earlier evidence that he was away visiting his mother. The fallout from the revelations contributed to the crippling of the murder investigation and still affects it now despite explanations of what at first appeared sinister and a cover-up. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Andrew Jones is a deeply spiritual man who came to Bathurst after studying pharmacy, travelling and working in a small hospital in Nepal, and studying religion in Sydney. When Janine disappeared, Jones lived alone at The Scots School in Bathurst in an arrangement where he had boarding house accommodation in return for giving up some spare time to coach the students. He worked in a pharmacy near Janine’s menswear store and he had bought clothing there. He drove a small red car, a Renault 19 series. And he became a significant person of interest in the police investigation. He has always emphatically denied wrongdoing and says police have ruined his reputation by unfairly targeting him. He insists Janine has never been in his car which police seized years later for DNA testing. Women in this episode relate their experiences with him - but Jones states that the encounters which they describe never happened. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When Janine disappeared there was no crime scene or body. One man in Bathurst stepped up to tell a chilling story of having raped her at White Rock and cut her throat. Denis Briggs called himself ‘Bad Denis’ when a reckless side of his bipolar personality came out. His friends and his longtime partner were horrified by his claims. They were also plausible - because Denis had a matching car and an inflation with Janine at her menswear store. He changed his appearance and got rid of the car soon after Janine vanished. Briggs has long denied his own confessions to murder which he made when he was off his medication. But some of those he told still think he did it. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Lynette Boreland ran terrified and hid in the pre-dawn darkness as the mystery driver of a small red car stalked her. In the minutes before Janine took her fateful last steps, Lynette feared for her life. She saw the driver and the interior of the car. She wrote down the number plate. On the other side of Bathurst’s Machattie Park, Janine left The Metro Tavern, dubbed The Dirty Tav. A young student bar attendant reveals being stalked after her shift there, narrowly avoiding rape or worse. Years later, homicide cops looked into whether her stalker was the night driver who had tried to get Lynette and then lured Janine ten minutes later. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Brad Hosemans was a top Bathurst cop and the town's deputy mayor. Some colleagues tipped him to rise to the top of the police force but when Janine Vaughan disappeared his life and standing began to crumble around him as rumours and gossip linked him to abduction and murder. Hosemans was popular with women but he repeatedly swore he had nothing to do with Janine and had never met or talked to her. Community suspicions were fuelled by evidence going missing from police custody. Homicide cops have found nothing to tie Hosemans to Janine and do not suspect him of foul play but nineteen years later he is still viewed by many locals with deep suspicion. They think it's been a police cover up. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The stalking of Janine Vaughan escalated when her boyfriend Phil Evans was away for work. A shadowy stalker would leave menacing handwritten notes on her car and send lacy panties to her. There were troubling telephone calls and a home break-in. These acts terrified Janine who sought help from police. She was increasingly anxious. Other women in the area had disappeared and been murdered around this time. Her friend Wonita tried to help. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Janine Vaughan was a young woman with many friends, a loving family and a good job. She lived in a country town famous for one of the world's great annual car races. She stepped into a red car in front of friends 19 years ago - and disappeared without a trace. Her sister Kylie has been on a relentless quest for the truth about Janine's murder in a community that has been keeping a wicked secret. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A young woman disappears into a rain-soaked night. A country town divides on rumour and speculation. And the relentless quest of a family to uncover the truth. The Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist behind The Teacher’s Pet, Hedley Thomas, is back with a brand new podcast, The Night Driver. Listeners should note that all episodes of The Night Driver will be only be available to subscribers of The Australian two weeks after publication. To hear each episode as soon as possible, download The Australian app on your mobile phone or tablet. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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