Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

What the Jury Didn't Know about Cowan'spast

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

What the Jury Didn't Know about Cowan'spast

Article excerpt

Byline: RAE WILSON APN Newsdesk

DANIEL Morcombe's murderer has snatched little boys from public areas and committed horrific sex offences against them twice before.

Brett Peter Cowan's attraction to young boys began in primary school and by age 18 he had preyed on 10 to maybe 30 children.

He targeted youngsters at a local swimming pool.

But he was never interested in any emotional contact, just fleeting attractions.

Cowan was the second youngest of four brothers.

He had a fairly normal upbringing despite some bullying at school.

The first run-in with the law came at age 17 for property and dishonesty offences.

He was ordered to work community service, supervised, at a playground in Brisbane in 1987.

At the playground, Cowan coerced a seven-year-old boy into the toilets and molested him.

When he had finished, he casually returned to work.

Cowan went on the run from police, escaping to NSW and avoiding arrest until two years later.

"I don't want to go to jail for something I haven't done," Cowan told police.

He admits now that was a lie because he was "in denial".

Four years later, Cowan found a new victim when he moved with his girlfriend to Darwin.

He was living in a caravan park in 1993 when a young boy in his underwear asked if he had seen his sister.

Cowan then led the boy into the bush and lifted him on to an overturned car in a paddock.

He brutally molested the six-year-old, at one stage covering the child's mouth as he cried loudly.

Cowan left the boy for dead. The youngster was found that evening when he stumbled out of bushland naked and covered in dirt, cuts and bruises.

His eyes had haemorrhaged and his lung was punctured, injuries doctors said were caused through strangulation.

The boy was so battered the policewoman who found him thought he had been run over by a car.

"I don't have to worry about anything, I didn't do it," Cowan told police when he was interviewed at the caravan park.

It was not until four days after the attack when police told him they had found DNA evidence on the boy that Cowan confessed.

Before Darwin police pinned the attack on him, Cowan laughed when he had to sign a statement about where he had been on the day. …

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