Thursday, October 30, 1980

Lisa Marie Mott

Date of Disappearance: 1980/10/30 Age at time of disappearance: 12 years old Height (cm):152 Hair Colour: Brown Eye Colour: Hazel Build: Slim Town/City: Collie State: WA Country: Australia Lisa Mott was last seen at approximately 8.30 pm on Thursday October 30, 1980. She was waiting in the main street of the West Australian town of Collie where she was to be picked up by a family friend and returned home after a basketball game. Lisa was 12-years old. Despite extensive inquiries by police and family and comprehensive media coverage, there has been no information regarding her whereabouts since then. In 2000, Western Australian police reopened the case. 12-year-old Lisa was last seen speaking to a person in a yellow panel van in Forrest Street after a basketball game at about 8.30pm on October 30. Retired CIB detective Reg Driffill, who headed the investigation into Lisa's disappearance, believed serial killer David Birnie should be interviewed by police about the disappearance. David Birnie has since committed suicide. Det-Supt David Caporn, of the major crime division, said an investigation team was following new leads in the case. He had spoken to Mr Driffill about aspects of the case, including information relating to the ownership of yellow panel vans. Det-Supt Caporn said police were reviewing a number of unsolved crimes, including the disappearance of Lisa Mott. If you have any information on this matter, Please contact CrimeStoppers 1800 333 000.

22 comments:

  1. I believe david birnie buried lisa around the footings of a house he was renovating in wittnoom st in bunbury.there was a lot of earth works around the house at the time .every time I drive down that street ,I look and wonder .

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    1. I came across an aerial photo of Bunbury circa 1980 - looking south from Whale Lookout (http://bunburyhistoricalsociety.com.au/photographs/ - 103-5-aerial-s-over-bunbury-c1980). That's Victoria St running down the middle, Wittenoom St to the right. It appears there's a yellow panelvan parked on the corner of Wittenoom and Carey St (see bottom right corner). Is it possible this photo captured the van you a referring to? Have you given your info to police?

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    2. Sorry 'house' you are referring to?

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    3. I can't see a yellow pv though. I couldn't open your link but went to http://bunburyhistoricalsociety.com.au/photographs/ and the aerial photograph shows amongst the photographs on the page that opens - is this the aerial photograph that you are referring to? Looks to me like the aerial photograph is taken facing south too. do you know the number of the house in Wittenoom St that was being renovated in the 80s?

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  2. I don't think it would hurt to have a look, at least then all would know.

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  3. what address is that street on witnoom street

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  4. at that time of night could orange look like yellow, depending on what lights it was under,

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  5. the description of Mandurah case blondish hair scruffy looking, fits some one, in collie at the time, with a van..name is known, and to police, no doubt.

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  6. I was only 5 at the time but I always had a dream she was buried in a footing concrete off coarse..under the railway bridge collie river..in the bush end .its bothered me all my life for some reason

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  7. Maybe I saw something wen I was 5..or its just a dream..it wouldnt be a house footing.something big like a railway footing cos it will NEVER GET DUG UP..that railway in bush heading towards the tip end anyways thats my 2 cents worth

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  8. I was picked up by a yellow panel van hitchhiking just outside of Mandurah on 5 October 1980. I was 19 at the time. The guy called himself 'Dave'. It was an horrific trip and I never hitchhiked again. He drove me around and made extremely disturbing threats. I eventually got away by tricking him and hailed down a car on Rockingham Rd, just south of Naval Base. The concerned Scottish male driving a dark coloured Citroen, drove me to my mother's house in Claremont, where she talked me out of reporting it (if that driver ever reads this, please come forward and give evidence to police).
    Less than a month on 30 October 1980 Lisa Mott went missing. I contacted Police immediately, but they said 'Mandurah's a long way from Collie!' and weren't interested. I did not have a registration number and no crime had been committed (only threats).
    Years later I recognised the 'Dave' who picked me up as David Birnie after his arrest and photos in the news. I have also informed the police of this.
    I'm only bothering to write all this because of the comment above regarding Wittnoom St, Bunbury. I always thought that the key to this is locating the owner of that yellow panel van. Maybe there is a link there because 'Dave' told me back in 1980 that the yellow panelvan he was driving BELONGED TO A MATE IN BUNBURY, who let him use it.
    I recall the van distinctly. The yellow paint was a bit faded and discoloured. It had two doors on the back that opened out and an L-shaped handle. No windows in the sides. The interior was filthy dirty with bench seat in front (torn black upholstery), curtain separating front and rear, even a bong and a hunting knife in ornate leather sleeve in glovebox. In back was a mattress, tool boxes, a shovel and heavy metal chains. I think I read somewhere David Birnie worked as a crane driver in Collie, so this would fit, but it looks like it might have been his mate's yellow panelvan that he drove to work and used to run up and down to Perth.
    At the time he picked me up, he was actually heading back down to Bunbury from Perth. I later realised, he'd made a U-turn after he passed me and came back to pick me up (I was headed to Perth). He said he'd come up to watch 'Bathhurst' (Bathurst 1000 car race) at another mate's place in, wait for it, Willagee. Of course, Birnie is dead now, but based on what I know, I would certainly be looking at him as a suspect in Lisa Mott's disappearance. My heart goes out to her mother whom I'm sure would give anything to know what happened to her daughter. How can anyone ever be 100% certain, but I strongly suspect Birnie did take her.
    People might be interested to also know that another teenager went missing shortly before all of this - Annette Deveral aged 16 (although elsewhere its reported Annette Deverell aged 19) who disappeared from the Mandurah Post Office on 13 September 1980, and whose body was found in bushland east of Pinjarra less than 2 years later. I read about the case in 2012 when it was reopened by police after they learned she had been seen in a panel van on the night she vanished. Its a shame they didn't put more stock in my 1980 report of a close shave with a guy in a panel van just outside of Mandurah. I can only think they had a hunch Annette was a runaway. I do wish the police would not run on hunches but remain strictly evidence based and do the groundwork. Of course that demands funding and education, and that's another discussion in itself.
    Any else got any more info on Wittnoom St, Witnoom St or could it be Wittenoom St, Bunbury? I doubt the police will set aside resources to look into this further, as their suspect is deceased (though Catherine is still alive, this was many years before he got together with her and they together committed the horrific crimes leading to their arrest and imprisonment.) But if David Birnie WAS renovating a house for a mate in Bunbury back in 1980, did this guy own a yellow panelvan, and if he did, did he let David Birnie drive it? Anyone?

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  9. How very fascinating your story is about 'dave'. Annette Deverell was 19 when she disappeared and the last known sighting of her as a passenger in a yellow panel van outside the Mandurah post office. Annette lived in Mandurah. Karrakatta cemetery records show Annette was 19 at the time of her disappearance. The Bathurst race which back in 1980 was named the Hardie-Ferodo 1000 was held on 5 October.

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    1. He said he had 'just finished' watching the race. It was probably about 5.30/6pm, still light, but it was totally dark by the time I got away. He definitely said the word 'Bathurst'. He said he 'came up for the race.' I thought he meant a local car race in Perth and asked where the race was. He said it was at Bathurst and he watched it on tv. I figured out later he must have meant the Bathurst 1000. I don't recall the words Hardie Ferodo, but I was in a barely controlled state of panic at the time.
      I knew I was in trouble when he turned right off Mandurah Rd into Sixty Eight Rd. After a few kms, he did a U-turn, got back onto Mandurah Rd heading north, then turned off again just after the bend. He turned left, then left again down a bush track which came out onto this big wide flat area. I know now it was a dry Lake Cooloongup - the northernmost of two salt lakes east of Rockingham. .
      It's 34 years tomorrow. I can't think about that horrific day without thinking of Lisa Mott. I was frantic when I saw the headlines a few weeks later, convinced it must be the same guy. My housemate thought the same and I remember her encouraging me while I was on the phone waiting to get through. Hundreds of people called in that day.

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  10. There was a yellow panel van owned by collies local ranger, who also had all acsess to the pound and incinerater. he is beleived to be the last person to speak to lisa after basketball training and had given her a ride, she was with another young girl who knocked back the offer of the ride. That young girl has never spoken due to fear and suffered from depression since. Unfortunately that ranger has since passed away.

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    1. Really. Do you recall if it was Ford or Holden?
      I feel for the girl. I struggled speaking about it for years myself.

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  11. that info about the ranger owning a yellow panelvan has put the shivers up my spine. makes me wonder if Birnie was acquainted with this ranger too.

    do you happen to know Lisa' birthdate or month of birth?

    from memory, wasn't the person that was supposed to collect Lisa, doing so on behalf of her family?

    Thank goodness you survived that terrible ordeal. I see 68 Rd is not far from the site where the dear boy Gerard Ross was located.

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  12. I was a local from Collie, growing up there at the time that Lisa went missing. On 1st November 1980, the Saturday after Lisa had gone missing I was up early on my morning walk on the Coalfields Hwy near Allinson. A yellow valiant station wagon pulled over and a man whose face I can still see clearly, asked if would like a lift - I declined, however when I looked in the backseat I saw somebody completely covered from head to toe under a grey blanket, I didn't think much of this at the time. I turned around and started heading back towards collie when a number of detectives cars stopped me as they had a report of a young lady walking on the highway believed to have been Lisa. At the time I didn't even click with the yellow station wagon as police where looking for a panel van - many years later I was thinking about the whole situation and could the young girl who described the panel van to police mistaken it for the valiant that had stopped me. I called crime stoppers and they were not overly interested in hearing my story as the case was cold and they believed the car would be long gone. It wasn't until tonight talking with my daughter that we decided to google Lisa's case and saw suspicion that it may have been Birnie who had taken her. I had only seen pictures of him as an older man but My daughter googled him and looked at the images, there is a photo from him 1986 and it completely shocked me and sent shivers up my spine, that was the man that stopped me and was driving the yellow valiant.

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    1. is it possible please for you to give more detail of your location on coalfields road - would you know the closest intersection to where you were and what way was the yellow vehicle travelling - towards or away from Collie?

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  13. My goodness how sad that the police didn't take more notice of the personal experiences of a number of different people. I dont know when but Brett Cowan who murdered Daniel Morcombe also lived in Bunbury. The ladies who had close experiences with David Burnie must feel a very strong strange connection to all this. You would think the police would do it but we need to somehow map out sightings of these vehicles, encounters people had and missing persons.There has to be a lot more we can do. Isan't it strange I think about Lisa a lot but especially in the last day or so not realising she actually went missing on October 30th weird eh!

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    1. Brett Cowan was born in Bunbury on 18/9/1969 but grew up in Everton Park Qld; so he might be just a little too young at age 11 in 1980 to be involved in Lisa's disappearance don't you think? But he did start his evil life as a pedophile in 1987 it would seem and continued until he was finally caught. RIP Daniel and condolences to the wonderful and brave Morcombe family.

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