THE mother of missing teenager Jessica Small yesterday told an inquest into her daughter’s disappearance that she and Jessica had open lines of communication and her daughter would never run away.
Asked to described her relationship with Jessica, Ricki Small said it was typical of any mother and her teenage daughter.
“It was a fairly normal teenage daughter relationship,” she said, saying a few problems emerged when Jess left school.
“She left earlier than the Year 10 certificate. I wanted her to either get work or go back to school, and we had a few parental arguments about whether she was going to school.
“But she would never run away. Never. I know that.”
The court asked Ms Small about a letter Jessica wrote to her saying she was staying away to figure out a few things. In the letter Jessica also told her mum “she loved her”.
Ms Small recalled Jessica writing the letter in either April or May of 1997, around the time she stopped going to school.
Solicitor representing the Small family, Bill de Mars asked Ms Small if even when Jessica was staying a friend’s house was the Small family’s residence, in Fish Parade, still Jessica’s home base.
“Yes, absolutely,” Ms Small said.
“So even if she was staying at a friend’s house she’d still stay in touch?” Mr de Mars asked.
“Always,” Ms Small said.
Ms Small continued, describing her relationship with Jess as “open and honest”.
“It was kind-hearted there was no malice,” she said. “We loved one another.”
Mrs Small was also asked about evidence presented earlier in the week: photos of a pair of women’s underpants and a bra that were found in a state forest near Oberon after Jessica’s abduction.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Ian Bourke, asked Ms Small if photos of the clothes were similar to something Jessica would have worn.
Ms Small said they were not inconsistent with what her daughter would have worn, but said when she last saw Jess, at 7pm the night before her abduction, she was fairly certain “she was wearing either a cream or white bra under a white blouse”.