Person of interest denies being in Bathurst at Jessica Small inquest

A MAN considered by police to be a person of interest in the Jessica Small case denied keeping information from them when he was interviewed by authorities two years ago.

The remainder of the ERISP [electronically recorded interview of a suspected person] between Andrew McBride and homicide police, which was recorded in May 2012, was played to an inquest into the missing teenager’s presumed murder on Thursday. 

The inquest is being held before deputy state coroner Sharon Freund, and will resume in Bathurst Courthouse on Monday, June 2.

During the interview, police put it to McBride that he deliberately kept information from them when he spoke to officers a week before interview.

In the interview Detective Sergeant Peter Smith said to Mr McBride that he originally told them he had never been to Bathurst, but police had obtained banking records which placed him in the city a number of times in 1997.

 McBride said “for the life of him” he couldn’t recall going to Bathurst, but then remembered he may have been there “on two or three occasions” to front Bathurst Local Court on charges relating to an assault of a young man, and for passing dud cheques.

When McBride said to police “please don’t think I’m being untruthful” Detective Smith said to him: “Did you think when we spoke to you on Monday we’d knock on your door and then go away if you told us anything you wanted?”

Detective Smith said a witness had come forward saying an adult male, whose description matched McBride’s back in 1997, was asking about Jessica Small just an hour-and-a-half before she was picked up and never seen again. 

But McBride denied knowing anything about the abduction.

“You were in a sexual relationship with a girl the same age [as Jessica] and then you leave your accommodation and don’t even bother handing in the key.”

Detective Smith said police had been investigating this case for five years and Mr McBride was the most likely person of interest.