In a remarkable turn of events, a 76-year-old Brisbane woman has been charged with the murder of her young son around 50 years ago.
The child, named as Peter John Enright, is believed to have been aged three or four at the time of his death sometime between 1968 and 1970.
However, this is not a ‘cold case crime’ as the child, who was apparently autistic, was never known to have been missing and consequently no case was ever opened.
Extensive forensics search
Maureen Enright, the boy’s mother, was charged yesterday and appeared in the Richlands Magistrate’s Court. She is from the suburb of Inala, about 15km from the Brisbane CBD.
Forensic officers, including bone experts, are searching in and around the home in Polaris Street and are utilising ground-penetration radar in an effort to locate the child’s remains. However, given the timeframe and acidity of the soil, police say it’s possible that nothing will be found.
Detective Inspector Damien Hansen of the Queensland Police Homicide Group said homicide investigation had commenced in August 2020 after police received information from a person relating to the suspected death of the child.
Young Peter was number four in a family of 11 children and police say they have now questioned all the family members, with the exception of Mrs Enright’s husband, Michael, who died in 2018.
Different versions of events
Hansen said Maureen Enright had given investigators a number of different versions of events at the time. He said the children were aware that Peter existed and had “given us versions for that”.
“Any death of a child is tragedy for all [who] are involved; Peter was just an innocent child. We are investigating all aspects of his life and care, including family dynamics,” Hansen said.
“I urge anyone who lived on Polaris Street in Inala from 1960 – 1970, or had contact with the Enright family or remember Peter, to contact police. Any piece of information, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on our investigation.”