A Revista Cadernos de Cultura e Ciência é de caráter nacional e multidisciplinar, cadastrada com o ISSN 1980-5861.

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How diary in Rachel Antonio's bedroom could finally bring closure

por Natalie Redd (2020-06-29)


A secret diary found in the bedroom of teenager Rachel Antonio may finally bring some form of closure for her family more than two decades after she mysteriously vanished.

www.indoxxi-online.pngThe 16-year-old disappeared without a trace after being dropped off at a cinema by her mother in Bowen, northern Queensland, on Anzac Day 1998. 

Surf lifesaver Robert Hytch, then 25, was charged with her murder a year later and found guilty by a jury of the lesser offence of manslaughter - but was acquitted at a retrial in 2001.

Through each trial and re-trial, Mr Hytch consistently denied being in a relationship with the 16-year-old. But a coroner found in 2016 he had lied and the pair had been in an 'intimate relationship'.

Coroner David O'Connell also found Mr Hytch fatally injured the teenager and hid her body, which has never been found. 

In the teenager's diary tendered to that inquest, Rachel wrote of how she was scared the then-Bowen surf club captain would break up with her if she didn't sleep with him. 








The personal thoughts of missing Queensland schoolgirl Rachel Antonio, 16, in a secret diary could prove to be key in finding closure for her family







The teenager's diary was tendered to an inquest (pictured as evidence) and formed the basis of a coroner's finding that the man acquitted of her manslaughter, Robert Hytch, had lied about his relationship with her


'The biggest issue I have in my life right now is whether to do it - or not. Robert and I have been best friends for over two years and have been going out for six months. I can honestly say - I think I love him,' she wrote. 

'Although Robert is 24 (almost 25), he is really caring. The only problem I have - is that I'm scared he will dump me afterwards. This shouldn't really worry me cause he has been with me for six months already. I know he cares about me.'  

The inquest had used the diary as evidence, despite it being ruled inadmissible at trial. 






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It can now be revealed Queensland Police are considering advice from the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions as to whether Mr Hytch could be charged with perjury.  

'The DPP has concluded its consideration of the matter and it was referred to the Queensland Police Service for their consideration,' a spokeswoman for the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions told The Courier-Mail this week. 

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest Mr Hytch is guilty of any crime, only that police are considering the advice from the DPP about the possibility of laying perjury charges.






Robert Hytch and Rachel Antonio are pictured together. He was charged with her murder in 1999 and convicted by a jury of the lesser offence of manslaughter but was acquitted at a retrial in 2001


Mr Hytch appealed the coroner's findings and has always denied any involvement in her disappearance.  

Two men who came across Rachel on the night of her disappearance on the town's Queens Beach said at inquest she told them 'I'm waiting for my boyfriend'.

Coroner O'Connell meanwhile found Mr Hytch had left his brother's birthday party to hire a movie that night and was unable to account for a half-an-hour discrepancy in his movements.






Queensland Police are now considering whether Mr Hytch could face a perjury charge following the coronial inquest's 2016 findings


Police also found a tiny drop of blood on his sandal.

The inquest found the young girl was likely killed by the surf lifesaver - an outcome unsuccessfully challenged in 2018 by Mr Hytch in the Supreme Court.

Ian Antonio and wife Cheryl said in 2015 it was difficult not having a resting place for their daughter - as was coming to terms with the realisation they may never know what happened to her.






Pictured: Rachel's bedroom before her disappearance. Her family have refused to give up hope in recent years her body will be found







Ian Antonio and wife Cheryl (pictured together at Mr Hytch's Supreme Court challenge of the inquest's findings in 2018)  have previously expressed their pain at not having a resting place for their daughter







Two men who came across Rachel on the night of her disappearance on the town's Queens Beach said at inquest she told them 'I'm waiting for my boyfriend'


But they said they remained hopeful.

'I always hope her body will be found so she can be laid to rest,' Mrs Antonio said. 

In 2017, police scoured Bowen tip in the hope of finding her remains. 

The search was fruitless.  

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ISSN: 1980-5861