Welcome to part 2 of the disappearance of Cheryl Grimmer. You might need a cup of tea and a sit down for this one!
If you missed part 1, please go back and read before this one 🙂
The confession & mercury
18 months after little Cheryl disappeared, a 17 year old boy claimed he took Cheryl and killed her.
His confession is a little confronting, but I'm going to summarise the main points:
"I saw a bunch of children coming back up from a swim, they went into the changing rooms.
I then saw a little girl being lifted up to get a drink from a water bubbler outside the block.
I came around from the back of the shower block, and saw a man sitting on a wall.
I grabbed the little girl, covering her mouth so she didn't scream, otherwise the man on the wall would've heard.
We hid in a drain for over half an hour, and to stop her screaming tied a handkerchief over her mouth and tied her hands behind her back with a shoelace.
We went up into the hills nearby. I did intend to have sexual intercourse with her, but when I removed the gag she started to scream. So I put my hands around her throat and she stopped breathing. I panicked and covered her up with bushes and ran for it."
Uhhhh yeah, that's a lot of detail isn't it. When I tell you my jaw dropped, my goodness.
Remember in part 1 when I mentioned Ricki picking Cheryl up to get a drink from the water bubbler? Yeah that part is relevant now... That information was never released to the public, it wasn't really mentioned because it didn't seem like that big of a deal. So for mercury to have known that, he must have been there.
You can imagine how frustrated Ricki and his brothers would have been finding out 49 years later that a confession was actually made, and they were never told.
Det. Sanvitale and D/Sgt Loone spoke with the original investigators and asked them the same question you are all thinking, 'Why the heck did this not go any further?'
Well apparently, the police didn't think there was enough evidence, and couldn't seem to corroborate any details in the confession, so just didn't think they should dig further and filed it away. They thought maybe he was just a fantasist.
What..? You have somebody that has willingly confessed, knows details about the events of the day, can perfectly describe what he did with Cheryl's swimming costume and which incinerator he burnt it in, yet you don't dig further?
Oh and also at the time, one of the staff members of the juvenile home mercury was in spoke to police when she had asked mercury if he was worried about something because he seemed off, and his response was"yes I am worried, I did that to the little girl, I didn't mean to do it".
Det. Sanvitale and D/Sgt Loone were just completely shocked by this, and had to speak with mercury themselves. They did not believe this was the case at all.
So they did, they tracked him down.
The detectives asked him to come in for an interview; mercury was 63 at the time of this new investigation. According to Det. Sanvitale, mercury seemed calm with no visible emotions, which I find an extremely weird response. If someone was questioning you about something that happened 49 years ago, and you didn't do it, wouldn't you kick off, scream innocence, and wonder why?
In the interview, mercury is shown his confession, which he signed every single page of in 1970, and was asked if that was his signature down the bottom. He said yes. They asked if he wrote this confession. He said yes. They asked if he took and killed Cheryl. He said no.
This man is now denying committing the crime, admits to writing the confession but denies the crime? Strange.
Not only is he denying the crime, he's also denying being at the beach, he's denying ever going to that beach, on any day. He even says he hates the beach.
It's a little bit of an unbelievable statement to make that he's never ever been to the beach and hates the beach, when you live in Australia.
Mercury is arrested, because they have his confession which he signed, and he pleads not guilty to the abduction and murder of Cheryl Grimmer.
Now, I bet you're all wondering what the heck is the reason that this man is still walking free and living in the inner suburbs of Melbourne? Well, at the new trial, the judge threw out the written confession as evidence, and says it is inadmissible.
The reason for this blows my freaking mind.
The reason it is now inadmissible, is because at the time he gave his confession and was eventually cautioned, mercury didn't have a parent, legal guardian or legal representative present. Which you might think oh yeah fair enough, but the law stating that was a requirement for minors didn't come into legislation until years after. So at the time, everything was done by the book, mercury was not required to have someone present.
So the judge is saying that because that's the law now, and we apparently have to be fair (which if he is guilty I don't think we have to be fair) the written and signed confession cannot be used in a court of law. And because there is no body, and no other evidence, mercury is a free man.
It was said in a podcast episode and through my research that there is no body because Cheryl was left on farm land where there were pigs and foxes around, and pigs will eat literally everything, the flesh and the bones.
I cannot even articulate words on how I feel about this. I think that is absolutely ridiculous. Just because there is a particular legislation in place now, doesn't mean it can effect something that happened in 1970. I understand that at the time he was a minor, he was a child, but the police did nothing wrong in terms of protocol for that interview. So why should we now protect a grown man?
So, because there is no confession, no body, no DNA, no evidence, there is literally nothing that can be done, so the judge had the case dropped.
I understand that this was a very long time ago, and there is no physical evidence; however, if the confession could be used in court, and they could then really dig into the ins and outs of the details and do a full investigation, and then this man was found innocent, then fair enough. Ricki and his brothers have said this too, if the case could go in front of a jury and they find him innocent, then fair play, at least it was investigated and was presented in a court of law. But the fact that they didn't even get this chance, is just disappointing.
Another thing I just do not understand, IF he's innocent, and that's a big IF in my eyes, wouldn't you think he'd be a bit more defensive? Like when the detectives reinterviewed him and he was completely calm? You've just been arrested for abducting and murdering a child from 47 years ago and you're not kicking up a fuss? Seems weird to me..
From all the information I have, and the research I've done, I completely agree with Detective Sanvitale, Detective Sergeant Loone and the Grimmer siblings, I think mercury committed this crime. I think he abducted, murdered, and left Cheryl in that farm land.
The justice system has completely failed this family, and has completely failed this innocent 3 year old girl. Cheryl had her entire life ahead of her, she could've achieved so much, but this one individual took that away from her, and instead has lived his life with freedom.
I have linked a petition that you can sign. We need NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman to bring this confessed murderer to justice.
There is also a $1,000,000 reward for any information that will lead to an arrest and conviction, so if you have any information please call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.
Advice from the AFP
Now, I'm not a parent, so I don't know exactly what Carol and Vince went through and what every other parent of a missing child goes through, but I can imagine it would be extremely heart-breaking.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP), have listed some tips on their website for parents and caregivers, to try and help should this happen to anyone else:
1) Be sure your child knows their full name, home address, and a mobile number of someone
2) Include key contact information in their backpack, coat etc. And teach your child not to share this information with anyone without your permission
3) Talk to your children about the risks of sharing too much information on social media platforms
4) Keep updated pictures of your child on your phone or in your wallet
5) Look for signs and listen to your children if they say someone makes them feel uncomfortable
6) Be prepared in crowds by dressing your child in recognisable clothing, and designate a central location to meet, should they get lost
'Stranger danger' is something that we all know is super important to teach young children, whether you're a parent, school teacher, aunt, grandparent, anyone.
Thank you for reading
Any feedback is always welcome 😊
My Instagram DMs are always open if you want to discuss anything or ask any questions!