Witness denies effort to make Lachie’s father look bad

Witness denies effort to make Lachie’s father look bad
Witness denies effort to make Lachie’s father look bad
A long-time friend of Lachie Jones’ half-brothers described suggestions he was involved in covering up the boy’s death as “disgusting.”

Coroner Alexander Ho’s inquest into the 2019 death of the 3-year-old continued this morning at the Invercargill courthouse.

Police swiftly concluded the toddler had drowned after he was found face up in a council sewage pond in Gore.

Jade Vigers, a friend of Lachie’s half brothers Jonathan and Cameron Scott, gave evidence by video link from Australia today.

Mr Vigers said in 2019 he had known the family for more than 10 years.

Max Simpkins, counsel for Lachie’s father Paul Jones, asked the witness if he was the kind of person to stop what he was doing and help Jonathan Scott if he needed it.

“Yes absolutely,” the witness replied.

“Johnny needed a hand that day because his brother had tragically lost his life and I’m suggesting that you already knew Lachie was deceased,” Mr Simpkins said.

“You can suggest anything you want mate, it doesn’t make it true,” Mr Vigers said.

Mr Simpkins asked the witness if he helped Jonathan Scott dispose of Lachie’s body that evening.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for saying that, it’s disgusting,” the witness responded.

Mr Simpkins asked if the witness could tell the court “the real story” of what happened to the toddler.

“Lachie went on an adventure and he found himself in trouble, just like little kids do,” he said.

He said he first knew of Lachie’s disappearance that evening when Kimberley Marshall, a neighbor who was searching, asked if he had seen a small blonde boy.

Mr Vigers asked if they were looking for Lachie.

The witness said while he was good friends with the family, he only went to the home when Lachie’s father Paul Jones was not there.

“I would only go there if Paul wasn’t there because he was really afraid to be around,” the witness said.

Mr Vigers denied he had been conspiring with others to paint a bad picture of Mr Jones.

Earlier today, the court heard from more neighbors including Tanya Ogilvy who joined fellow resident Deborah Thurston in the search for Lachie.

Ms Ogilvy said she heard “a commotion outside” so left her house to investigate.

She said she heard Ms Thurston and Lachie’s mother Michelle Officer calling out the boy’s name.

The witness said she joined Ms Thurston and they walked to the gate at the oxidation ponds where they saw a dog barking.

“Debbie said [Lachie] wouldn’t be down this way because he didn’t like dogs,” Ms Ogilvy said.

Multiple other witnesses have been questioned about animals they saw near the pond, but Ms Ogilvy is the only one who has mentioned a dog.

Ms Thurston did not give evidence about a dog but said she did not think the little boy would have gone into the area where the ponds were because the gates were too high.

The inquest will continue this afternoon.

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