Members of the Stace family outside Grafton Court for the inquest into the death of Lee Ellen Stace.
Members of the Stace family outside Grafton Court for the inquest into the death of Lee Ellen Stace. The Daily Examiner

Stace witness 'had bad feeling'

A WITNESS at the Coronial Inquest into the 1997 murder of Brooms Head teenager Lee Ellen Stace said he had such a bad feeling when he saw a girl getting a lift near the Bi-Lo complex at Yamba that he drove back to intervene.

Graham Ellem said he saw a girl answering Lee's description getting into a light-coloured car.

"At the time I drove past I had a feeling. It wasn't until I was nearly past the car that I got this feeling that there was something - a premonition - that something was wrong, which I quite often do and that nearly sort of took my breath away at the time and that's why I looked across - glanced across when I saw the girl at the rear of the car," Mr Ellem said.

He said he saw a person in the driver's seat lean over to open the left-hand door of the vehicle, which Mr Ellem believes may have been a utility, although he was not completely sure.

He described the driver as having a lighter grey-type hair, fairly clean cut, although he was not sure of it. He said the person had sideburns level with the bottom of his ears and had darker skin.

Acting on his premonition, Mr Ellem turned into Treelands Drive and backtracked along Yamba Road to the bus stop, but could not see the girl or the vehicle.

Later two witnesses said they saw Lee in Maclean on the afternoon of her disappearance.

One, former teacher Patricia Riordan, said she saw Lee, who she had taught at Maclean High School, near the Lower Clarence Stationers at around 3.30pm.

Another, Daphne Clarke, said she saw a girl answering Lee's description near Maclean High School and the Brooms Head road turnoff sometime after 3.15pm.

Today an extra witness will be called following police investigation of evidence from a witness on Monday. Witnesses who claim to have seen Lee will finish giving their evidence today.



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