Lester "Legs" William LEE

  Lester Wiliam Lee.

Date of birth: 1963
Height: 184cm
Hair: Grey
Eyes: Blue
Build: Slim
Race: Aboriginal
Complexion: Olive

Lester Lee was last sighted at a work party in Tarleton St, East Devonport, Tasmania on 19-DEC-2004 where he appeared drunk and aggressive. He has not been seen since and has not made contact with his family over the Christmas period which is out of character for him.  He has a scar on his face (Left cheek 6-7 cm long). He has facial hair.



Record of Investigation into Death (Without Inquest) Coroners Act 1995 Coroners Rules 2006 Rule 11

I, Simon Cooper, Coroner, having investigated the suspected death of Lester William Lee Find, pursuant to Section 28(1) of the Coroners Act 1995, that a) The identity of the deceased is Lester William Lee; b) While satisfied Mr Lee is dead I am unable to determine the circumstances of his death; c) I am unable to determine the cause of Mr Lee’s death; and d) Mr Lee died on or after 19 December 2004 in Tasmania at a location I am unable to determine.


1. The investigation of deaths in Tasmania is governed by the Coroners Act 1995. Section 21(1) of the Act provides that “[a] coroner has jurisdiction to investigate a death if it appears to the coroner that the death is or may be a reportable death.”

2. ‘Death’ is defined in section 3 of the Act as including a suspected death.

3. ‘Reportable death’ is defined in the same section as meaning, inter alia, a death which occurred in Tasmania and was unexpected or the cause of which is unknown.

4. Thus if a coroner suspects (on reasonable grounds) that a person has died and the death meets the definition of a reportable death, then that coroner has jurisdiction to investigate.

5. For reasons which will become apparent in this finding I am satisfied that jurisdiction exists to investigate the disappearance of Lester William Lee.


6. Lester William Lee was born on 28 August 1963, the son of Kenneth James Lee and Frances May Lee. Mr Lee was the youngest of six children. He was raised and educated on the North West Coast of Tasmania.

7. At the time of his disappearance Mr Lee was in the final stages of a divorce from his wife, Kim Marie Lee. Mr and Mrs Lee had two children, Kurt and Monica, who were aged 14 and 10 respectively in 2004. The couple had separated in January 2002 when Mrs Lee moved out of the then family home at Church Road, North Motton. Arrangements with respect to access to the children of the marriage seem to have been amicable. Mrs Lee had by 2014 re-partnered with a Mr Ronnie Cannon.

8. Mr Lee was employed by Patrick’s Shipping at the Port of Devonport as a stevedore. He was due to return to work on 20 December 2004 after an extended period of sick leave.

9. At the time of his disappearance Mr Lee seems to have lived partly in a caravan on a block of land he owned at 460 Purtons Road, North Motton and partly in a unit in East Devonport owned by now deceased Janet Anne Donaghy. Mr Lee and Ms Donaghy were sexual partners. Mr Lee was also in sexual relationships with two other women, Bronwyn Leanne James and Kylie Anne Choveaux, at the time.

10. Mr Lee appears not to have had any particularly close friends. Nor was he particularly close to any member of his family. He had reasonably regular contact with his father but virtually none with his mother and only minimal contact with two of his siblings.

Mr Lee’s disappearance

11. Mr Lee was last seen in Devonport just before Christmas in 2004. He was reported by his father to police as a missing person on 1 January 2005. The matter was the subject of an extensive missing person investigation. That investigation was not successful in the sense that Mr Lee was not located.

12. The evidence satisfies me that on the afternoon of Saturday, 18 December 2004, Mr Lee had been at 12/67 Torquay Road, East Devonport – the flat of Ms Donaghy. A birthday party had been held at the residence for Ms Donaghy. At about 4.00pm Mr Lee left the unit and travelled by taxi to the Devonport Workers Club in Stuart Street, Devonport. He shared the taxi with a Mr Raymond Cunningham who was dropped off on the way to the club.

13. A Patrick’s Shipping Christmas work function was being held at the Devonport Workers Club. Mr Lee’s presence at the Club was confirmed by a witness, Mr Arthur Anderson, a work colleague and someone who had known Mr Lee all his life. A number of the people at the function, including Mr Lee, left the club and went to another hotel – Molly Malone’s – in Best Street, Devonport. Mr Lee left Molly Malone’s at about 11.00pm and returned to the Torquay Road unit. It is unclear whether he travelled by taxi, got a lift or walked. Whilst at Molly Malone’s Mr Lee made a comment to a Mr Damian Hingston, a co-worker, about swimming across the Mersey River to get to East Devonport. This comment, later relayed to police when Mr Lee’s disappearance was being investigated, led to a particular line of enquiry being pursued which will be addressed later in this finding.

14. The next day, Sunday, 19 December 2004, Mr Lee stayed at the Torquay Road address until about lunchtime. Subsequent investigations reveal that at 11.53am Kylie Choveaux used her home telephone to call Mr Lee on his mobile. The call lasted for 12 minutes and 41 seconds. After that call Mr Lee, Ms Donaghy and another couple, Annette Lisa McGuire and Leslie Emery, went to the Edgewater Motor Inn, Thomas Street, East Devonport for a counter lunch and drinks.

15. Leaving the Edgewater at about 3.30pm, Mr Lee went to Mr Raymond Cunningham’s nearby home to collect his blue mountain bike (which he had left there on Friday) and rode back to the unit at Torquay Road. There followed a barbecue with more drinks. Mr Lee then left Torquay Road around 7.00pm and rode his mountain bike (he was a disqualified driver) to the Argosy Motor Inn in Tarleton Street, East Devonport. There he met Mr Jeffrey Maxwell Norris. What transpired between he and Mr Norris will be dealt with later in some detail in this finding. It is enough to say that the men spent some time together drinking beer and playing eight-ball at the hotel (a fact subsequently confirmed by staff).

16. Mr Lee did not turn up for work on 20 December and apparently made no contact with his employer, friends or family over the Christmas period. He was reported to police as a missing person on 1 January 2005 and an investigation commenced. That investigation continued over a number of years, being periodically reviewed and re-activated. The investigation explored various hypotheses including that Mr Lee was still alive (having perhaps chosen to leave the state voluntarily), that he had died as a result of an accident or suicide or that he was the victim of foul play. However, no trace of Mr Lee was ever found.

Is Mr Lee still alive?

17. One possibility considered during the investigation in relation to Mr Lee’s disappearance was that he was not dead. The idea that he was still alive and had possibly staged his own disappearance found credence by reason of his easy access to the docks in Devonport (and hence the Bass Strait ferry) and the fact of a report that Mr Lee was seen in Burnie on Wednesday 22 December 2004, i.e. 2 days after he was supposed to have disappeared.

18. The report of Mr Lee being seen in Burnie on 22 December suggested he had been seen at the Beach Hotel in the early evening and, perhaps earlier with an Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang (OMCG) member, in Wilson Street. I am satisfied that Mr Lee was not in Burnie on 22 December 2004 for several reasons. First, one of the reports came from someone who did not know Mr Lee. In fact the ‘witness’ did not even purport to identify the intoxicated man she said she saw in the bar of the hotel as Mr Lee. Second, the other source of the report, Ms Allison Jayne Bell, who did know Mr Lee, was uncertain of the date she said she saw Mr Lee in the street and unsure whether Mr Lee was at the Beach Hotel when she went there after work on 22 December 2004. That Ms Bell later changed her statement to say she was more confident Mr Lee was present in the Bar of the Beach Hotel on 22 December, with the OMCG member and a ‘fat hippy chick’ is even more reason to approach the account with some caution. But even if true, it is not inconsistent with the ultimate conclusion that Mr Lee is dead.

19. The possibility of Mr Lee having voluntarily left the state is worthy of consideration. On the face of it Mr Lee had both the motivation and opportunity to leave Tasmania on the TT Line vessel operating out of Devonport. The motivation might be considered to be the complicated nature of his personal relationships, coupled with the fact there was some evidence to suggest that Mr Lee may have been involved in some criminal activity. The opportunity arose by reason of the fact that, as has already been mentioned, Mr Lee worked as a stevedore at the Port of Devonport.

20. A number of things can be said about this line of enquiry. First, there is no evidence of Mr Lee purchasing a ticket. Second, Mr Brian Crawford, the Port Facility Security Officer TT Line, said in an affidavit that for Mr Lee to gain access to the ferry he would need a current TT Line Identification Pass, which he did not have. Third, a review of CCTV from the time around Mr Lee’s disappearance did not show any evidence of him boarding the ferry.

21. A witness, Ms Sherrin Elisabeth Jones, who worked as a cleaner on the ferry made an affidavit in which she described a man, who she described as “about 6 foot 2 inches tall of thin build with a beard brown to grey wirey [sic] hair, collar length… [who] … looked a little bit sus” walk up the gang plank onto the ferry, without luggage ‘sometime’ in December 2004. This account, doubtless true, could not persuade anyone that it was Mr Lee, particularly given the vagueness of the date, a description that whilst not inconsistent with Mr Lee might have been of many other men and the fact that Ms Jones did not claim to know Mr Lee.

22. In all of the circumstances whilst it may be that Mr Lee was alive in Burnie a couple of days after 19 December 2004, I am satisfied that the hypotheses that he left the state on the Bass Strait Ferry is inherently improbable and not supported by any evidence. And I observe that the two possibilities do not depend upon each other; in other words Mr Lee being alive in Burnie on about 22 December 2004 neither strengthens nor weakens the Bass Strait Ferry hypothesis – and vice versa.

23. I am quite satisfied on all of the evidence that Mr Lee is dead. I am so satisfied because the investigation shows it has been identified there has been no usage of his Medicare card since 10 December 2004, no Centrelink benefits claimed in his name, and no passport issued to Mr Lee or applied for in his name since that date. In 2014, as part of the Coronial Division review of all long-term missing person cases in the state, the investigation into Mr Lee’s death was re-activated. Enquiries were conducted with Tasmania Prison Service, the electoral commission, the Department of Health and Human Services (both housing and mental health), and various other agencies, including the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as well as the ten most commonly used financial institutions and all state and territory police jurisdiction information holdings for information in relation to Mr Lee. No information was located. Enquiries were conducted in relation to unidentified bodies records nationally, all national transport systems, and Medicare (health insurance) nationally. None of the agencies mentioned above had any record of Mr Lee. Records at the Coronial Division were interrogated and no information was gleaned which would assist in the location of Mr Lee.

24. There is no evidence he has been in contact with any member of his family, or anyone at all, since 19 December 2004 (or allowing for the possibility that the accounts of him being in Burnie on 22 December 2004 are correct, that date). Although his relationships with family and friends were not always close, it is inherently implausible that he would stage his own disappearance (or simply leave the state, not staging a disappearance as such) and make no contact, ever again, with at least his children or his father.

25. Finally, in this regard, telephone records obtained and reviewed as part of the investigation show that Mr Lee’s mobile phone was last used on 20 December 2004 and not used again after that date.

26. The evidence, when viewed as a whole, satisfies me to the requisite legal standard that Mr Lee is dead. It is necessary then to consider the circumstances and cause of Mr Lee’s death and make findings, if possible, accordingly.


27. I turn to consider first the possibility that Mr Lee took his own life. There is no reason to conclude that Mr Lee did so. There is no evidence to suggest that he was suffering from mental illness – a frequent trigger for suicide. There is no evidence that Mr Lee had articulated suicidal ideation in the past. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Lee had attempted suicide at any time in the past. Although not determinative of the issue, the fact that his body has not been located also suggests that suicide was not the cause of his death. An interrogation of coronial records in Tasmania indicate that suicides most commonly occur at the residence of the deceased person. Both residences of Mr Lee were searched and no sign of him located. Other places frequented by him were also searched – again without result.

28. In all of the circumstances I am satisfied to the requisite legal standard that Mr Lee’s death was not attributable to suicide.

Accidental death?

29. The possibility that Mr Lee had died as a result of accident or misadventure was also considered by investigators. In particular, the observation made to Mr Damian Hingston at Molly Malone’s on 18 December 2004 about the possibility of Mr Lee’s swimming across the Mersey River meant that such a possibility was worth careful scrutiny. The obvious point though about Mr Lee’s suggestion that he might swim across the Mersey River is that it was made on 18 December (the day before he went missing) and in fact he did not do so. In my view the observation by Mr Lee is likely to be little more than drunken bravado and does not provide a plausible explanation for his disappearance.

30. The possibility needs to be considered that he met his death in some other way by accident. Once again, as with the absence of the body in the context of suicide, the fact that Mr Lee’s body has not been found suggests strongly that his death was not accidental.

Foul Play?

31. This aspect of the investigation enjoyed the most prominence. A number of theories were investigated in detail. They included the possibility of Mr Lee’s disappearance and presumed death being due to his involvement in criminal activity; the involvement of Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang members in Mr Lee’s disappearance and presumed death; and the possibility that Mr Lee’s disappearance was in some way linked to that of David John Sushames. Police identified two potential persons of interest: Jeffrey Maxwell Norris and Mark Robert "Duck" O'Donahue. Both men were interviewed and extensively investigated by Police.

Jeffrey Maxwell Norris

32. As will be clear from earlier parts of this finding, Mr Norris was most likely the last person in Mr Lee’s company on 19 December 2004. Mr Norris contacted Crime Stoppers on 3 January 2005, after the fact of Mr Lee’s disappearance was publicised by Tasmania Police. He swore an affidavit the same day. In that affidavit he said that he and Mr Lee (whom he had known for several years) had met at the Argosy Motor Inn. He said that Mr Lee told him that he had been drinking since midday. Mr Norris described Mr Lee as appearing to have had ‘a bit to drink but [didn’t] consider him to be drunk’. The men played eight-ball and drank some beers. (Their presence was confirmed to investigating police by a staff member). In his affidavit Mr Norris said that whilst at the hotel Mr Lee received four text messages on his mobile telephone. Mr Norris said that Mr Lee had told him that he ‘was getting back together with Kylie Devreaux’ (Mr Norris is wrong about Kylie’s surname – contextually this can only be a reference to Kylie Choveaux). (Telstra records were used by investigating police to confirm that this occurred). Mr Norris also said that Mr Lee spoke of ‘Kylie bringing him his work boots’ as he needed them for his return to work the following day. Mr Norris said that he and Mr Lee left the Argosy at about 8.00pm at which time it was Mr Lee's intention to return to the home of another female friend in Torquay Road, in East Devonport and Mr Norris’ intention to drive to the Gateway Bottle Shop, Best Street in Devonport to buy a particular alcoholic drink - ‘Red Bear Vodka Pineapple’ for his wife. After that he was intending to go home to Sheffield.

33. Mr Norris said in the affidavit that when they went outside it was raining so he offered to give Mr Lee a lift. (I note that Bureau of Meterology records show 0.4 mm of rain fell at Devonport Airport between 7.11pm and 7.28pm that day). Both men attempted to place Mr Lee's blue mountain bike in the back seat and boot of Mr Norris’ car but it did not fit so Mr Lee left it at the hotel between two shipping containers near the bottle shop area of the Argosy Motel. Mr Norris said it was not unusual for Mr Lee to leave his bike in the areas around the bottle shop when he was at the hotel (and the fact that it was necessary for Mr Lee to recover his mountain bike earlier on the weekend tends to lend support to this suggestion). After a discussion about the possibility of Mr Norris giving Mr Lee a lift to Sheffield (where both Mr Norris and Kylie Choveaux lived), Mr Norris took Mr Lee to the general area of Torquay Street. He said that he dropped Mr Lee off, who had a backpack with him. As he dropped him off Mr Norris said that Mr Lee received a phone call.

34. Mr Norris said in his affidavit that after dropping Mr Lee off he drove to the Gateway Bottle Shop and then back to the Argosy Motel, to wait for Mr Lee. He said he waited from 8.40pm until 9.30pm and that he rang and sent a text message to Mr Lee, but received no reply, had no further contact and went home to Sheffield without him.

35. Finally, he said in the affidavit that a couple of days later he noticed Mr Lee’s bike was not where it had been left at the Argosy Motel.

36. Leaving aside the possible accounts of Mr Lee being seen in Burnie, Mr Norris appears to have been the last person to certainly see Mr Lee alive.

37. Mr Norris made a second affidavit on 5 January 2005. In that affidavit he said that the meeting with Mr Lee at the Argosy Motel had been arranged in advance, that the men had intended to meet to play eight-ball on Friday but had been unable to do so. Mr Norris said in his second affidavit that although he went to the Gateway Bottle Shop he did not buy anything as the bottle shop did not have what he wanted i.e. ‘Red Bear Vodka Pineapple’. He confirmed that he waited for Mr Lee for nearly an hour at the Argosy and eventually left, sending a text message to Mr Lee when he got home to Sheffield asking, in effect, where he was. Telstra records confirm that a message was sent as Mr Norris said and the message itself was viewed by an investigating police officer.

38. The next day Mr Norris made another affidavit. The affidavit of 6 January 2005 adds further detail to Mr Norris’ movements on 19 December 2004.

39. On 13 January 2005, under caution, a video re-enactment was conducted by police with Mr Norris. The re-enactment covered the time when he and Mr Lee left the Argosy Motel on 19 December 2004 and extended to his driving to the Gateway Bottle Shop and subsequent return to the hotel. The video re-enactment took approximately 30 minutes.

40. In addition, forensic testing was conducted by Forensic Science Services Tasmania of the interior and boot of Mr Norris’ car. Although carried out at the Devonport Police Station pursuant to a warrant, Mr Norris indicated that he would have consented for it to take place. The results of that testing were unremarkable. Although several areas in the boot of the vehicle showed positive to luminal (a screening test used to identify the possible presence of blood), in the event the testing was negative for blood and provided no evidence of Mr Lee having been in the car and specifically not in the boot. Mr Norris was then subsequently interviewed under caution. The account of his dealings with Mr Lee on 19 December 2004 at interview was essentially in the same terms as the account he had given in the three affidavits referred to above.

41. In mid-April 2006 a review of the matter was conducted and the investigation renewed. The review seems to have been prompted, in part, by a desire to determine whether there was any connection between the apparent disappearances of Mr Lee and David John Sushames who was last seen alive in November 2005. The potential connection was thought to be a geographical one in the sense that both Mr Lee and Mr Sushames seem to have last been seen in the East Devonport area.

42. The only link between the pair (and their disappearances) was, after a comprehensive investigation, found to be only geographical. No other link, by reason of employment, social circles, relationships, involvement in any illegal (or legal) activity or in any other way was found. In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that the disappearances of the two men was in any way related.

43. However, as part of the investigation of Mr Sushames’ disappearance, and the quite reasonable desire to see if the two disappearances were linked, the potential involvement of Mr Norris in either or both disappearances was re-examined. He and his partner Ann-Marie Kelly were both re-interviewed by police on 24 May 2006. In his interview Mr Norris gave an account of his movements with Mr Lee on 19 December 2004 significantly different to the account that he gave in January 2005. Mr Norris admitted lying to police in his earlier accounts. He said that whilst the meeting with Mr Lee was, as he had previously said, pre-arranged, it was not arranged for the purpose of a game of eight-ball but rather to undertake a “drug run”. Mr Norris said that originally he and Mr Lee were to meet on the night of Friday, 17 December 2004 but that Mr Lee had a work function on that night so the meeting was suspended until the night of Sunday, 19 December 2004.

44. In summary Mr Norris’ new account involved he and Mr Lee driving to the weigh station at Parramatta Creek (on the Bass Highway south of Devonport), meeting up with a person or persons who Mr Norris did not see, and Mr Lee taking possession of (according to him) what seemed to be a reasonably substantial amount of cannabis. Mr Norris told police that he understood that Mr Lee had taken possession of three packages each containing a pound of marijuana. Mr Norris said that he was then instructed by Mr Lee to drive back to Devonport where Mr Lee delivered to two hotels in the Devonport area. Mr Norris said he had nothing to do with the planning of the “drug run” and that he expected to receive “a couple of hundred bucks” as a reward for using his car and driving.

45. Mr Norris said that after the drop off of the drugs had been completed he drove Mr Lee back to the Argosy Motel and tried to get Mr Lee’s bike into the car without success and that after that he drove Mr Lee to Torquay Road where he dropped him off. He said that at the time he dropped Mr Lee off Mr Lee still had the third package of marijuana. Mr Norris said Mr Lee did not give him the money that he had expected to receive. Mr Norris said he then went back to the Argosy and had a drink with another person and that he waited there for around three quarters of an hour for Mr Lee to turn up with either his money or to get a lift to Sheffield (or both). However, he said Mr Lee did not arrive. Mr Norris said he then left the Argosy Motel and returned to Sheffield arriving just before 10.00pm. Oddly, Mr Norris said that upon arriving home he showed his partner approximately $600 in cash to give her the impression this was his payment from Mr Lee (which he had of course not received).

46. His partner confirmed aspects of this account including been shown an amount of cash (which she thought was near to $1000).

47. During this aspect of the investigation Mr Norris’ other vehicle, a silver Toyota Tercel, which he had owned at December 2004 was seized and forensically examined. Nothing came to light as a result of that forensic examination.

48. Although Mr Norris’ version of events changed between January 2005 and May 2006 no additional information came to light which would assist in determining how, when and where Mr Lee died. On 2 June 2006 Mr Norris was found dead, as a result of suicide, in his car at Great Lake. He left two notes in which he denied, in emphatic terms, any involvement in, or knowledge of, the death or disappearance of Mr Lee.

49. Obviously, Mr Norris’ changed version of events alters the likely circumstances in which Mr Lee disappeared. If Mr Norris’ second account is correct (and his death means that the reliability of the second account cannot be tested although logic suggests that he is more likely to have been telling the truth on the second occasion), then clearly both he and Mr Lee were involved in criminal activity in the immediate lead up to Mr Lee’s disappearance. Be that as it may, there is no evidence to suggest that Mr Lee was killed by Mr Norris. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Norris had any reason to kill Mr Lee. The forensic evidence from both Mr Norris’ vehicles does not in any way support the suggestion that Mr Lee was killed or transported deceased in either vehicle. Whilst it may be that Mr Lee’s death had something to do with the criminal activity that he and Mr Norris were engaged in on the night of 19 December 2004, the circumstances are such with no forensic evidence, no body having been discovered and Mr Norris himself being dead that the investigation in this regard cannot be taken any further as things presently stand. Marc Robert "Duck" O'Donahue

50. Marc Robert O’Donahue (known as “Duck”) became a person of interest as a result of the report to police made by Ms Allison Jayne Bell, referred to earlier in this finding. Ms Bell who was as at December 2004 the manager of Just Jeans, a retail store located in Wilson Street Burnie, said that sometime between 1.00pm and 2.00pm on 22 December 2004 she was sitting at the front of the store when someone she identified as Mr Lee walked past “with a ‘biker’ looking bloke a few steps ahead”. She told police that she thought the “biker looking bloke” was a past president of the Devil’s Henchmen Motor Cycle Club. Police prepared photo boards and Ms Bell, along with two other ladies she identified as having been present with her at the relevant time, identified Mr O’Donahue as the biker that had been seen in Burnie. Other evidence indicates that Mr O’Donahue (who died in April 2015) was a former member of the Devil’s Henchmen OMCG.

51. As a result of the report and subsequent identification, Mr O’Donahue’s possible involvement in Mr Lee’s disappearance was extensively investigated. His property was searched and he was interviewed. He told investigators that he knew a man called “Legs” (a nickname by which Mr Lee was apparently known) by reason of mutual participation in an eight-ball competition. Mr O’Donahue denied any involvement with Mr Lee’s disappearance and said he could not recall being in Burnie at either the Beach Hotel or in Wilson Street with anyone who looked like Mr Lee (or Mr Lee himself) just before Christmas.

52. I am far from satisfied that Mr O’Donahue was with Mr Lee in either Wilson Street or the Beach Hotel Burnie on 22 December 2004 for the reasons I have already identified earlier in this finding. No other evidence emerged as a result of the investigation which would suggest that Mr O’Donahue in any way was involved in Mr Lee’s disappearance. Despite an extensive investigation, no evidence of any contact between Mr O’Donahue and Mr Lee was found. No reason, at all, for Mr O’Donahue to be involved in Mr Lee’s disappearance was found. No reason, at all, for Mr O’Donahue to kill Mr Lee was found. I am quite satisfied that he had no role to play in Mr Lee’s disappearance and death.


53. I am satisfied to the requisite legal standard that Mr Lee is dead. The evidence satisfies me he was still alive in the evening of 19 December 2004. He must have died either later on that date or at some subsequent, unidentified date. I am satisfied he is dead for all the reasons set out earlier in this finding, namely that there is absolutely no record of his being alive in this country and because there has been no sign or sighting of him since just before Christmas 2004. Further, and more importantly, I consider it a certainty that, had he been alive at any time after his disappearance, he would have made at least some contact with a member of his family. I consider it more likely than not that Mr Lee died in Tasmania essentially because there is no evidence at all that he left the state. Finally, whilst I consider it likely that Mr Jeffrey Maxwell Norris had more information as to Mr Lee’s disappearance, Mr Norris’ death means that information died with him.

54. Ultimately though, what became of Mr Lee after his disappearance from the Devonport area well over a decade ago is a question that cannot be answered. In short, the evidence does not allow a conclusion as to when, where or how Mr Lee died. Comments and Recommendations:

55. The circumstances of Mr Lee’s death are not such as to require me to make any comments or recommendations pursuant to Section 28 of the Coroners Act 1995.

56. I convey my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Lester William Lee.

Dated 19 July 2018

at Hobart in the State of Tasmania.

Simon Cooper




Date published: Thursday, November 17, 2005.
Missing link?

POLICE investigating the disappearance of a Devonport man early this month have not ruled out a possible link with another mystery disappearance almost 12 months ago.

Both men were last seen in Tarleton St, East Devonport.

Police hold grave fears for David John Sushames, 44, who was last seen walking in Tarleton St about 1pm on November 1.

North Motton man Lester Lee, 41, was last seen on the corner of Tarleton St and Torquay Rd on December 19 last year.

Devonport CIB Acting Detective Inspector Peter Powell said the men shared similar characteristics although there was nothing at this stage to suggest they knew each other.

"Both men are of similar age, and are both single living men who were both last seen in the same area," Det-Insp Powell said.

"But ... in looking at their backgrounds there's nothing to suggest the two men are linked in any way. It's just a bit of a coincidence, I think."

Police have exhausted all leads in the search for Mr Sushames, who has not accessed his bank account or used his mobile phone since the day of his disappearance.

"There's nothing to suggest there has been foul play but there's also no reason he would disappear like this his family say it's totally out of character," Inspector Powell said.

"We're fairly worried about him and obviously his family are very concerned."

Mr Sushames lives alone in Devonport, does not work and shares joint custody of two children with his estranged wife.

He is due to appear in the Devonport Magistrate Court next January on drug-related charges. Police do not believe the charges relate to Mr Sushames' disappearance.

Lester Lee remains an active entry on the police missing person's list.

Anyone with information can contact Devonport CIB on 64217537 or Crimestoppers on 1800005555.

Date published: Friday, November 25, 2005.
Police act on sightings

POLICE will set up a mobile station at Railton on Tuesday as they continue their hunt for missing man David John Sushames.

Police are investigating a range of reported sightings of the 44-year-old Devonport man, last seen on Melbourne Cup Day.

They said yesterday they were keen to talk to anyone who saw him in Morris Avenue, Devonport; Tarleton St, East Devonport, on the afternoon of November 1; or the Railton area on the afternoon of November 1.

"There was some indication he was going to Railton," Inspector Matt McCreadie said yesterday.

"We can't find who, if anyone, he was going to see."

He said police would set up a mobile station at Railton on Tuesday in the hope of "sparking up the interest of anyone who may have seen him".

Mr Sushames was last seen in Tarleton St on November 1.

He is described as being of slim build, 177cm, with a fair complexion, blue eyes, a short beard and receding brown, shoulder-length hair.

Inspector McCreadie said the disappearances of Mr Sushames and North Motton man Lester Lee were being treated as separate.

"There appears to be no link as far as we can see to Lester Lee."

Mr Lee was last seen on the corner of Tarleton St and Torquay Rd last December.

Mr Sushames was facing drug charges, relating to amphetamines.

Inspector McCreadie said he did not know of Mr Lee having any drug involvement.

He said he would not suggest either man's disappearance was drug related.

Unconfirmed sightings of Mr Sushames in Hobart had been largely discounted, he said.

Date published: Wednesday, December 28, 2005.
Search for new clues

DEVONPORT CIB is reviewing its investigations into two North-West disappearances, as officers seek answers on the fate of Lester Lee and David Sushames.

They are looking for anything they might have overlooked or which provides a new clue.

Mr Lee, of North Motton, was last seen in the Tarleton St area at East Devonport on December 19, 2004.

Mr Sushames, of East Devonport, was last seen in Tarleton St on November 1 this year.

"We are still expending a lot of time on both cases," Inspector Matt McCreadie said yesterday.

"We are still treating both with priority and putting a lot of time in investigating all aspects of both."

Inspector McCreadie said police had investigated several unpleasant rumours about what happened to the men and regarded them as improbable.

He asked people to provide any genuine information and not to "be taken with some of the more outlandish rumours".

He said police were still treating the two disappearances as separate, but were looking for any possible links.

There was talk Mr Sushames had been going to Railton on November 1.

Police subsequently placed a mobile station at the town, but turned up nothing.

Inspector McCreadie said police were keen to hear from anyone who knew if Mr Sushames was there that day and anything about his movements or who he might have met.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Devonport police on 64217511

New look at East Devonport man's disappearance

A CORONER will look into an eight-year-old East Devonport disappearance.

Lester Lee was last seen at the corner of Tarleton St and Torquay Rd on December 19, 2004.

A file on the case was sent to the coroner's office earlier this year, police said yesterday.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to follow inquiries into the disappearance of 35-year- old Latrobe man Andrew John Jarman.

A date for a coronial investigation into Mr Lee's disappearance was yet to be set, according to the coroner's office.

Mr Lee was dropped off at the corner by a friend.

The friend came back later, as arranged, but Mr Lee was not to be seen.

There was some thought he may have drowned in the Mersey River, but divers did not find him.

Nearly a year later, on November 1, 2005, another man went missing from East Devonport.

David Sushames was last seen walking on Tarleton St.

Both disappearances sparked extensive police investigations.

Police are yet to send a file on Mr Sushames' case to the coroner's office.

Some other high- profile missing persons cases - including those of Burnie woman Helen Munnings and Paradise man Nicola Sallese - have been investigated by coroners in recent times.

Mystery remains over death of North Motton man Lester Lee

A MAN who went missing in 2004 was on a drug run on the last night he was seen alive, a Tasmanian coroner has found.

A NORTH-WEST man who went missing in 2004 was on a drug run on the last night he was seen alive, a coroner has found.

Lester William Lee, 42, was last seen in East Devonport on December 19 with Sheffield man Jeffrey Maxwell Norris.

Mr Lee, who was known as Legs, was involved in three sexual relationships at the time of his death.

Coroner Simon Cooper investigated foul play, suicide and accidental death as part of his investigation but said the evidence could not allow a conclusion.

Mr Norris committed suicide at the Great Lake on June 2, 2006, leaving two suicide notes in which he denied any involvement in Mr Lee’s death. Mr Cooper said it was likely that Mr Lee died late on December 19.

“Finally, while I consider it likely that Mr Jeffrey Norris had more information as to Mr Lee’s disappearance, Mr Norris’s death means that information died with him,” he said.

The investigation revealed that Mr Norris lied to police.

He told police that he had last seen Mr Lee at 8pm at the Argosy Hotel in East Devonport and that after travelling to Devonport and back he had then driven home to Sheffield about 9.30pm.

However, in a second interview on May 24, 2006, Mr Norris revealed that he and Mr Lee went on a drug run.

“Mr Norris’s new account involved he and Mr Lee driving to the weigh station at Parramatta Creek and Mr Lee taking possession of three packages, each containing a pound of marijuana.”

The marijuana was delivered to two hotels in the Devonport area and Mr Norris had expected payment of a couple of hundred dollars for using his car. He said that when he last saw Mr Lee he still had a bag of marijuana.

“Mr Norris said Mr Lee did not give him the money he had expected to receive,” the findings said.

“Oddly Mr Norris said that upon arriving home he showed his partner approximately $600 in cash to give her the impression this was her payment from Mr Lee — his partner thought it was nearer to $1000.”

But Mr Cooper said there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Lee was killed by Mr Norris despite the pair clearly being involved in criminal activity.

He said that there had been no forensic evidence of foul play found in Mr Norris’s vehicle and no body.

“I am satisfied to the requisite legal standard that Mr Lee is dead,” Mr Cooper said.

“The evidence satisfies me he was still alive in the evening of 19 December 2004.

“He must have died either later on that date or at some subsequent, unidentified date.

“Ultimately though, what became of Mr Lee after his disappearance from the Devonport area well over a decade ago is a question that cannot be answered. In short, the evidence does not allow a conclusion as to when, where or how Mr Lee died.”

The coroner expressed his condolences to Mr Lee’s family and loved ones.

For 24/7 support, call Lifeline 131 114 or the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467