Inquest into the Death of Richard MILGIN

Inquest into the Death of Richard MILGIN

Delivered on : 18 August 2023

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Jenkin

Recommendations : No

Orders/Rules : Yes

Certificates were issued pursuant to section 47 of the Corners Act 1996 to Mr John Watson and Mr Anthony Watson.

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Mr Richard Milgin (Mr Milgin) was 24-years of age when in late December 1993 or early January 1994, he left the Old Looma Aboriginal Community (Looma), located about 114 km south-east of Derby in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  Mr Milgin has not been seen or heard from since.

When he was last seen, Mr Milgin was in the company of Ms Julie Buck (Ms Buck), with whom he was in a relationship.  In accordance with the traditional Lore and the cultural practices that were followed in the area at the time, this relationship was forbidden.

On 8 December 1994, Ms Buck’s skeletal remains were discovered about two km north-west of Looma.  Following an investigation, a coroner was unable to determine the cause of Ms Buck’s death, and made an open finding as to the manner of her death

Mr Milgin’s mother reported Mr Milgin as missing to police in February 1995, but a police investigation was unable to determine Mr Milgin’s whereabouts.  Between 2016 and 2018, officers from the Cold Case Homicide Squad investigated Mr Milgin’s disappearance and suspected death and interviewed numerous witnesses.

After carefully considering the available evidence, the coroner concluded that it had been established, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Mr Milgin died on a date unknown in early 1994.  As Mr Milgin’s body and/or remains have never been located, the coroner was obliged to find that the cause of Mr Milgin’s death was unascertained.  Further, in the absence of any cogent evidence about his movements after he left Looma, the coroner made an open finding as to the manner of Mr Milgin’s death.

The coroner noted that given the information vacuum surrounding Mr Milgin’s whereabouts after he left Looma, it is quite understandable that numerous theories about what happened to him might be contemplated, including the persistent rumour that he was the subject of traditional punishment because of his relationship with Ms Buck.  As the coroner noted however, a thorough investigation by the Cold Case Homicide Squad had found no compelling evidence of any criminality relating to Mr Milgin’s death and no criminal charges have ever been laid against any person.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Allegations of traditional punishment : Homicide Investigation: Cause of Death - Unascertained

Last updated: 28-Aug-2023

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