We are indebted to our lawyer for catching Cowan: Morcombes
THE parents of slain Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe have credited the quiet powerhouse behind the search for answers, for putting Brett Peter Cowan behind bars.
Butler McDermott Lawyers' Peter Boyce was elevated from his Nambour firm and put in the limelight on ABC's Australian Story tonight.
Daniel went missing on December 7, 2003 while waiting for a bus at the Nambour Connection Rd overpass.
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation's first meeting was in May 2003. Mr Boyce, a hard working father of six, came to the second meeting and hasn't left the Morcombe family's side since.
He's been dubbed "the man behind the Morcombes". From lawyer, now to a confidant and close friend.
The program credited Mr Boyce with bringing justice over Daniel's horrific death.
"If Peter hadn't asked for Cowan to be on the coronial and to be questioned, there's no doubt in my mind that Cowan would still be walking free now," Denise Morcombe said in a program interview.
Brett Peter Cowan was jailed for life with a non-parole period of 20 years for killing Daniel Morcombe.
Bruce and Denise told how Mr Boyce insisted he would represent the family, pro bono, after the couple said they planned to represent themselves.
"We're part of our community, we live in it and that's how we run our firm," Mr Boyce said.
"I could see the Morcombe's pain, the hurt, the sense of loss and I thought, well at least I can do something as a lawyer, I couldn't walk away, I wouldn't, it's just not me."
He poured over countless piles of paperwork, putting in hours and hours of work on weekends and nights to get to the bottom of the Morcombe case.
"He put his arms around us and said 'I can help you guys out ' and I think he never in his wildest dreams would have thought we would be where we are today," Bruce Morcombe said.
Denise spoke of Mr Boyce's dedication to the case.
"Peter said 'send me the brief I want to help and I want to be there'," she said.
"Peter was there day and night for months and months reading the police brief and coming up with different questions and different items that should be going on in the coronial.
"He wanted to find the answers just as much as so I wanted it, so it wasn't a matter of us coming up with money for a lawyer we didn't have, Peter Boyce did all this for free he didn't want to take any money at all."
Bruce would meet with pedophiles and take phone calls from unsavoury characters, all in an effort to dig up any clues, no matter how small they may be. He would pass on the information to Mr Boyce and the police.
It was all building up to the inquest- a chance for Mr Boyce to probe the police investigation and in the end, catch Daniel's killer.
Described in the program as a "wrecking ball" to the police investigation into the Morcombe case, Mr Boyce continued to study the persons of interest.
Then there was Cowan, known as codeword P7, the last in a long line of grubby characters to give evidence.
Mr Boyce started picking holes in the alibi.
"We were told it was the biggest police investigation in Queensland's history, but that doesn't mean it was the best," Mr Boyce said.
"We have to make sure they hadn't missed a vital clue- and that's what they did."
The program told how when Cowan took to the witness stand, he glared and smirked at the Morcombes, before saying he didn't kill Daniel. But he did admit he drove past the site twice the same day Daniel disappeared. Mr Boyce dug a little further.
He poked holes in Cowan's albi and as we know Cowan eventually confessed his crimes in a major and elaborate police sting.
Cowan's trial last for about five weeks and In August 2011, Cowan was arrested over Daniel's murder.
Bruce Morcombe's first phone call after hunging up with the then Commissioner Bruce Atkinson, was to Mr Boyce.
"We now have a place to have a prayer, we can have a quiet moment with Daniel, we can leave flowers at his grave and we didn't have that opportunity for almost a decade.
"That's where Peter has made an incredible difference in our lives, and we are indebted to him for that."
MORE MORCOMBES NEWS
- WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET HIM?
- MORCOMBES CONFRONT DANIEL'S KILLER
- VIDEO: THANKS FOR NEVER FORGETTING DANIEL
- RELATED: HOW THE SYSTEM FAILED DANIEL
- DANIEL'S STORY: KEY MOMENTS
When the Daily spoke with Mr Boyce he was a reluctant hero, a humble hard-working family man who credited the closure over Daniel's death to the will of the Morcombe family.
"They've (the Morcombe family) have been to hell and back more times than once, that's a very long journey," Mr Boyce said.
"In my view in the time that I've known them since Daniel's disappearance they are in the best space I've ever seen them.
"The Morcombes taught me lots about life, about how to be more positive and not negative and to soldier-on when these people would be entitled to hide in the corner and say 'look what happened to our son', they haven't done that, they've gone out there and really given it their best."
Daniel's brothers Dean and Bradley also appeared in the program in a rare interview.
"We're lucky enough to call him a close family friend," Dean said.