Dianne Brimble, 42 – Drug Overdose, Pacific Sky Passenger, September 23, 2002, Time of Death 8:30.
The Victim – Justice Denied – Dianne Brimble, 42, from Brisbane, Australia, a mother of three. Family said before the P & O Cruises’ Pacific Sky cruise, she began having nightmares about it. She was taking the 10 day cruise to Port Vila, the cruise of a lifetime. She saved for two years for it and visits to Noumea and Vanuatu. She’d gone on the cruise with her 12-year-old daughter, sister Alma Wood and niece Kari Ann Wood, and two families she was friends with. Family and friends described her as a very moral person. Night 1, Mrs Brimble had a few rum and cokes with friends and headed to the ship’s disco to dance. She was last seen by staff leaving the club with a number of men, Mark Robin Wilhelm, Dragan Losic, Letterio ( LEO ) Silvestri and Petar Pantic were among the group.
By 8.30am she was found partially dressed in a cabin with four male body builder passengers, part of a group of eight men she had been seen dancing with til 4.20am. She was found dead in the cabin #D182 belonging to the four men only 24 hours after boarding the ship. Years after male DNA was found under her fingernails, a homicide squad has only now taken over the investigation into Dianne’s death.
The Persons Of Interest – The eight men who are persons of interest in the case, were sorted into two cabins. In Cabin #182 was Mark Robin Wilhelm, 33, Letterio “Leo” Silvestri, 41, Ryan Kuchel, 29, and Matthew Graham Slade, 32. They all worked out at the same gymnasium. In Cabin #176 across the corridor from the death cabin mates was Dragan Losic, 45, Sakeleros “Charlie” Kambouris (it is said the camera used to photograph the sex acts belong to him), 43, Luigi Vitale, 41, and Peter Pantic, 29. Character profiles of some of these men, show a changing level of passenger social skills within the cruise industry and passengers’ interpretation of what is ‘acceptable behavior in public places’.
The Persons Of Interest Character Profiles – Dragan Losic, father of three, has 27 convictions and has served two jail sentences, one for 3½ years, for drug offences. When he boarded the Pacific Sky he was on a good behavior bond after pleading guilty in 2001 to possession of 1840 cannabis plants. For Losic’s 2001 cannabis trial, Sakeleros Kambouris wrote the court a character reference, describing Losic as a “devoted father and family man who was trustworthy, reputable and a man of honor”. This summary conflicts with later testimony in the case. Dragan Losic was convicted for break and enter at aged 16, he beat a rape charge at age 18, and was convicted at age 20 for carrying an offensive weapon and convicted a year later for assaulting a police officer.
Mark Robin Wilhelm was fined last year for producing drugs, and has two other minor convictions. He told Kathleen Ann Taylor, the night manager onboard the night Dianne died, that he had never been in trouble before, according to her testimony. This is one of the numerous conflicts in this story. He admits to having and taking ‘Fantasy”, and to throwing over multiple doses on two consecutive days after Dianne died.
Mark Wilhelm, later told police he and another member of the group, Letterio “Leo” Silvestri, had consensual sex with Mrs Brimble after leaving the disco. Silvestri denies it was consensual, insinuating he was sexually assaulted by Dianne while he was passed out on sleeping pills. He was prescribed drugs for psychoneurosis, insomnia and erectile dysfunction before he left on his voyage. Wilhelm told police he later ran naked through the corridor and went to a nearby cabin occupied by four women. When he returned to his cabin Mrs Brimble lay on the floor. He said he checked her pulse, put her into the shower, tried to resuscitate her and then called for medical help.
Luigi Vitale convicted for drug production, assault, possesion of unlicensed firearms. Luigi Vitale’s brother, Robert, manager operator of the nightclub Rise, a weekend “recovery club” in Adelaide’s Light Square, where, police allege, the Rebels motorcycle gang run drug trade and protection, are involved in turf war with Hells Angels. The RISE Forum for the website, has postings about ‘Snorting some ecstasy” have a generally abusive attitude toward women where posts define RISEs Rampant Indecent Sexual Exploits.
Letterio ‘Leo’ Silvestri is no stranger to courts. He was charged with possession of amphetamines on September 12, 2001. He was also convicted of two counts of fraud. He pleaded guilty February 2, 2000 to 16 counts of falsely obtaining social security benefits and was given a four month suspended sentence. He pleaded guilty to trying to buy alcohol with valueless checks and was ordered to complete 80 hours of community service.
In 1997 he was charged in a police raid with aiding and abetting indecent behavior at an Adelaide strip joint. The charges were later thrown out but he continued to work as a strip club promoter. He was summonsed to appear in Adelaide Magistrates Court for illegal possession of a prescription drug. The charges were withdrawn because of a lack of evidence. He was overheard saying “we f—ed her, we kicked her out of bed, and she died.” On record he claimed he was raped as he slept.
Witnesses Say They Planned To Throw Her Overboard – Women in a nearby cabin told police the men had visited their room about 5:00am, shown photographs of Mr Wilhelm having sex with Mrs Brimble and were invited to look at Dianne lying naked on the floor of the cabin. The men offered them a drink of an oily liquid with a pink tinge, they referred to as fantasy.
Allison McKain told the inquest Silvestri said they dressed her and planned to return her to her cabin or throw her overboard. He said, “A few of the boys had got busy with her. They tried to throw her overboard but there was too much traffic.” (note: definition of a “few” is three or more.) It is odd that these men, who claim no wrong doing, would try to throw a dead body overboard.
Other passengers from the cruise said the men implied they earned a living from drugs and bragged about bringing drugs onto the ship. At least one of the men linked to Mrs Brimble’s death also had apparently told passengers a coroner’s report had cleared them of any wrongdoing, and reportedly said the captain of the ship had apologized to them and offered them a free cruise.
Investigation Shows Illegal Drug GHB In Her Bloodstream – Police alleged Mrs Brimble was given the date rape drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate, otherwise known as GBH (GREAT BODILY HARM) or fantasy, before being sexually assaulted. Photos taken in the cabin where she died show the level of the drug in her system was so high it caused her to froth at the mouth. One report says the toxicology showed three times the normal dosage in her system. Counsel assisting the coroner, Ron Hoenig, told the court Mrs Brimble died in “absolutely reprehensible circumstances”. The evidence will clearly show Mrs Brimble was killed,” Mr Hoenig told the court. “(She was) preyed upon by some people, having had administered to her a substance that broke her will or interfered with any ability of her to say yes or no.” The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge continues.
The Coroner’s inquest began March 9, 2006 – At the inquest a fellow passenger, Kellie Davis, came forward and stated she saw Dianne unconscious on the floor of a cruise ship cabin, but it never crossed her mind that she was dying. She did nothing to help the woman, thinking she was only passed out drunk. She tearfully told the coroner’s court that she wanted to help now in anyway she could. Ms Davis and her traveling companions – sister Kellie Davis and friends Natasha McCann and Tanya Power – shared a cabin near to where Brimble’s body was found
Witnesses Testify Of Fear – Davis told the inquest that early on September 24 Mr Kuchel, Mr Losic and Mr Pantic came into the cabin she shared with her sister and two female friends down the corridor. She claimed Mr Losic allegedly offered her a pinkish liquid called fantasy. She said she was scared when Mr Kuchel who she described as quite a “beefy bloke” passed out after drinking it.
It also came out that Mr Wilhelm was running through the corridor wearing nothing but a life jacket and digital photographs of him having sex with Mrs Brimble were shown to the women. Davis said that there was a lot of disgusting comments being made about her size and that she was an older lady. Davis said her companions stuck together and avoided the men for the rest of the trip. She told the inquest they had stuck close to the police officers who came onboard to investigate, and danced with the detectives because the eight persons of interest had tried to intimidate them on the dance floor on the night the police arrived. She said the eight had surrounded the women, “standing aggressively looking at us, watching us”.
Police investigators found a condom wrapper, hydroxy capsule and three small tablets among items in the trash can. After Mrs Brimble was pronounced dead, P&O security staff did not secure the crime scene, allowing the men to remove their belongings from cabin #182, when they were relocated to another cabin, disturbing the crime scene. Silverstri’s belongings removed before NSW Police arrived to investigate included his Viagra, Valium and Travacalm. Dianne Brimble’s cabin was sealed off. The inquest was shocked to hear as Pacific Sky passenger Allison McKain told how Leo Silvestri described as jittery, had spoken to her less than two hours after Mrs Brimble’s death. “The b—– is dead, the f—ing b—- is dead. Some s— went down last night, some top secret s—,” he allegedly told her.
Mr Losic and friend Mark Wilhelm allegedly attempted to force themselves on a woman in another cabin as Mrs Brimble lay dead or dying in their own cabin. Brisbane woman Tanya Power broke down as she recalled trying to move away from the men. Powers Testimony Paints Men As On An Orgy Mission – Ms Power told the court she had awaken the morning of September 24, 2002, with a naked man – another person of interest, Mark Wilhelm – climbing into her Pacific Sky cabin bunk naked without invitation. She said he “kept grabbing her” and she finally “gave him a hug so he would leave me alone”. Ms Power said she asked him three times to get out of her bed but finally left herself, moving to her friend’s empty top bunk. It was while she was there that Mr Losic joined her and tried to kiss her a few times, she said. Asked by Mr Hoenig if she wanted him to be in the bed with her, Ms Power replied: “No.” She tried to “push him away” but he was quite persistent. She broke down when she first viewed photographs from the night, saying: “It makes me look like I have gone along with it.”
About two hours after Brimble died, Mr Silvestri told passenger Allison McKain that a woman had died on his cabin floor.
She told the court yesterday that later in the cruise, Mark Wilhelm had lied to her and said a post-mortem had been conducted on Brimble and found she had died from natural causes. “They actually said they had a formal apology from the captain and that they had been offered a free cruise.
That wasn’t true.” She said that on one evening after Brimble’s death, the men had attended a “fright night party” wearing slashed T-shirts with blood painted on them. “They seemed to take it to the murder extreme,” she said. “In different circumstances, without the death of Mrs Brimble, it may have been appropriate, but with the death of Mrs Brimble I didn’t think it was appropriate at all,” Ms McKain said.
Police Recover Deleted Photos Of Sex Taken With Phone – The court heard the explicit photos of Brimble on the night she died had been recovered from a mobile phone memory stick owned by Mr Kambouris. Detective Senior Constable Victor Rulewski said the images had been deleted from the memory stick and were recovered by police technical experts. The memory stick also contained family shots and shots of children in a family setting, he told the court. Senior Constable Rulewski said Mr Kambouris had told police he worked in juvenile justice in South Australia, “on the corrections side”. “He was working with wayward children,” he said. Counsel assisting coroner Ron Hoenig said an anonymous caller had contacted a police hotline with vital information about Brimble’s death. Mr Hoenig urged the caller to contact the police again, and said that the officers would “guarantee that person anonymity and protection”.
It is important to note at this point, that two of the persons of interest complained to the coroner’s court that they had travel plans canceled in order to be at the inquest and demanded $4000 in compensation for missing their travel.
Cruise Bruise has been contacted by a family member of one of the person’s of interest, and has been contacted by the New South Wales Police. Police in South Australia now have information in which one of the eight men discusses giving fantasy, also known as GBH, to a 40-year-old woman on a cruise ship who later died. South Australian police, who did not wish to comment yesterday, have claimed public interest immunity in regard to the information, which is part of intelligence material and other information held by the state’s police force. Public interest immunity claims that disclosing evidence to other litigants may be damaging to the public interest. South Australian police were withholding intelligence for fear it might harm investigations in that state. Five of the eight men who are considered persons of interest in Mrs Brimble’s death, have criminal records, some for drug-related matters.
Leo Silvestri Testifies – The inquest into Dianne Brimble’s deaths returns with Silvestri and police investigators taking the stand. Silvestri’s testimony regarding Dianne paints a very dim picture of the conditions in the room, and Silvestri’s attitude toward Dianne Brimble. It includes his statement that he went to sleep and Dianne was not in the room, and woke up with her next to him on his bunk, frothing at the mouth. He claims he rejected her in the nightclub, and had no idea how she got into his bed or cabin. He further claims he was told later, that while he was passed out in his bunk, she performed oral sex on him while he was passed out, having “helped herself to him”. Note how this conflicts with the testimony of several passengers that saw Dianne leave the nightclub with Silvestri and Wilhelm and two of their friends. Also note how it conflicts with the testimony given by Mark Wilhelm, who testified that he and Silvestri had “consensual sex” with Dianne. Though frothing at the mouth was likely a sign she was dead, he says he “thought” he felt a pulse. Then says, he rolled her off his bed, onto the floor. Then he and Mark Wilhelm tried to give Dianne CPR, before dragging her into the shower trying to clean her up BEFORE calling for help. Since she was frothing at the mouth, and Silvestri claims he thought he felt a pulse, the delay caused by showering Dianne to clean her up, may have wasted crucial time needed for medical staff to save her life, as well as washing away crucial evidence.
McDonald Family Testifies – Tiffany McDonald age 16 testified that she was about to leave the room with two other teenage girls when four men entered the room through the open door, and then closed the door behind them. The girls’ parents were still at super and they were alone in the cabin. She identified them as Mr Wilhelm, Dragan Losic, Petar Pantic, and “maybe” Leo Silvestri. The men asked the girls’ names and kissed their hands. Tiffany’s mother, Lee-Ann McDonald, testified, she heard a female voice in the room next to hers, where Mrs Brimble was later found dead, saying “Leo”, the nickname for Leo Silvestri. She also testified to hearing allot of yelling and banging noises in the cabin that night, and in the corridors as well. But, she said that she was too scared to investigate. She said the men were very scarey and intimidating and that she feared for her daughters’s safety.
Two Teenagers Testify – The inquest heard testimony from some more passengers. Jessica Kornacki and friend Amy Mudge, age 15 and 16 told the inquest they met the men at a pajama party in the nightclub of the Pacific Sky on the second night of the cruise, about 14 hours after Mrs Brimble was found dead in their cabin. The man named Letterio Peter Silvestri ,and he was wearing only a bath towel wrapped around his waist. He tried to coax the two minors into coming back to his cabin to dance for them, offering cash money, U.S. holidays, perfume, and clothes,. as well he offered the girls cigarettes and alcohol.
Muller Family Testifies – Karli Muller told the court Dragan Losic asked if the girls would go to the disco later and said he and the other men would perform oral sex on them. Karli claims she told them in no uncertain terms to get out.
Karli Muller also asked Mark Wilhelm how get got a black eye, and he responded that he got into a fist fight. He then punched the wall near her head, to show how he responded. She said the girls were scared, and when the coast was clear, they went back to the diningroom and told her mother and father what happened.
Her mother Joanne Muller, testified she complained to the service desk on ship. She was told it was likely an isolated event, and wouldn’t happen again. She also testified that she saw Dianne in the disco with some of the eight men identified as persons of interest, the night she was later found dead. She said in her opinion Dianne was under the influence of something.
Joanne Muller also testified that she heard the voice of woman and several men in the cabin next to hers, the cabin where Dianne Brimble ultimately died, She testified that she heard the woman protesting about 3am, the night Dianne Brimble died, say, ‘I’m not like that and I don’t do that sort of thing.’ This testimony indicates that Dianne Brimble was not a willing participant.
Lauren Muller testified that she had an encounter with Letterio (Leo) Silvestri. She said he gave her unwelcomed kisses her both of her cheeks while she was waiting in the diner queue. At that time she asked him what happened in his room. She says he told her that it was still considered a crime scene, then he laughed, Keven Muller the father, testified he was very upset at the encounter the girls had in their cabin, and said he would never take a cruise again.
Ship’s Magician Testifies To Cover-up – Stephen Bruce Hart, the ship’s magician, who performed magic shows children aboard the Pacific Sky, testified he was told to “shut up” by two different P & O security staff, one he called Stan Westwood, when he wanted to tell what he had seen, related to Dianne Brimble. He danced with Dianne only a few hours before her death in 2002. He said that she did not seem intoxicated, she seemed sober, and that she just “looked happy, having a good time,” He told two security guards and the cruise director on the P&O Pacific Sky, Ms. Georgie Gillings, that he believed there was something suspicious about Brimble’s death.
He also testified when he tried to report what he knew to the cruise director, Georgie Gillings, he was told, “This has gone straight to head office, if the media got hold of this they would have a field day”. Then, he was “physically escorted” back to his cabin and given a lecture. “She said, ‘shut your mouth’ and said ‘you are not to talk to anybody about this, you are to keep a very low profile and you are not to drink for the rest of the cruise,” Mr Hart said.
Hart said two days after the death he was smoking a cigarette on the deck near a group of three men and a woman when a “large gentleman” , he identified as Dragan Losic, approached him, acted agressively, standing chest to chest, and told him to F— off. He identified one of the other three men as Petar Pantic. He said Losic was trying to intimidate him, and said repeatedly to F— off. When Hart said he worked on the ship, Losic left. The woman has been located, and will testify. He spoke with Dianne Brimble friend, Gamu Chard who was from Papuan New Guinea. He says he asked Chard how she had died, and he indicated he didn’t know but told him that Dianne had scratches all over her.
Wilhelm Tries To Avoid Appearance – Also at the inquest, Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge said she was unlikely to find in favor of a submission made by the lawyer for Mr Wilhelm, who is trying to avoid giving evidence on the grounds he may incriminate himself.
Mr Wilhelm’s lawyer, Henry Heuzenroeder, submitted that the coronial proceedings came under the jurisdiction of the federal Crimes at Sea Act, which brought with it an obligation to meet the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. One such requirement was to not require people to give evidence against their will which might tend to incriminate them, Mr Heuzenroeder said.
Jacqueline Milledge found the Crimes at Sea Act did not apply, and she ordered Wilhelm to appear for testimony. However, she can not order him to speak. If Mr Wilhelm refused to give evidence on the grounds of self-incrimination when he appeared, Ms Milledge said she would then consider whether to issue him an immunity certificate. Wilhelm now says he can no longer afford legal counsel.
P&O Night Manager Kathleen Ann Taylor Testifies – P & O night manager Kathleen Ann Taylor, tells the court that the only report she received the night Dianne Brimble died was of Wilhelm running naked in the corridor. She says that is not unusual. She says that kind of thing happens all the time, sometimes she sees naked passengers in public areas 15 or 20 twenty times a night. “If you were to write up every person that was running around naked there would be 15 to 20 (security) log books,”
Taylor also told the inquest one of her security guards, Olsen Va’afusuaga, was caught socialising with passengers while on duty the night Brimble died. She said he told her Brimble was sitting with him and a group of men at the ship’s Starlight Disco. Taylor said Va’afusuaga told her: “Some guy asked her for a massage and she said no, and he swore at her.” The security guard then allegedly told the man that he should not speak to women that way.The security guard allegedly said: “We don’t speak to ladies like that around here.” She further testified that she came into contact with Mark Wilhelm after Dianne’s death and that he was crying and saying what a good person Dianne was and that he was a good person, and that the had never been in trouble. He also told her that he and Silvestri had consensual sex with Dianne, and that he had tried to shave her pubic area. He said it wasn’t until after he got her into the shower that he realized she wasn’t breathing.
She said Mark Wilhelm came to her a second a time, and he was upset that time as well. She says he told her, “I can’t stand it anymore. The passengers are treating me like a murderer. The guys in my group are pissed off because I won’t keep my mouth shut”. He requested to change his statement. She testified further that Mr Wilhelm then told her he had been “fooling around” with Mrs Brimble. Then according to Wilhelm, he left the room and returned a short time later to find Mrs Brimble lying on the floor. He and Mr Silvestri then dragged her into the shower because “she stank”. Kathleen Taylor said after Dianne died, she heard another person of interest, Letterio Silvestri, tell passengers “we f—-d her, kicked her out of bed and she died”.
The Sexist Postcard – The inquest was also shown a P & O promotional postcard, by Brimble family attorney James Stevens, that seemed to send the wrong message to potential male passengers. The front of the postcard pictured a row of bikini clad women with the description “Seamen Wanted”. The back of the postcard said: “More girls, more sun, more fun. There’s nothing else a guy needs to know.” Mark Wilhelm having three cabins during his brief stay on the cruise. Mr Wilhelm was moved to a better cabin shared with one or two companions after he was removed from the death cabin. But, when they began their sexual relationship, Mr Wilhelm was in another bigger, single cabin with free movie channels. P & O denies that he was moved twice ending up in a better cabin. She was disappointed when Wilhelm left the cruise early. Later though, she seemed bitter that Wilhelm had not returned any of her phone calls to him, made after they returned to Australia. She said that she felt like Wilhelm had engaged in their sexual relationship, to “use her for comfort”.
Bobby Jo Vial’s mother Donna Vial also testified. She testified that Mark Wilhelm told her he did have sex with Dianne Brimble. She also testified that Mark Wilhelm did say Dianne had an overdose, he claimed she died after falling out of bed and hitting her head.
Crew Member Melvyn Armitage Testifies – The inquest hears from Crew Member Melvyn Armitage, as to why the crime scene was disturbed. Armtage has spotty memory, his testimony called selective memory by Deputy State Coroner, Jacqueline Milledge, who says, “The things you remember firmly,” she said, “are the things that go in your favor. And the things you don’t remember firmly are important to this inquest.” , as he continually said “I don’t remember.”.
Armitage was the Passenger Services Director on duty the night Dianne Brimble died. He testified he rushed to the scene of the crime when he heard there was a problem in cabin #D182 According to Armitage, the medical team was on the scene when he arrived, and they were working to revive Dianne at that time. He said Silvestri was also on the scene ranting and raving “get the bitch out of my room. That’s my room”. He said he will never forget Silvestri and this behavior that night. He says that It’s an impression he’ll never forget. He was just so arrogant. He also testified another man was pacing the corridor, looking pale and shocked. That man told him “I slept with that lady last night.” The man was identified as Mark Wilhelm. He says he heard the page for Dianne Brimble, placed by her 12 year old daughter, but didn’t know that the woman who had just been pronounced dead on the floor before him, was Dianne Brimble. At the time he was more focused on finding new accomodations for the occupants of the cabin due to the fuss Silvestri was making. I said to the staff captain “I’ve got a situation. Some guy is causing noise and I’ve been told the cabin has to be sealed. There’s three days until we get to Noumea. Can they go in and get their clothes?”
The Chief of security told him the cabin had to be sealed and nobody should be allowed inside. But the decision was uiltimately made by the second in command, Staff Captain who told him the occupants of the cabin could go in, one by one, escorted, to get their personal belongings, but were not to touch any bedsheets towels, or other property not belonging to them.
Armitage says the men only removed clothing and some pills. But his testimony was laced heavily with inability to remember of specify details. He is clear he was not intimidated by Silvestri who he labeled as an animal. But a photo taken of the cabin, wth two men sleeping in the beds, Matthew Slade and Letterio Silvestri, shows a bottle of clear liquid on a nightstand, and Dianne Brimble lying dead or dying on the floor. The bottle of clear liquid was not there when the cabin was sealed off.
Armitage admits he was “negligent” at the crime scene,. It has taken four years for the cruise line, at any level, to admit any negligence in this case. He has also denied trying to avoid police because he knew that he had made a mistake. Armitage did not give a formal statement to police until ten months later. Homicide Detectives Shunned – NSW Water Police shunned an offer by homicide detectives to investigate the death, after they were notified by the vessel ,and told them they were not required, “This is our trip.”, they said, as they claimed jurisdiction. But, when it came out how poorly the investigation was handled by the previously described ” disco dancing investigatiors”, lead by Det Sen Constable Victor Rulewski, deputy state coroner Jacqueline Milledge asked homicide investigators to take over the case in March 2006.
The court has heard how no drug testing was done, witnesses were not interviewed, a door by door investigation was not done, but investigations dance in the disco with female passengers.
Stan Westwood Testifies – The testimony given by Stan Westwood today was extremely graphic, so much so we will not go into the entire testimony here. But Westwood says after the first interview with Mark Wilhelm, and having taken his full statement, Wilhelm reunited with this friends, and apparently wanted to give a second statement, and didn’t want to stay in the same cabin with Silvestri any more. It would seem the new mates had a falling out after Dianne died. Wilhelm requested to be moved to a new cabin.
Earlier testimony outlined the fact that Wilhelm’s friends were angry with him for talking to persons in authority so much. Earlier testimony has also painted a very dim picture of Silvestri. That testimony by Wilhelm said that Silverstri and himself had “consensual sex” with Dianne, which seems to match up with the fact that Silvestri was diagnosed with erectile disfunction and required Viagra, which he had with him on the cruise. Having consensual sex with Dianne was later denied by Silvestri.
The second more shocking statement by Wilhelm gives an entirely different account of how Dianne Brimble died, contradicts the testimony of numerous witnesses, and paints Dianne Brimble as a willing participant, actually initiating sexual intercourse with at least two partners, one in a restroom, and later in a cabin.
Stan Westwood, told the court he knew within 10 minutes of Ms Brimble being pronounced dead that there were suspicious circumstances. He ordered the cabin sealed with a padlock, security breached, and was alarmed to find out that his decision had not been taken seriously. He said that nursing staff found a tablet on the floor when they came to attempt to revived Dianne. Westwood testified Slade told security staff he had taken a cocktail of sleeping pills and muscle relaxants before going to bed in the early hours of September 24, 2002, but awoke to have a cigarette later that morning. “There was a person on the ground but I didn’t take notice who it was, being hungover and quite dazed from the tablets,” he said.
Silvestri Testifies And Hangs Wilhelm Out To Dry On Drug Death – Silvestri testified today, and claims that Dianne Brimble and Mark Wilhelm “shared” some “Fantasy – aka GBH”, known in the U.S, by the DEA as the date rape drug. Silvestri claimed Mr Wilhelm confided in him about their drug-taking after they returned Mrs Brimble to the cabin to try and revive her. Wilhelm denied this in his second written statement, given two days after Dianne died.
Silvestri Testifies Again – Silvestri’s attorney tried an unsuccessful bid to gag his further testimony from the press, saying his client couldn’t get a fair trial. The request for the gag was denied, under the grounds that no trial was pending, at this time, for Silvestri. Silvestri’s testimony was toned down today, as far as comments regarding Dianne Brimble. Silverstri had described the attractive Dianne Brimble as a “dog”, “ugly” and “fat” by his standards.
On that note, Criuse Bruise is shocked at the advertising found under Dianne’s photo on the Sydney Morning Herald. Right directly below her photo are three distasteful diet ads, that could not possibly be more inappropriate or degrading to an already severely degraded Dianne Brimble. The ads were for Jenny Craig, eDiets, and the Atkins Diet plan. The insensitive diet ads while right below her photo, are right beside the statement… “Silvestri, who earned public disgrace in June when it emerged that he told police investigating Mrs Brimble’s death that she was a dog…”
Daniel Wells testifies – P & O Security Officer – September 10, 2006, testimony continued with security officer Daniel Wells testifying. The officer says he had been on the job about 10 months when we saw Mr Losic had placed what appeared to be a tablet on the tongue of Petar Pantic while in the ship’s nightclub a few nights after Mrs Brimble died. He could not verify if the substance was an illegal drug or not. He said he was five metes away and while it ”looked like an ecstasy tablet”, it could have been a Tic-Tac, Smartie or M&M. He made a note of the incident, and reported it to his superior and a New South Wales police officer who was on board to investigate Mrs Brimble’s death. Wells said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that he passed the information to both night manager Anne Taylor and Senior Constable Ozen. Sen-Constable Ozen’s identity is still under suppression by the court but Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge yesterday told lawyers representing him that that situation would not last much longer.
Counsel assisting the inquest, Ron Hoenig, said a report provided by a psychiatrist was “not sufficient to excuse him” from attending court and giving evidence. He also said he had to single out Mr Losic and another man of interest, Leo Silvestri, for bad behavior on the first night of the cruise. He says Losic was on the dance floor, with no shirt on and was bumping into people. After he spoke to him, Losic sat down and using both hands, flipped him the bird. “He sat back in his chair, raised both his [middle] fingers and told me to ‘get f—–‘
He then asked Losic and another man, Mark Wilhelm, to go outside on the deck where Mr Wells said he told Losic: “Big fella, you’re not off to a good start. This is only the first night of the cruise and we’re having problems.” He also told the court he later saw Leo Silvestri dancing on a back deck of the ship wearing a life jacket. He told him to remove the safety equipment, and he complied.
Ryan Kuchel Testifies – Ryan Kuchel, a person of interest, testifies again. He says he meant Dianne in the disco. She wanted to dance, and he says he was pretty “tanked” by then, and just wanted to go back to the cabin to sleep. Kuchel said he awoke during the night after hearing a man and a woman having sex in the bed above him. He said he left the room, chatted with some other passengers and fell asleep in the corridor, returning to his cabin later in the morning. When he returned, a doctor was in the room attending to Dianne, who he says he did not recognize, and he was told to leave the room at that time. Kuchel admits lying to police during the initial investigation and indicated he lied because Wilhelm asked him to lie. In the initial interview, he told police he and his friends thought she had died of a heart attack, and some of them were anxious about rumours that were circulating on the ship about her death. He says that statement was not truthful.
It becomes clear Kuchel can’t keep his stories straight. On Tuesday he testified he heard Mrs Brimble say “I’ll try some” when offered the drug by Mr Wilhelm. But, the next day, he flips and says Wilhelm was “a bit of a deviant” and admitted “it’s possible” Mrs Brimble was given the drug fantasy without her knowledge. Wednesday Kuchel said he did not see or hear Mrs Brimble respond to Mr Wilhelm’s offer of fantasy on board the P&O cruise ship Pacific Sky on September 24, 2002. “I did not hear a response,” he said.
He was reinterviewed in May 2006. Neither then or in 2003 did Kuchel mention he knew Mrs Brimble had taken the date-rape drug Fantasy, supplied to her by his friend Mark Wilhelm. Kuchel said that Wilhelm had the kind of extreme personality that would allow him to do anything, including suicide. Ryan Kuchel, completed his evidence after admitting “it’s possible” Mrs Brimble was given the date-rape drug fantasy without her knowledge. Kuchel told the inquest he had discussed the events of the incident with another man of interest in the case, Leo Silvestri, as well as Mr Wilhelm before Silvestri gave evidence in court. Kuchel said Mr Wilhelm didn’t mind if people knew he had taken ecstasy tablets onto the ship, but did not want anyone to know he had used fantasy.
Petar Pantic Tesifies – Mr Pantic, represented by veteran Victorian QC Peter Hayesa former is a former Adelaide nightclub bouncer, security guard and martial arts expert. He spent almost two days in the witness box at Sydney’s Glebe Coroner’s Court. Panic said, “I don’t recall” more than 50 times in less than two hours of evidence at the inquest into her death. He was giving evidence under protection of a certificate, ensuring this evidence cannot be used to prosecute him of any offence later. Pantic told the court he was “pretty disappointed” that Wilhelm’s action had landed him and his friend in the middle of the controversy.
September 14, 2006, Pantic says he was the first to realize that Dianne was in trouble. He says he saw Dianne and Whilhelm having sex, but denied photographing them. Kuchel says that Panic took the photographs. Pantic says he was embarrased for both Dianne and Mark Wilhem, when he walked into the cabin and saw them naked in bed “Mark met her for a total of five minutes or ten minutes and he was in bed with her – plus Mark had a girlfriend,” he told the Glebe’s Coronerc’s Court.
He also claimed that Mrs Brimble had “belittled” Mark Wilhelm after sleeping with him, saying he was “the worst sexual partner she had ever had”. Clearly the gloves are off with these two cabin mates.This was heard after she had sex with Wilhelm by Silvestri, who has testified befoe he was asleep the entire time Dianne was in the cabin, until he and Wilhelm tried to revive Dianne lying the floor not moving, when Wilhelm woke him up. While the medical team tried to revive Dianne, Silvestri hooked up with Ryan Kuchel in the pizza bar. Kuchel then told Silvestri he heard Mr Wilhelm offer the GHB to Mrs Brimble and she accepted. According to Mr Silvestri, Mr Kuchel said Mrs Brimble had asked “What is that” “Mark replied ‘it is fantasy’,” Mr Silvestri said.
“Dianne asked ‘what does it do to you?’ “Mark replied ‘have you ever been horny? This will make you 10 times hornier. It’s like ecstasy.’ “Mark then asked if she would like some and she replied ‘yes’. Silvestri denies giving Dianne any drugs, and said he wasn’t aware the others had illegal drugs onboard, until after Dianne’s death. He further said the only drugs he had with him at the time were Viagra, valium, sleeping pills, and tablets to aid in body building. “I said to Mark, ‘what the bloody hell are you doing’ because I knew he had a lovely girlfriend at that stage,” Mr Pantic said.
When Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge suggested to Mr Pantic that “Mark’s behaviour was not up to scratch”, he replied “and that did not reflect well on us”. He says he viewed a photograph of Dianne laying on the floor naked, having defecated, after having sex with Wilhelm, and knew something was wrong. He told Wilhelm to check her pulse to see if she was ok, because she was Wilhelm’s guest. Wilhelm couldn’t find a pulse. Then, “I said: ‘Mate, I think you should get a doctor or something. It is not my problem’,” Mr Pantic said. But, more than an hour passed before Mr Wilhelm made the call.
Pantic says, “I received mail threats through the post. I received threats from people in the street, who said that, “you should be in jail, you should all die’,” he said.
The lawyer for Dianne Brimble’s family, James Stevens, rose late today to reveal Petar Pantic requested a meeting with the Brisbane woman’s sister and mother. He told the court, “He said he was very sorry that he didn’t do more… wished Alma and Betty all the best for the future… very sorry for what they’d been through.”
Dragan Losic Tesifies Again – September 14, 2006 Losic testifies again. Losic told the coronial inquest into Dianne Brimble’s death that he had met the Brisbane mother of three at the ship’s disco bar while getting a drink at about 3.30am on the morning after the ship sailed. He talked to her for about five minutes then went back to sit down with members of his group. About 10 or 15 minutes later, “She approached us and asked if she could could join our circle and if she could sit next to me,” he said.
Losic, who in 1979 was tried and acquitted of rape, said he did not buy her any drinks.
Previous witnesses have told the inquest Mr Losic offered them fantasy on the morning Brimble died. Passenger Tanya Power said Mr Losic had entered her room and made unwelcome advances, including trying to hug and kiss her.
The Inquest Resumes – November 6, 2006 – Yesterday, in Brisbane, Mrs Brimble’s family and legal representative made a public appeal for South Australian and NSW police to provide any outstanding documentation. They claimed the SA police had withheld information from the inquest, a claim a police spokeswoman strongly denies.
They say SA Police Commissioner Mal Hyde – on behalf of the force – should go further.
He should either write, call or organise to meet personally with members of the Brimble family to satisfy them that there is not a shred of evidence left in the possession of the SA police force that may assist in discovering the full story behind Dianne Brimble’s death. The family says they have lived with the pain of her high-profile death for long enough and deserves a non-ambiguous final closure.
Jocelyn Greenway – Four fellow passengers – Roger and Jocelyn Greenway and Luciano and Glenda Leonarduzzi – are due to give evidence about what they saw in cabin D182 aboard the Pacific Sky.
Counsel – Charissa Loukas, told Mr Losic that Mrs Greenway had described in a statement how she walked past the cabin’s open door between 5.30am and 6.30am on the morning Mrs Brimble’s body was found and saw several naked men inside. “What she saw was that the carpet in the hallway there was wet and that it stunk,” Ms Loukas said. She saw that the room appeared to be full of naked bodies. This is the first indiction that there may have been a gang rape of the dying Dianne Brimble. Mr Losic said he had been on the top deck of the ship watching the sunrise with a group of people from about 5am until 6 or 6.30am. Losic, was repeatedly pressed by Deputy NSW State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge on the issues of his past conflicting evidence, and his lack of solid facts and vagueness. She said, “He’s got to be more specific.”
Ms Milledge forced Losic to sit in silence for ten minutes while he thought about why he had given varied accounts to the inquest. Jocelyn Greenway told the inquest into Mrs Brimble’s death of her distress at seeing a group of naked people inside the Pacific Sky cabin just hours before. She told the inquest she had been staying three doors from the cabin where Mrs Brimble died. Her testimony paints a foul picture of a pack of men behaving like wild animals instead of humans.
Mrs Greenway said passengers in her group were awaken by party noises. One of those in her party walked down the hall to investigate, walked past the cabin, D182, about 5.30am or 6am. The person came back, and got the rest to come see the scene in D182. She went down the hall with her travelling companions Luciano and Glenda Leonarduzzi and was horrified by what they saw through the open doorway. “There was just a heap of people in there.” She only glanced at the room for three seconds because she was distressed scenes inside, including a naked man on his knees with his bottom sticking up, his genitals clearly visible. Three or more naked people on the cabin floor as others lay in bunk beds. Mrs Greenway, a Queensland-based real estate agent, said she and Mrs Leonarduzzi tried to alert a P&O staff member, but the man “didn’t want to know”. Mrs Greenway also told of how, while standing outside the cabin in her pyjamas, she stepped in what she believed was carpet soaked with urine. She said the carpet in the hallway outside the men’s cabin door had a horrible smell. She said it smelled like urine.
Around 7am, Mrs Greenway, her husband Roger and the Leonarduzzis walked along the corridor again and saw two “rough looking” men dressed only in shorts standing inside cabin 182. One of the men was Mark Wilhelm, one of eight men of interest to the inquest and who was photographed having sex with Mrs Brimble in the cabin. She noticed Mr Wilhelm had a black eye and red marks, which she believed were scratches, on his cheeks. “I said to the man (Mr Wilhelm) it looked like he had enjoyed himself last night because of the black eye and scratches on his face,” At breakfast that morning, the couples heard Dianne Brimble being paged over the ship’s intercom and then a “code blue” alert shortly after. Returning to their cabin after breakfast, the couples noticed a security guard outside cabin 182 and a padlock on its door. None of the four told any other ship staff or police, who later arrived on board to investigate Mrs Brimble’s death, about what they had witnessed inside cabin 182. “I guess you don’t want to get involved and we thought if the police interviewed us we would tell them what we knew,” she said. “I didn’t want to make a nuisance of myself.”
November 15, 2006 – Sterin Gollan Testifies – Sterin Gollan today told Glebe Coroner’s Court she was propositioned by Mark Wilhelm as she stood outside an open cabin on the Pacific Sky.
Ms Gollan said she and a friend were heading up to breakfast on the morning of September 24 when they came across a cabin with an open door. Gollan said she saw eight people in the cabin, some of them naked, and two were on the floor. Then, Mr Wilhelm “picked up his penis and said: ‘Would you like some of this?’ ” A senior NSW detective has been ordered to give evidence at the inquest into the cruise ship death of Dianne Brimble, amid unprecedented steps by police to keep key evidence secret.
Deputy state coroner Jacqueline Milledge on Monday rejected claims by Detective Senior Constable Erdinc Ozen, one of the first officers assigned to investigate Mrs Brimble’s death, that he was medically unfit to face Glebe Coroner’s Court. Her order for him to appear on Friday came amid revelations that NSW and South Australian police want to keep secret a box of evidence about Mrs Brimble’s death aboard a P&O cruise ship in 2002.
A NEW witness in the Dianne Brimble cruise death case has come forward with “valuable” information. Counsel assisting the inquest into the Queensland mother’s death, Ron Hoenig, told Glebe Coroner’s Court today that the person had contacted the legal team yesterday.
A solicitor and a police officer would have an urgent meeting next week with the witness, who had provided “some very valuable information”, he said. “People are coming forward all the time in order to provide valuable information,” Mr Hoenig said.
P&O identified a group of former staff who might provide new evidence. The names of four Pacific Sky staff had been provided to the inquest, with the possibility of more later.
Roger Greenway Testifies – Roger Greenway confirms the statements made by his wife, that the cabin Dianne Brimble died in was full of naked bodies, with the cabin door wide open. He says he just expected that police would interview him onboard, but that they never did. He says he was first interviewed by police in July 2006, nearly four years after the incident. – New South Wales Detective Sen-Constable Erdinc Ozen – Meanwhile, a senior detective has been ordered to appear at the inquest into Ms Brimble’s death, despite claims he is too ill to come to court.
Sen-Constable Ozen, the dancing detective, was criticised for dancing with potential witnesses on board the ship before interviewing them, has been on sick leave from the NSW Police since around the time the inquest began. Details about his illness are suppressed.
Deputy state coroner Jacqueline Milledge rejected NSW Det Sen-Constable Erdinc Ozen’s request to be excused from giving evidence at Glebe Coroner’s Court because of a medical condition. She said as the original officer in charge of the investigation into Mrs Brimble’s death, his cross-examination was in the public interest. “He was absolutely crucial in the investigation,” she said.
Counsel assisting the NSW police, Michael Spartalis, argued the detective’s condition was serious and could be exacerbated if he was forced to appear in person to give evidence Her decision has sparked moves by NSW police to consider taking the matter to the NSW Supreme Court. Det Snr Const Ozen’s lawyer has written to Ms Milledge urging her to allow his client to give his evidence behind closed doors.
Mrs Brimble’s family have complained that a 52-page statement by the detective had not yet been tendered at the inquest and expressed concerns about a possible police cover-up.
The inquest has previously been told Det Snr Const Ozen was photographed posing with P&O staff enjoying a drink while he was aboard the Pacific Sky, investigating Mrs Brimbles’ death.
November 15, 2006 – Kathleen Ann Taylor, night manager on the P&0 cruise ship at the time of Mrs Brimble’s death, denied giving Mark Wilhelm any key to a private cabin. A passenger onboard, said that Wilhelm had a key to a cabin, and he took her there to have sex after Brimble’s death. Taylor suggested that Wilhelm “may” have stolen the cabin key, as the keys are laying inside the cabin on a table, for passengers to pick up once they arrive at their cabin.
Luciano Leonarduzzi testified that Wilhelm’s cabin was a mess and full of naked people when he went by and glanced inside the cabin while the door was open.
Tracey Ann Muscat Testifies – Tracey Ann Muscat today became the second witness to tell the court that she heard a woman’s voice saying “I’m not like that” the night before Mrs Brimble’s body was found. “I heard her saying ‘I’m not like that, I’m not like that,’ ” She saw Mark Wilhem, Dragan Losic, Leo Silvestri and Sakeleros “Charlie” Kambouris in a corridor as she and others made their way to breakfast about 8am on September 24, 2002. It was at breakfast that Ms Muscat heard a coded message over the ship’s public address system. The inquest has been told that the message alerted staff to a medical emergency after Mrs Brimble was found on the floor of a cabin. She said the four were acting suspicously. We all made comments that they looked really suspicious. What were they doing there? She said she had seen a number of men in the corridor who were “trying to see something but didn’t want to be seen.”
Muscat also told the inquest of a conversation another woman had with Mr Losic in which he allegedly said Mrs Brimble had “died sucking my c—“. The woman who had that conversation with Mr Losic had relayed his comments to Ms Muscat’s friend, who in turn told her. She saw Mr Losic and travelling companions Mark Wilhelm and Leo Silvestri in an elevator after Mrs Brimble’s death. “He [Losic] came in and said that someone had stopped him in the corridor and asked him ‘What did you do to her?’ ” Ms Muscat said. “He said ‘I think they think we killed her.’ ” Ms Muscat said she told Mr Losic that was what everyone was saying and “he just laughed me off”.
Forensic Scientist Doctor William Allender Testifies – He estimates the Brisbane woman consumed between seven and 18 grams of the drug, while a recreational user would usually take around two and a half grams.
Some while she was still in the disco earlier that night, and believes she died up to three and a half hours before medical assistance was called. – Early testimony said the medical team arrived around 8am. This would put the time of death at 4:30am to 5:00am. The time frame witnesses said the cabin was full of naked bodies. One witness has said it was 5:00am when Wilhelm showed her a picture of Brimble on the floor naked. The time frame is important, because it means that if she was involved in a sexual act around 3am to 5am, it was definately without her consent, as she would have been suffering from the overdose at that time.
Dr Allender described the effect of GHB and alcohol on Mrs Brimble’s body as similar to a heroin overdose. He has told the court that he believes her chances of surviving without medical assistance were virtually nil.
The inquest will resume on November 30, 2006. A South Australian man, to be known as Mr White, will give evidence amid tight security at the Glebe Coroners Court in Sydney and is also expected to make claims of police corruption.
Ivan Jerman Testifies – Jerman was the staff captain onboard when Dianne was found dead in a cabin belonging to four men. He says he never gave permission for the men to remove personal items from the cabin, and that Melvyn Armitage is wrong to say Jerman told him it was alright.
Although his voice was distorted to protect his identity, the testimony of the most anticipated witness, his identity protected, who is basically named a John Doe, Mr, “White” in the case resonated as he alleged four of the eight “men of interest” were involved in large-scale drug distribution in Adelaide nightclubs.
Mr “White” told Glebe Coroners Court that person of interest Matthew Slade was a drug dealer who had connections to outlaw motorcycle gangs. He alleged Mr Slade, Dragan Losic, Petar Pantic and Mark Wilhelm manufactured ecstasy. “They frequent the clubs in Adelaide, the dance clubs, and they distribute drugs. I have myself purchased drugs from them,” he said.
He said he had seen another person of interest, Ryan Kuchel, affected by ecstasy in clubs.
Mr White said Mr Losic used to give out ecstasy at the Soda Room night club. “I think the Soda Room was owned and operated by police. The manager told me that the club was owned by five police who were there that night and were absolutely off their faces,” he said. He said his knowledge of the alleged drug dealing activity of the men stemmed from time he spent working and socialising in clubs. Dates of the alleged activity spanned a period from 2001 to last year. He told the court the men spent four nights a week at Adelaide clubs, frequenting Heaven, Soda Room, St Pauls and Rise. Rise was owned by Rob Vitale, the brother of person of interest Luigi Vitale, and the Rebels motorcycle gang.
December 20, 2006 – Trickle Down Justice
A NIGHTCLUB owned by the brother of one of the persons of interest in the Dianne Brimble sexual assault case, has closed following a crackdown in the hospitality industry. Rise Nightclub, owned by Rob Vitale, last week handed in its trading licence after police lodged action in the Liquor Licensing Court, citing its operators as “not fit and proper persons”. The nightclub voluntarily offered its licence in pre-trial negotiations, ensuring it did not go to trial. Chief Inspector Ashley Lange, officer in charge of the Licensing Enforcement Branch, said the action was lodged against the nightclub director, several responsible persons and others who were covertly involved in running the venue.
Rob Vitale is the brother of Luigi Vitale – one of the eight men of interest in the Brimble date rape, sexual assault and onboard death case.
February 5, 2007 – Constable Erdinc Ozen Testifies – Detective Senior Constable Erdinc Ozen is set to arrive at the inquest to give his testimony. He has previously been excused from giving evidence on medical grounds.
Erdinc Ozen was sent on board the Pacific Sky cruise ship to investigate the Brisbane woman’s death in 2002. His testimony is expected to reveal new facts.
Detective Senior Constable Erdinc Ozen told the inquest he’d been drinking and socialising with witnesses in the hope they would open up and reveal details about the mothers death.
He said superiors made the decision to send him and the water police to investigate, instead of the homicide team. He also testified that he called P & O and told them to secure the cabin.
He said he was “absolutely” surprised that passenger services director Melvyn Armitage allowed Mr Wilhelm and his cabin-mates to remove their belongings and move to another cabin after Ms Brimble’s death.
He said he had been told of the criminal records and drug use of the four men before he boarded the ship in Noumea.
Constable Ozen told the court that at the time he boarded the ship he didn’t know what fantasy was. He said two witnesses, Lisa and Kelly Davis, made their own inquiries and told him about it.
“They informed me it was a date-rape drug widely used in Adelaide. That was the first time I got an insight into (GHB).”
Constable Ozen told the court he had previously travelled on the Pacific Sky in 2001 when he received a free cruise from P&O in return for providing a police presence on a schoolies’ cruise.
Peter Hawthorne Testifies – Peter Hawthorne, a security officer on the Pacific Sky, said he saw an “extremely intoxicated” Ms Brimble stagger as she and Mr Wilhelm left the ship’s pizzeria together about 4.15am on September 24, 2002.
Mr Hawthorne said it did not occur to him to tell detectives he had seen Ms Brimble intoxicated with Mr Wilhelm.
Robert Cairnduff Testifies – Senior Sergeant Robert Cairnduff told the court yesterday he found Valium prescribed to Letterio Silvestri, one of the eight persons of interest, and a tablet labelled hydroxy cut in the cabin. He was later handed in another sleeping tablet, Temaze, found by doctors in the cabin. Although no semen was found in Mrs Brimble’s genital area, a semen stain was found on her underpants. This was analysed, but could not be matched to any known person. Forensic tests of the body and clothing of Dianne Brimble have revealed DNA of two unknown males. Only Matthew Slade has given police a DNA sample. DNA of a second unknown male had been found under the fingernails of her left hand. Blood samples found in the cabin belonged to her.
A New Witness To Testify – Counsel assisting the coroner, Ron Hoenig, said one passenger would give evidence that she heard a woman’s scream coming from the direction of the cabin that Mr Wilhelm shared with Mr Silvestri, Mr Kuchel and Mr Slade. Mr Hoenig said another witness was expected to tell the court that she heard a man shout “shut up” and a woman say “no” from the cabin. Hoenig told the inquest that Mark Wilhelm and Leo Silvestri’s legal representatives should consider their clients’ position.
The inquest is now adjourned until July, when Wilhelm and three other persons of interest are expected to face questions at the inquest. Addressing the inquest, Hoenig said evidence that Silvestri and Wilhelm showered and dressed the dying woman while she was likely “in cardio-respiratory arrest” could be viewed as an act that constituted murder.
“The definition of murder includes an omission or act with reckless indifference to human life as well as an act or omission with intent to cause grievous bodily harm,” Mr Hoenig said. “It could well be contended that the failure, specifically by Silvestri and Wilhelm, to call medical assistance for whatever reason is an act or omission with reckless indifference to human life, which could constitute murder.” Mr Hoenig said as Wilhelm and Silvestri had allegedly consulted another friend, Petar Pantic, on Brimble’s condition he may be an accessory. Silvestri and Pantic have given evidence but Wilhelm has yet to be called. Their companions Matthew Slade, Charlie Kambouris and Luigi Vitale will also be called in July.
Family Settles Out Of Court – February 22, 2007 – It was announced that the Brimble family, Mark Brimble the ex-spouse of Dianne Brimble, who is looking after her children, and David Mitchell who was her significant other at the time of her death, reached a deal with P & O Cruises in meetings held in Brisbane, Australia, for an out of court settlement. Mr Ratcliffe, a board member of P&O’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, held a press conference to apologise to the family and admit P & O Cruises had contributed to their suffering.
The amount of the settlement was not released to the public. However, it is worthy to note, that the inquest into the death of Dianne Brimble, which is ongoing, had seen in recent weeks, numerous witnesses that testified to the negligence of P & O in handling this case, right from the beginning. Mark Brimble said, “”I think it was the first time in 4½ years that we were able to give some information to the children and close family that was positive, as opposed to every other bit of information which was dreadful to have to share with them,” he said. “We are happy. I was extremely happy from the point of view of being able to pass on some positive information.”
JULY 26, 2007 – The inquest continues with the persons of interest coming forward to testify again. Evidence has presented, in the form of audio tapes, from wire taps, showing some of the persons of interest have been discussing this case in great depth, including who was at fault, and who wasn’t.
On day 66, the inquest has been halted with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) consider laying criminal charges now against three persons of interest. NSW Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge said there was evidence capable of satisfying a jury that “known persons” had committed indictable offences. “And there is a reasonable prospect a jury would convict the known persons in relation to the cause of death of Mrs Brimble,” Milledge said. Counsel assisting the inquest, Ron Hoenig, said there was enough evidence to conclude two unnamed people had committed an indictable offence. Hoenig said possible charges could relate to supplying a person with a drug and not rendering a person assistance.
In the August 2006 taped phone conversation, Mark Wilhelm said: “She actually sh– herself, that tells me it is all over, she was very cold and clammy to touch”.
Testimony has shown, that after that Wilhelm and Silvestri put Brimble in the shower to clean her up, then dressed her, before calling for medical assistance for her. The taped conversation, shows that Wilhelm thought at the time Brimble was near death, and he delayed calling for help.
In other taped converstations, Peter Pantic was thinking about ways to make a buck from the tragedy when he was being secretly recorded by telephone taps last year. “Let’s make some money out of it before they shaft us,” he said. He also suggested setting up a website, before noting a number of media outlets “are making good money out of this at our expense”.
Later, Pantic suggested going to the police, noting the investigation had cost about $3 or $4 million. “We will tell you the truth for a mill,” he said.
August 7, 2007 – Some persons of interest in this case, have taken to battening down the hatches. At Silvestri’s a side gate and carport have now been replaced with a lock-up garage and electronic roller door and high fences surround the property. “We don’t see him much,” one neighbor said.
In a neighboring suburb, Petar Pantic’s red brick home is also highly secure. Roller shutters cover every window remain firmly closed during the week.
January 12, 2008 – There has been an update on this case. Peter Pantic flees Australia.
February 21, 2008 – Police Wire Tap File Released
The audio tape of a phone conversation between a person of interest and another person have been released.
September 11, 2008 – Charges are to filed at long last in the death of Dianne Brimble, with three of the eight bad boys of the seas to face a judge nearly six years after her death.
NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery QC said Mark Robin Wilhelm would be charged with manslaughter and supplying a prohibited drug. His traveling companions Letterio Silvestri and Ryan Kuchel will be charged with perverting the course of justice and hindering the investigation of a serious offence.
Wilhelm’s case will proceed direct to trial in the NSW Supreme Court, with Silvestri and Kuchel to face the District Court.
Cowdery said that jurisdictional issues needed to be settled between his office and the Commonwealth before the charges could be brought. This was because Wilhelm allegedly supplied the drug which led to Mrs Brimble’s death on a British ship in Australian, but not NSW, waters.
December 05, 2008 – Mark Wilhelm plead not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, December 5, 2008 to the manslaughter of cruise ship passenger Dianne Brimble. The court heard 60 witnesses might be called to give evidence. Justice Graham Barr continued Wilhelm’s bail and adjourned the matter to February 6, 2009 when a trial date is expected to be set.
April 30, 2009 – Luigi Vitale was charged with knowingly engaging in money laundering, unlawful possession, possession of prescription drugs and firearms offence, including possessing a prohibited weapon, possess a dangerous article and fail to properly store ammunition. Vitale was arrested after police raided 49 properties across the state relating to the Rebels Motorcycle Club.
Prosecutor Nicholas Wong today told the court a bank statement of Vitale’s showed “various amounts of unexplained wealth of tens of thousands of dollars”. The jury was told they will have to determine if Wilhelm gave Mrs Brimble the GHB and, if so, if it significantly contributed to her death resulting in manslaughter. The seven women and five men jury deliberated for almost five full days before indicating to Justice Roderick Howie that it was hopelessly deadlocked on one of the counts, and unable to reach even a majority verdict on the other.