A former suspect in the disappearance of William Tyrrell claims that police told him they know you did it and tried to turn his wife against him by charging him with historical child sex offences, a court has heard.
William Bill Spedding is suing the State of NSW in the Supreme Court, alleging that detectives pursued an utterly hopeless case against him in part to punish him over their suspicions in the Tyrrell matter.
He claims former lead detective Gary Jubelin hoped that the decades-old abuse case would crack Mr Spedding open and further the Tyrrell investigation.
Mr Spedding is claiming damages for criminal prosecution, wrongful imprisonment and abuse of process in the suit against NSW Police and the director of public prosecutions.
He denies any involvement in William's disappearance and was never charged.
In the aftermath of the investigation, Spedding told the court he had high anxiety, found it hard to concentrate and suffered from low moods.
He said when it was all going on it as quite depressing, very depressing.
Detectives honed in on the white goods repairman soon after William Tyrrell vanished from his foster grandmother's home in Kendall on September 12, 2014.
Mr Spedding, who lived in Bonny Hills, had visited the foster grandmother's house on September 9 to fix a washing machine.
He gave a voluntary interview to the police from Strike Force Roseann, the team investigating William's disappearance, in September 2014 and was released without charge.
His barrister, Adrian Canceri, told the court that the police focused on gathering evidence which inculpated Mr Spedding in the disappearance in the months that passed.
On January 20, 2015, police raided Mr Spedding's home and business before he conducted a six-hour interview at Port Macquarie police station.
Mr Canceri said during the interview that Mr Jubelin leaned into his face and told him, Mr nice washing machine man, I'm going to ruin you. He claims another detective made intimidating comments, including: We know you did it. I'm going to come and arrest you. In April 2015, Mr Spedding was charged with sexually assaulting two children in 1987 after Strike Force Roseann renewed investigations into historical allegations against him.
Mr Canceri said that the allegations had been made by Mr Spedding's opponents in a bitter court battle and police had refused to charge him at the time.
The barrister said key witnesses were totally lacking credibility and that they contained evidence that two children were coaxed into making statements against Mr Spedding, despite the fact that key witnesses were not shown to have any credibility as a result of a review of court documents.
Mr Canceri said prosecutors should have brought the proceedings to a very swift end once the evidence was obtained in 2016.
The case continued for another two years until Mr Spedding was found not guilty of all counts by a judge in 2018.
The criminal proceedings were used as a vehicle to further the investigation of the plaintiff in the disappearance of William Tyrell and punish him for that, Mr Canceri said.