William Tyrrell’s paternal biological grandmother has spoken to news.com.au. Picture: Supplied
William Tyrrell’s paternal biological grandmother has spoken to news.com.au. Picture: Supplied

Stunning revelations in William Tyrrell case

STUNNING new revelations about the day William Tyrrell disappeared have been exposed as the grandmother in the nation's most baffling missing child case speaks out.

In an exclusive interview, Natalie Collins has taken news.com.au through the lead-up to William's kidnapping and what happened on the morning before he was abducted.

William's abduction on September 12, 2014 sparked one of the biggest manhunts in Australian history.

Natalie said a last-minute change to William's plans was made which placed him at the house from where he was abducted.

William Tyrrell in his iconic Spider-Man suit, which his real grandmother has revealed why she dislikes seeing he beloved grandson pictured in it.
William Tyrrell in his iconic Spider-Man suit, which his real grandmother has revealed why she dislikes seeing he beloved grandson pictured in it.

She also revealed William's very close relationship with his biological father, even after the boy was removed from her son's care.

On the last occasion Brendan Collins and William's mother Karlie Tyrrell saw their son, the three-year-old clung to Brendan and cried "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, I love you," Natalie told news.com.au.

She has divulged further details about how and why William was taken from his birth parents, and what has transpired since.

Little William would be seven in June.
Little William would be seven in June.

She also revealed why she doesn't like the iconic Spider-Man suit worn by William, who will turn seven years old in June this year if he is still alive.

She spoke with news.com.au in a bid to get her now troubled son Brendan proper drug rehabilitation and mental health counselling.

While she detected a glimmer of the old Brendan recently, she said: "He doesn't even know what day it is. He's too far gone on drugs."

She said despair over William's disappearance and use of the drug ice had him "raging alone in his bedroom".

"He started calling me a sl*t when really he is a sweet person, and no dummy. He just needs help, can someone please help us?"

Brendan is now in Silverwater prison in Sydney's west awaiting sentencing on minor charges.

But Natalie said the 35-year-old, who did not drink alcohol or take drugs before William vanished, was in such a state he needed urgent special care.

She said Brendan started "using ice" and had become skinny, disoriented and "hoards kids' clothes and toys" since William's kidnapping.

"He's schizo. He points and talks to himself, does not shut up but he's not getting the treatment he needs," she said.

"He buys presents, has all his key rings hanging off his hat and he hoards clothes and stuff.

"He's never really got over that day [welfare workers] saw him and Karlie at the video store and then took William away.

Natalie Collins reveals what happened the day her grandson went missing and her son’s despair since the kidnap. Picture: Stephen Cooper.
Natalie Collins reveals what happened the day her grandson went missing and her son’s despair since the kidnap. Picture: Stephen Cooper.

"I'd given them bond money to hide out for three months and then they were caught and told me they were taking William away.

"He [Brendan] died that day."

Now Natalie wants Brendan to receive proper rehabilitation, because she is sure her grandson William is dead.

"When it happened, I just knew. I have a feeling with things like this and I knew William was never coming back," she said.

Natalie also said that her son and Karlie Tyrrell could no longer associate with each other because it was too damaging for them both.

The birth parents in one of Australia's most notorious child abduction cases were under "immense pressure".

But even though calls to find William seemed to be fading away, she said the pressure continued for her and all her family.

"A lot of people have made money going on television talking about William and me. I'm still a 'suspect' and the police have yet to sit down and have a proper chat with me and find out what I know.

"I don't want money, I just want help for Brendan. He needs it."

Natalie said that her son - whose drug addiction since William's kidnapping made him look "more like 65" than his real age - was a hardworking teetotaller when he met Karlie.

The two became a couple in 2009. News.com.au cannot reveal other details about the complicated family history due to child protection laws.

Gone in a second: the disappearance of William Tyrrell in September, 2014.
Gone in a second: the disappearance of William Tyrrell in September, 2014.

Brendan was working as a construction excavator in the western Sydney suburb of Granville at the time.

Living with his half brother Mitchell, he was not drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Brendan and Karlie began having domestic disputes and police were called to the home. Mitchell soon moved out of the house.

In June 2011, William was born and the conflict between the pair continued.

Both Brendan and Karlie were ordered to participate in a domestic violence course and to not associate with each other.

But when William was eleven months old, the two were spotted in each other's company at a video store in the northwestern Sydney suburb of Ryde, where Karlie's father lived.

An order by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) to remove William from the couples care "wasn't because Brendan was taking drugs or drinking, he wasn't", Natalie said.

With Natalie's help, Karlie and Brendan hid with William for three months in a granny flat.

When they were discovered, William was taken into foster care with a couple who lived on Sydney's north shore.

Natalie said she, Karlie and Brendan spent around $4500 to try and retain custody of William.

"It cost a fortune, but [FACS] didn't like Karlie or Brendan from the start.

"But for them, William wouldn't be missing now."

This was the foster couple caring for William when he vanished, from the home of the foster mother's own mother.

The details of this arrangement were only revealed late last year, after the NSW Supreme Court overruled FACS and ordered William's family history could be published.

 

NSW Police divers search a dam for missing boy William Tyrrell on day three of the manhunt. Picture: Dan Himbrechts.
NSW Police divers search a dam for missing boy William Tyrrell on day three of the manhunt. Picture: Dan Himbrechts.

 

The exit road near the supposed dead end from where William Tyrrell vanished more than three years ago.
The exit road near the supposed dead end from where William Tyrrell vanished more than three years ago.

 

Declynlee Dixon on his dad Chris's shoulders among families in the ‘Walk 4 William’ to raise awareness about the disappearance. Picture: Nathan Edwards.
Declynlee Dixon on his dad Chris's shoulders among families in the ‘Walk 4 William’ to raise awareness about the disappearance. Picture: Nathan Edwards.

 

The fact William was in foster care when he was abducted was known soon after the incident.

No-one, including Natalie, her son Brendan, Karlie Tyrrell and other members of her family could reveal the facts before the court confirmed that information could be published.

When a non-publication order was lifted, William's status as a foster child in care came as a shock to many Australians.

Natalie said that after William was finally removed from Brendan and Karlie's care, the pair had infrequent visiting rights and could only see him at a public shopping centre near Ryde.

She said that William's foster parents were strict and that the boy "wasn't allowed lollies or chocolates".

"Karlie and Brendan could see William for one hour every seven or eight weeks at the Macquarie Centre," she said.

"The last time they saw him, William yelled 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy' and jumped out of the pram like a kangaroo.

"William loved his dad. There was a real bond."

On the morning he vanished, Natalie said she was later told that plans were changed and that William and another sibling were taken out of child care in Sydney for "a surprise".

"They were taken out of preschool early for a surprise visit ... to the carer grandmother," she told news.com.au.

Karlie Tyrrell when she was pregnant with William in 2011.
Karlie Tyrrell when she was pregnant with William in 2011.

"The person who (took William), is sitting back thinking he got away with it," she said.

"He's reading about Brendan getting into trouble and thinking, 'good, that's not me'." September 12, 2014 was a Friday and it was after 10am that William was in his Spider-Man suit playing on the porch of the house on Benaroon Drive, Kendall as his foster mother and grandmother watched on.

Natalie said she was told that the grandmother went inside for a cup of tea, "and then he was gone".

Police say William began a game, running around the back of the house underneath the balcony to hide.

By 10.30am William's foster mother realised William was missing; neighbours helped in a search for him.

At 11am, the foster mother called the police. The start of many searches for little William, who would become a nationwide story, began.

At 4.30pm police knocked on Karlie and Brendan's door.

"They arrested the pair of them. We were all suspects," Natalie said.

Natalie has had plenty of time to question and agonise over William's disappearance, and suspected murder.

 

Police aerial map of the search area for the disappearance of William Tyrrell. Picture: Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin.
Police aerial map of the search area for the disappearance of William Tyrrell. Picture: Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin.

Thinking about the fact the Kendall house from which William disappeared has been sold makes her anxious.

"If it were me and it had happened up there, I would not have moved anywhere," she said.

There is no suggestion that any member of William's foster or biological family had anything to do with his disappearance, but Natalie feels the burn of people questioning her son's behaviour.

She never liked the Spider-Man suit which has become nationally symbolic of the little boy, believing the dress-up outfit was showy and that her son Brendan had bought William better outfits.

"I hate the Spider-Man outfit."

She said William's foster parents had discarded $2000 in gifts given to William by Karlie and Brendan.

She says the boy's foster parents have enough funds to go on holidays and enjoy themselves, while she is left to consider the demonisation of her own son and family.

She feels the NSW Police are on the "side" of the foster parents, and against her.

She lists a number of things she says they have failed to investigate, and says the case has been marred by "lies and bulls**t".

 

Forensic police dig up a backyard in Bonny Hills, NSW but fail to find a trace of William. Picture: Peter Lorimer.
Forensic police dig up a backyard in Bonny Hills, NSW but fail to find a trace of William. Picture: Peter Lorimer.

They included the carving of the words "William Dad" on a tree near the abduction house and an escape route from the so-called dead end street.

"They are still on their bloody side," she told news.com.au.

"I have not had one detective or policeman come and ask me, not one. Why not?"

In the more than three years since William's abduction, Brendan Collins has become a drug addict and been to jail, spending time in Parklea Correctional Centre.

When he was released from prison, Natalie helped her son, ensuring he went to see doctors and was prescribed medication.

But Brendan fell back into ice.

Natalie believes his friendship with Karlie is no longer viable.

He moved into Karlie's spare room, while she had boyfriends visit the house.

"He was gone for four or five months. He was working but Karlie would go off with friends when he came home.

"He was like a pound puppy with [her kids].

"But he was using ice. He grew a big beard, his teeth were rotten.

"I could see the despair."

 

NSW Public Order and Riot Squad Police searching got William Tyrrell in 2015. Picture: Dan Himbrechts.
NSW Public Order and Riot Squad Police searching got William Tyrrell in 2015. Picture: Dan Himbrechts.

 

 

Declynlee Dixon on his dad Chris's shoulders among families in the ‘Walk 4 William’ to raise awareness about the disappearance. Picture: Nathan Edwards.
Declynlee Dixon on his dad Chris's shoulders among families in the ‘Walk 4 William’ to raise awareness about the disappearance. Picture: Nathan Edwards.

 

Natalie said her son had come back to her place in Sydney's west and also stayed with her mother, but the situation was problematic.

Police arrested him for allegedly raiding letter boxes for credit cards, which she said he never used.

She told police to take him away for mental health care, and he ended up in Mt Druitt Hospital.

"He was arrested for drugs and they let him out [on bail]," she said.

"He was put in Penrith Hospital for an infection through his body, he was so skinny.

"He walked out with pads still on his chest and he was saying to me, 'I've done the crime, I've done some time.'

"He thought he had been in jail and then they arrested him because he didn't show up in court.

"He locked all the windows and broke the toilet. He didn't know where he was."

Brendan Collins' failure to appear saw him arrested and placed in custody, at Silverwater.

Natalie is begging authorities to provide her son with proper help, rehabilitation and a return to "his normal self".

Names of William Tyrrell’s foster parents (above) cannot be revealed because of child protection laws.
Names of William Tyrrell’s foster parents (above) cannot be revealed because of child protection laws.

She says Brendan bottled up his worries and had never really spoken about the fact that his son William had been abducted and was probably dead.

"Sometimes he just rages, (saying) 'my kids need me and I need my kids', louder and louder," she said.

"He puts the little shoes he's got on the mantelpiece in the bedroom.

"It breaks my heart. He started picking up stuff from the street, a broken TV, just rubbish."

But in the last conversation she had with him, from the cells at Surry Hills Police Centre "he sounded normal" and she awaits with trepidation the outcome of his next court appearance.

Natalie said the William Tyrrell case had faded from the news, but it was a reality she thought of every day.

"It's just going on and on now," she said.

"I'm fighting for my grandson and now I'm fighting for my son.

"He's not stupid, he's not a bad person, He just stuffed up."

Anyone with information about William Tyrrell's whereabouts can contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

candace.sutton@news.com.au

A nationwide manhunt has failed to locate William.
A nationwide manhunt has failed to locate William.
She revealed the true story of how William was removed from birth parents, Karlie Tyrrell and her son, Brendan Collins.
She revealed the true story of how William was removed from birth parents, Karlie Tyrrell and her son, Brendan Collins.
William had a ‘strong bond’ with Brendan.
William had a ‘strong bond’ with Brendan.
William’s father Brendan as a boy.
William’s father Brendan as a boy.
Natalie said last minute plans took William to the Benaroon Drive house (above) from which he disappeared.: Lindsay Moller.
Natalie said last minute plans took William to the Benaroon Drive house (above) from which he disappeared.: Lindsay Moller.
William Tyrrell’s birth mother Karlie Tyrrell argued with Brendan when they lived together.
William Tyrrell’s birth mother Karlie Tyrrell argued with Brendan when they lived together.
Judy Wilson was living next door when William Tyrrell vanished and helped in the search. Picture: Lindsay Moller.
Judy Wilson was living next door when William Tyrrell vanished and helped in the search. Picture: Lindsay Moller.
Natalie’s son Brendan Collins has endured despair and addiction since William disappeared.
Natalie’s son Brendan Collins has endured despair and addiction since William disappeared.
William Tyrrell was playing hide and seek with his sister when he vanished in 2014.
William Tyrrell was playing hide and seek with his sister when he vanished in 2014.
Tree in Kendall etched with the words ‘William Dad’ near where the little boy disappeared from.
Tree in Kendall etched with the words ‘William Dad’ near where the little boy disappeared from.
William’s abduction touched people’s hearts.
William’s abduction touched people’s hearts.
William plays around.
William plays around.
The lives of William’s birth family including his mother, Karlie Tyrrell (above) have been blighted by his case.
The lives of William’s birth family including his mother, Karlie Tyrrell (above) have been blighted by his case.
William’s grandmother said she is still fighting for the little boy but believes he is probably dead.
William’s grandmother said she is still fighting for the little boy but believes he is probably dead.
Declynlee Dixon on his dad Chris's shoulders among families in the ‘Walk 4 William’ to raise awareness about the disappearance. Picture: Nathan Edwards.
Declynlee Dixon on his dad Chris's shoulders among families in the ‘Walk 4 William’ to raise awareness about the disappearance. Picture: Nathan Edwards.

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