Cheryl and Ian Antonio.
Cheryl and Ian Antonio. Janessa Ekert

Rachel Antonio's secrets revealed at inquest

RACHEL Antonio told her "best friend" Nancy Dibben she'd had sex with Robert Hytch on Flagstaff Hill.

"She didn't like it much and I got the feeling he'd pushed her into it," Ms Dibben told the first day of the second week of the inquest into Rachel Antonio's disappearance.

Ms Dibben didn't tell police everything she knew when first questioned after the 16-year-old disappeared.

She told them about the teenager's secret and sexual relationship with Mr Hytch, who was older, but not, at first, about Rachel's pregnancy "scam".

Ms Dibben said she didn't want to "dob" her friend in and didn't realise how serious the matter was when she first spoke with police. Once she realised Rachel wasn't coming back, she went back to police and gave a further four statements.

"Why would you withhold information," counsel assisting the Coroner John Aberdeen asked.

Nancy Dibben.
Nancy Dibben.

Ms Dibben said she had also seen a note from Robert to Rachel suggesting she perform a sexual act on him as an early birthday present, which had been given to Rachel a week before her birthday.

Barrister for Mr Hytch, Harvey Walters, asked Ms Dibben why she would tell police Rachel was having sex but not about the planned fake pregnancy. "Honestly, I don't know," she said.

Mr Walters asked if Rachel sometimes made things up to get attention.

"I sometimes believed she did, yes," Ms Dibben said.

Rachel had also told Ms Dibben she'd been molested by a family friend but wouldn't be "game" to tell her mother.

The confession was made after Rachel saw a white van drive past when she and Ms Dibben were in the schoolyard.

Rachel told Ms Dibben the van belonged to a family friend who had sexually assaulted her as a child. Another friend (who will give evidence today) also heard Rachel say this, Ms Dibben said.

Mr Walters said the vast majority of the evidence relating to Rachel and Mr Hytch's relationship came from Rachel herself.



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