WHY DID GEORGE DIE?
By RACHEL SCOLLAY and TOBY WALKER
NO-ONE in Nimbin noticed George Morris was missing until their ice-cream supplies started to run low.
Now, after nearly two months, the 50-year-old owner of Pete's Passion ice- cream has been formally identified as one of two bodies burnt in a petrol-fuelled car fire near Whiporie. But the mystery remains of why he and his brother, Peter, died.
Peter Morris, 49, of Taree, was the other occupant of the Ford Laser that was found on March 1 in a deserted section of cleared pine forest in Banyabba State Forest.
Nimbin residents who knew the brothers said they believed they were on their way to Newcastle when they died.
Police forensic investigations have ruled out foul play, leading to speculation the brothers died in a suicide pact. The car had been doused with fuel from a petrol container.
The Coroner this week said there was nothing to suggest another car had been in the area before the fire.
A laptop computer was found sitting open between the two men but was damaged beyond repair, preventing the recovery of any data from its hard drive.
The hatch of the car was open but the windows were wound up.
The Coroner said police were continuing to investigate any possible links the brothers may have had to criminal activities.
But that suggestion is at odds with what Nimbin residents knew of George, who was good at calligraphy, had an extensive cacti collection and 'just adored' his cat.
Locals say he was 'well-loved' and 'very kind', however he was a private person and was bestknown for the delicious, homemade ice-cream which he and his partner, Peter Turner, sold at North Coast markets over the last 20 years.
Former owner of Nimbin Organics, Gerhard Weihermann, said retailers knew something was up when the ice-cream ran out and George hadn't been seen.
One of them had a 'gut feeling' he was dead, and this was con- firmed when the police came around.
"I thought maybe he was so stressed he went on holiday," he said.
"He wanted to sell his business. His partner died last year of cancer, and it had become a burden on him. It was quite big, with stalls at all the markets."
President of the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce, Andrew Kavasilas, said they held a minute's silence for George at the March meeting.
"He was well-loved in the community," he said.
"He wasn't a smoker or anything, he was just a normal dude."
Close friend, Dianne Foster, said George was gentle and quiet and had been devastated after his life partner died of cancer.
"I think he fell apart," she said.
"He looked upon Peter as his mentor."
She said the pair had originally owned a passionfruit plantation in Murwillumbah and started making ice-cream to use up their excess fruit.
Dianne said she and her husband Henry had celebrated birthdays and Christmas together with the couple.
"They seemed to be fairly isolated from their own fami- lies," she said.