Missing Coffs Harbour man Andrew Witton.
Missing Coffs Harbour man Andrew Witton. ABC

Appeal to reopen Witton missing person case

THE family of missing Coffs Harbour yachtsman Andrew Witton is campaigning for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to reconsider his case.

The 51-year-old vanished from his vessel in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean on January 13, 2007.

Mr Witton was sailing with crewmate Simon Golding, who was last year sentenced to 30 years jail for his part in an unrelated drug importation matter.

The disappearance was featured on this week's edition of ABC's Australian Story, which revealed Mr Witton had previously been approached to use his boat to import cocaine.

Mr Witton's sister Louise believes Golding's conviction brings sufficient new evidence for the case to be reopened.

"Never knowing what happened to Andrew, how it actually happened, is the hardest part of all," Ms Witton told Australian Story.

"We believe Simon Golding may have wanted Andrew's boat to carry out the importation of drugs in 2007.

"There's no evidence that a deal was going to be done or was in the planning stages.

"But the fact Andrew went missing in what we believe are suspicious circumstances raises many questions."

Golding refuted the claims on the program.

"I did not push Andrew overboard," he said.

"I'm not going to abide by all laws, no.

"But I do have good morals... people fall off boats, plenty of people fall off boats."

A 2009 coroner's inquest heard Golding did not report Mr Witton's death promptly, did not accept an offer of help from another boat and did not set off the yacht's emergency beacon.

Golding is eligible for parole in 18 years after he and two others were sentenced to 30 years jail for importing nearly half a tonne of cocaine by boat.

The Australian Story episode can be viewed in full online.



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