Mystery clouds bike rider’s death

LEE CONNELL vanished while on a midnight motorcycle ride along Airforce Beach on January 10 and was not seen alive again.

His damaged motorbike was found submerged among rocks leading to the beach near Evans Head and tyre marks suggested the bike hit the rock formation at high speed and crashed.

Relatives he was visiting raised the alarm when he failed to return home by daylight.

An element of mystery still remains over the fate of Mr Connell, 27, of Tweed Heads, with Lismore Coroner Nicholas Reimer this week finding the man had died shortly after midnight on January 10 this year at Airforce Beach.

“But I am unable to say whether the actual cause of death was a result of injuries sustained by the deceased by falling on to rocks from his motorcycle at high speed, or by drowning in the ocean after such a motorcycle accident,” he stated.

The Coroner made no further comment and the file was not available to the media.

Police at the time said they feared Mr Connell had suffered serious injuries in the crash and was swept out to sea by a king tide. The motorcycle was not fitted with lights and Mr Connell had not been wearing a helmet.

There was no sign of the missing man until 10 days later on January 20, when a partially decomposed foot was discovered in a beach cave just south of Goanna Headland by a man walking along the coastline. It was sent to Sydney for forensic testing.

During January, residents of Evans Head, SES personnel and Police Rescue searched for Mr Connell, combing the coastline, rock pools and snorkelling in the sea. His body was ever found.

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