Probe into man’s mysterious road trip disappearance
A PROBE into the mysterious disappearance of a young New South Wales man on a road trip to Cairns has been scheduled for May as further details of the last time he was seen alive were revealed in court.
Newcastle man Jayden Penno-Tompsett, 22, was heading to the Far North with his friend Lucas Tattersall for New Year's Eve celebrations in December 2017.
The pre-inquest conference in the Cairns Coroner's Court heard he had a "sudden and acute decompression in his mental health" while the pair were in Charters Towers early in the morning on December 31.
Charters Towers is about 480km south of Cairns.
Counsel assisting the Coroner Joseph Crawfoot told the court Mr Penno-Tompsett drove their car - a red Nissan Pulsar - "erratically" around the town before he was last seen by Mr Tattersall walking off into a fenced paddock on the outskirts of town.
Mr Crawfoot said mobile phone data showed this happened sometime between 7-11.20am.
Mr Tattersall continued on to Cairns, but Mr Crawfoot said concerns were raised on New Year's Day when Mr Penno-Tompsett failed to arrive.
He said contact was made with the Charters Towers hospital, but he was not officially reported missing until January 4 by his father.
A major search began and continued for 12 days, with Mr Tattersall assisting police and participating in re-enactments.
Mr Tattersall has never been charged with any wrongdoing.
The court heard Mr Penno-Tompsett had a known history for mental health issues including suicidal thoughts, along with substance abuse.
Mr Crawfoot said the pair had illicit substances in the vehicle which they were taking to Cairns.
Mr Penno-Tompsett's mother Rachel Penno, who has campaigned continuously for answer's into her son's disappearance, appeared in court via phone link on Thursday.
Coroner Nerida Wilson said she "cannot imagine the anguish Jayden's family have endured".
She said the purpose of the inquest was to establish whether Mr Penno-Tompsett was dead and the likely location that occurred, but it was not her role "to attribute fault".
The inquest is due to be held over five days from May 3 in Cairns.
Ms Penno was involved in a podcast into Mr Penno-Tompsett's disappearance called the Missing Files which was released in December where she urged authorities to look harder at a mysterious property near where he vanished.
"There's been so many different things said: the most recent one was that he is in a dungeon and then there's others, like he was thrown off a cliff or that he was dismembered and acid was used.
"It's so difficult to hear that and I just want my boy home."
The podcast heard other theories including suggestion he was killed by a bikie gang over drug debt; committed suicide in a remote location; changed identities and fled to start a new life; or was the victim of a roaming serial killer on the notorious Flinders Highway, colloquially known as the "Highway Of Death".
Originally published as Probe into man's mysterious Cairns road trip disappearance