Bradford Pholi was only 10 years old when he was last seen on Boxing Day, 1982, walking from his home in Dundas to the Eastwood Train Station. Bradford was supposed to go to Newtown to visit his aunt house, but he never made it there.
Disappearance and Trial
Lorna Pholi used to hit, belt, and throw things at her children, but her surviving children told a coroner’s inquest that she had nothing to do with the disappearance of her “golden child.”
Bradford Pholi was 10 years old when he didn’t come home from his home in the Sydney suburb of Dundas on Boxing Day, 1982, around noon.
His mother, Lorna Pholi, told the police 24 hours later that he was missing.
Friends and neighbours told the police that Lorna had been mean to the boy in the past.
At an inquest at Westmead Coroner’s Court, the officer in charge of the investigation said that police suspect foul play and that Lorna would be a person of interest if she were still alive.
Lorna died in 1986.
In the witness box today, Bradford’s sister Anita Pholi and brother Bernie Pholi told Deputy State Coroner Carl Milovanovich that their mother had hit them, thrown things at them, and put the belt on them.
But it was said at the hearing that she had nothing to do with Bradford’s death.
Anita told the court in tears, “My mother did not kill my brother.”
“In my heart and soul, I know that. I both know and feel it.
“My mother was crazy about my brother. He was almost like the golden child. That’s one thing you guys got wrong.”
Anita told the court that on the day Bradford went missing, his mother, Lorna, had asked him and his older brother, Bernie, to go see an aunt in Newtown. She had planned to borrow money from the aunt so she could buy cigarettes.
Bernie didn’t want to go, but Bradford said he’d go by himself.
They never saw him again, Anita said.
Bernie told the inquest that he regretted not going with his brother every day.
“Not a day goes by when I don’t wonder why I was so self-centered. He said, “I just wanted to play with my Christmas toys.”
“In a way, I blame my mother because she smoked so much, but in another way, I blame myself because I should have gone after him.”
Both of Bradford’s siblings said they hadn’t seen any strange people around their house on the day he went missing. However, their mother’s ex-husband had found the family a few months before Bradford went missing.
Anita told the police to find Vince Ell and talk to him.
She said, “We were all afraid of him.”
“If the court or police could find him, maybe bring him in, and ask him a lot of questions, I think he holds the key.”
The coroner put the case on hold until August 6 so that police could try to find Mr. Ell.
He said that Anita’s DNA should be taken to try to match it to any unidentified remains.
Mr. Milovanovich also told Bradford’s family that he would probably say that Bradford was dead and that his death should be treated as a murder in August.