Former William Tyrrell suspect William “Bill” Spedding says his life is “torn apart” after NSW police were ordered to pay him nearly $1.5 million in damages.
Most important points:
- Bill Spedding was one of the first suspects named by police after William Tyrrell’s disappearance
- Six months later, he was arrested for unrelated historic child crimes
- He was later cleared of the charges
The washing machine repairman has successfully sued police for malicious prosecution after historic allegations of child sex went unsubstantiated.
Today, a Supreme Court judge awarded him $1,484,292 in damages and ordered the NSW Police Department to pay his legal fees as well.
Spedding, 70, was publicly exposed as a suspect in William Tyrrell’s disappearance in 2015 when police searched his home.
Mr Spedding had visited William’s foster grandmother’s home on the north coast of NSW to repair her washing machine in the days before he disappeared.
A call to Crime Stoppers then led to the same detectives charging him with historic child crimes dating back to 1987, separate from the William Tyrrell case.
He was one of the first persons of interest to be publicly named in the feverish media coverage of William’s disappearance.
Then, in 2018, Mr Spedding was cleared of the charges at a trial, in which it was learned that the charges had been falsified during an old legal battle.
Police also later cleared him of any involvement in William Tyrrell’s disappearance.
“No amount of money can restore the life I enjoyed before this terrible nightmare,” he said outside court today.
“I have been prosecuted for crimes I did not commit, all in the hope that my prosecution would further the police investigation of me as a suspect in William Tyrrell’s disappearance.”
Mr Spedding said he hoped authorities would learn from this decision.
“This kind of behavior by the prosecuting authorities must be deterred,” he said.
He also said he hoped William’s case could still be resolved.
Mr Spedding previously explained how his identity as a suspect in the William Tyrrell inquiry had taken its toll. He said he lost 20 pounds and avoids appearing in public.