Brett Peter Cowan AKA Brett Peter Cohen

Address: Darwin, NT, Australia
Age: 42
Sex: Male


Date: June 1994
Charges: Paedophilia, sex offences
Category: Paedophilia
Court: Supreme Court of NT
Penalty: 7 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 3 years and 6 months

Brett Peter Cowan pleaded guilty to a charge of gross indecency with a 6-year-old boy. He also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the boy and depriving him of his liberty. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years and six months.

The young boy staggered into a service station naked, dazed and bleeding after being sexually assaulted by Cowan.

Date: 14 March 2014
Charges: Murder
Category: Murder
Court: Queensland Supreme Court
Penalty: Life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 years.

Brett Peter Cowan, Daniel Morcombe's killer, is a serial predator with an extensive history of sexually abusing children.

The 44-year-year told an inquest into Daniel's disappearance that by the time he turned 18 he had already preyed on up to 30 children. He said his offending stretched back to when he was about nine or 10 years of age.

Cowan was first convicted of a child sex offence in 1989 over the molestation of a seven-year-old boy in the public toilets of a Queensland playground. He was sentenced to two years for indecent dealing.

Four years later while living in a Darwin caravan park, Cowan molested a six-year-old boy in a violent attack which left the child with a punctured lung. Cowan left the boy to die in an old car in bushland before the naked, dazed and bleeding child staggered into a service station for help.

After initially denying any involvement in the attack, Cowan confessed after police told him they had found DNA evidence linking him to the crime.

In September 1993, Cowan pleaded guilty to gross indecency, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty and was sentenced to seven years in jail.

After his release from prison on parole in 1998 he moved to the Sunshine Coast to be close to relatives and soon became involved in the Christian Outreach Church.

He met Tracey Moncrieff through church and in 1999 they later married and had a child.

The couple were living in Beerwah at the time Daniel went missing. They divorced in 2004.

Cowan was an early suspect in Daniel's disappearance and was first interviewed by police two weeks after the 13-year-old went missing. Officers interviewed him again in 2005.

For an unexplained reason, Cowan changed his name to Shaddo N-Unyah Hunter between 2003 and a 2011 inquest into Daniel's disappearance, at which he was called to give evidence.

"I had nothing to do with Daniel's disappearance, nothing at all," he told the court.

However, shortly after Cowan's appearance at the inquest he told undercover police officers that he picked Daniel up from a bus stop to "have fun" with him. He told the officers, who were posing as criminal gang members, that he drove Daniel to a demountable building on a macadamia farm in a secluded bushland area in Beerwah with the intention of molesting him.

He said he invited Daniel in for a drink of water and tried to pull his pants down. When Daniel said "Oh no" and began to struggle, Cowan said he choked him with his arm around his neck. Cowan told the officers he disposed of Daniel's body in an old sand mining area.

Daniel's bone fragments were later found at the site.

Cowan was arrested and charged with Daniel's murder in August 2011.

Jurors in the supreme court trial took seven-and-a-half hours to find the 44-year-old paedophile and father-of-three guilty of murder. He was also found guilty of indecently dealing with Daniel and interfering with his corpse.

To prove that Cowan murdered and abducted Daniel, the prosecution brought 116 witnesses before the court over a four-and-a-half week trial.

The jury rejected Cowan’s defence argument that another convicted paedophile, Douglas Jackway, was responsible.

The prosecution successfully argued that Cowan’s admission to undercover police officers, posing as a criminal gang, was truthful.

The jury in Brisbane announced its verdict shortly after 1pm on 13 Thursday 2014, 10 years and three months since Daniel, then 13, was abducted.

The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 years.