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Coroner delivers verdict on 'Australia's most notorious con woman' after rotting foot washed up on a beach

Coroner delivers verdict on 'Australia's most notorious con woman' after rotting foot washed up on a beach

Melissa Caddick's foot washed up 500km away after her disappearance, but still no-one knows the cause of her death

An alleged fraudster who has been nicknamed ‘Australia’s most notorious con woman’ in the press has been declared dead by a coroner, more than two years after her rotting foot washed up on a beach.

Here's a video to bring you up to date with everything in this incredibly strange case:

Melissa Caddick went missing from her eastern Sydney home in November 2020, before a foot washed up on the beach several months afterwards.

Since then, a successful podcast, a TV drama, and countless strange theories about her death have floated around.

Some suggested that she’d fallen victim to shark attack, others that she’d cut off her own foot in order to confound the police and cast them off her trail.

Now, a coroner in New South Wales has ruled that she is most likely really dead.

However, mysteries remain, despite that ruling. For example, no-one knows how she died, in the same way that few understand how she actually made her life.

Caddick worked tirelessly to give off the illusion of being financially successful, living in a large house and boasting many luxury items, as well as travelling abroad regularly for extravagant holidays.

The coroner ruled that this was ‘clearly integral to the confidence which Ms Caddick inspired in her clients.’

Melissa Caddick disappeared in November 2020.
Melissa Caddick/Facebook

Regulators reckon that the 49-year-old stole around AUD$30m ($19.5m) from 60 clients, to bankroll that lifestyle. Many of those clients were family and friends.

The plan was simple – new clients would invest, she would pay out some to existing clients in dividends, the rest would be stolen and kept.

Even the coroner said her methods were not ‘particularly complicated’.

NSW deputy coroner Elizabeth Ryan said that she was taken aback by the ‘powerful impression of wealth and success’ exuded by Caddick.

"Equally significant was the trust they had in her... almost all were either immediate family members, or close personal friends of herself and her family," she added.

On November 11 2020, police arrived and the house of cards seemed to be tumbling.

That’s the last confirmed sighting of Melissa, to this date.

Her husband, Anthony Koletti, told police she’d gone for a run, but didn’t report her missing for more than 30 hours, not until he’d dialled a court hearing for her and seemed shocked that she wasn’t there.

His erratic behaviour became a point of suspicion to the investigators.

He denies any involvement, and denies that there is any evidence to support that theory.

The foot washed up at Bournda Beach, 500km away from Sydney.
Google Maps

On February 2021, a decomposing foot washed up on Bournda Beach, 500 kilometers south of Sydney.

Forensic tests couldn’t decide whether it had been severed deliberately or not, but they did match it to Caddick.

Whilst the coroner said the circumstances of her death will remain a mystery, she ruled that Caddick is likely dead.

“Perhaps the most persuasive evidence that Ms Caddick is deceased, is the fact that she has not made any contact with her son,” Ryan said in the court documents.

“Deeply attached to him as she was, it seems to me most unlikely that she would not have reached out to him in some way, were she still alive.”

Ryan said it was ‘possible’ that Caddick fell off cliffs near her home in an attempt to take her own life, suggesting that it was the only escape from the ‘personal and professional catastrophe which overtook her’.

On Thursday, Ryan said that the discovery of Caddick’s subterfuge may have caused a ‘narcissistic injury’ to her: "She may well have reached the conclusion that ending her life was the only option."

Featured Image Credit: Melissa Caddick/Facebook

Topics: Australia, Crime, True crime, Weird