Murder for money is the likely reason a World War II veteran mysteriously disappeared from Townsville 26 years ago, a Queensland court has heard.
However, a criminal conviction may be unlikely because the man police believe is responsible is now dead.
Leslie Ralph Ball was 73 but the retired Victorian builder, who served with the Royal Australian Air Force in Darwin in 1944, had everything to live for.
At a pre-inquest conference on Wednesday Megan Jarvis, counsel-assisting coroner John Lock, said the former leading aircraftman had just purchased a new home in north Queensland.
"Mr. Ball had advised the Department of Veteran's Affairs he would be residing at his new address," Ms Jarvis said.
But Mr Ball mysteriously disappeared on May 22, 1993, before he moved into that new home.
His Chrysler Valiant sedan was located at the local train station and a trailer filled with his life's possessions was found burned out in nearby bushland.
Investigators found a forged train ticket in Mr Ball's name and witnesses gave conflicting evidence about his movements before he went missing.
An earlier inquest in 1994 found there were strong indications to suggest there was foul play, but the findings were inconclusive.
Police are now calling for the inquest to be reopened to investigate if Mr Ball's son-in-law, David Phillips, who Mr Ball was living with when he disappeared, may have been involved.
Mr Phillips and his wife, Leanne - Mr Ball's daughter - did not give evidence at the first inquest but were reinterviewed by police after it concluded.
Ms Jarvis said police believe Mr Ball had been paying for the couple's living costs and the motive for his murder was financial ahead of him moving into his new home alone.
Detectives referred a report with the fresh evidence to the coroner in May 2017.
"The report suggested the coroner consider finding ... Mr Ball died due to an act of murder committed at the premises of Mr and Mrs Phillips in April 1993," Ms Jarvis said.
"That David Phillips is likely responsible for the murder."
The court heard Mr Phillips died in August 2015 and Ms Phillips's whereabouts was unknown.
The inquest will reopen on July 15 in Townsville.
Australian Associated Press
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