A CLOSE friend says the last thing she gave murdered teenager Hayley Dodd before she went hitchhiking alone in rural WA 18 years ago was a pocket knife for protection.
But “at no time did we think we’d have to use it”, Lisa Frederickson said today under cross examination in court about the knife.
Convicted rapist Francis John Wark has denied killing the petite 17-year-old, who was last seen walking along a road near Badgingarra, 200km northeast of Perth, on July 29, 1999.
Ms Frederickson, then aged 21, told Wark’s judge-alone WA Supreme Court trial she would always sit in the front when they were hitching a ride, and Hayley, who looked 14 or 15, would sit behind her.
“I felt I was looking after her that way,” she said.
They had a plan to only accept lifts from truck drivers and older people, which seemed safer, “but it didn’t turn out like that”.
Before they left Mandurah, they fibbed to Hayley’s parents about catching a bus to Dongara, where they briefly worked as roustabouts.
Margaret and Raymond Dodd wouldn’t agree to their daughter hitchhiking, Ms Frederickson said.
Hayley was very excited before she left home.
“It was all she could talk about. I don’t think we even slept that night,” she said.
“We were just young. We just wanted to go on an adventure, that’s all.”
A tearful Ms Frederickson, now 39, said she would worry if Hayley went out on her own and gave her a pocket knife before she left Dongara to visit a family friend’s farm.
“Hayley was happy, excited, looking forward to it,” she said.
“She told me she was coming back.”
Ms Frederickson was to stay behind and arrange accommodation for both of them at a caravan park, and gave Hayley “a kiss and a cuddle” before she left.
She said her friend was wearing a pair of distinctive ankh-shaped earrings with blue stones in the middle that Hayley had bought days earlier while they shopped together in Dongara.
The earrings are one of two key pieces of physical evidence against Wark.
Police seized an old ute Wark drove that day, borrowed from his boarder John McConnell, one week after Hayley went missing, and the car bench seat cover was sent to the state forensic laboratory.
But it remained unexamined until September 2013 when an earring matching Ms Frederickson’s was found lodged in the fabric.
A hair was also found in material that had been vacuumed from the footwell and had a mitochondrial profile consistent with Hayley, prosecutor Amanda Burrows said.
But defence lawyer Darryl Ryan said the hair had been subjected to three separate analyses and each produced different findings, including that it belonging to a male.
Mr Ryan also said the state could not prove the earring belonged to the teenager.