MORE than three years after the disappearance of Jayden Penno-Tompsett, the man travelling to Cairns with him will publicly break his silence when he gives evidence at a coronial inquest this week.
Lucas Tattersall is one of eleven witnesses who will appear at the inquest that starts on Tuesday in Cairns Coroner's Court.
The Newcastle men were travelling to Cairns together to ring-in the New Year with mates in 2017 when they had a disagreement and Jayden left the car in the early hours of December 31 outside the remote North Queensland town of Charters Towers, about 130km from Townsville.
As the Herald reported at the time, an argument broke out between the pair after they stopped at the Puma Roadhouse on the Flinders Highway.
Police were told the pair then drove about 20 minutes further north-east before Jayden left the vehicle near the quiet and rural Stockroute Road. Mr Tattersall then drove off and told police he returned later but Jayden was gone.
Jayden's family is desperately hoping for answers from the inquiry that is expected to run for at least three days. Rachel Penno, who has campaigned tirelessly for answers into her son's disappearance, is expected to be the first witness called.
A pre-inquest hearing last month heard that Jayden had a "sudden and acute decompression in his mental health" while he was in Charters Towers.
Counsel assisting Joseph Crawfoot said Jayden, who lived at Birmingham Gardens, drove a red Nissan Pulsar "erratically" around the town before he was last seen by Mr Tattersall walking off into a fenced paddock on the outskirts of town.
Mr Tattersall continued on to Cairns and Jayden was reported missing four days later.
In the days after his disappearance, police released CCTV images from inside the Charters Towers roadhouse where he was last seen.
But there has been no sign of Jayden since then. No bank transactions, no contact with friends - nothing.
In a series of social media posts, Mr Tattersall has denied he could have done more to help Jayden.
"I'm sorry to tell you but if someone wants to just up and leave and f*** off then that's what they are gonna do. [You] don't understand how hard I tried to help Jayden when I with him and calm him down so we can sort this out," he wrote.
He said he was very upset about what had happened.
"He is my mate and I'm hurt too please stop making out I'm just some heartless prick that left him out there to die."
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