The mysterious disappearance of a mother who left behind her husband and eight children more than 60 years ago has been solved.
Daphne Pearl Hampstead was 40 years old when she vanished from an old dairy farm on Cowpasture Road in Bossley Park, Sydney’s western suburbs, in 1958.
She left the family home before dawn on May 10 and the next day her husband and children received two letters which advised them to look after each other and to avoid finding her, The Australian reported.
On Tuesday, the NSW Coroner’s Court heard Hampstead ditched Sydney for a new life in Queensland, where she changed her name and age.
The court was told Daphne Jones was born in Cootamundra, in the NSW Riverina, on July 13 1918 and she became Daphne Hampstead after marrying local boy Sidney Hampstead in 1936.
The disappearance of Daphne Pearl Hampstead (pictured) has been solved more than 60 years after she vanished
The couple were parents to eight children, Leslie, Patricia, Marcia, Daphne, twins Barry and Clifford, Helen, and Janet.
The family settled on a property known as Crosby’s dairy farm in Bossley Park in the mid-1950s.
Sidney loved his wife to the ‘point of obsession’ and was known to get jealous. According to court documents, he would get angry and had assaulted her.
Described as a loving mother, Hampstead cooked for workers on the farm but also held a job as a chef at Carl’s Restaurant in the Sydney CBD.
Nobody saw Hampstead leave the farm on May 10 but when her husband came in from milking the cows he noticed that most of her clothes were gone.
A 2012 inquiry into Hampstead’s disappearance found the mother-of-eight was likely dead but it could not be determined how she died or when.
Donna, one of Hampstead’s granddaughters, then decided to look into her disappearance and hired private investigator Luke Athens to assist.
In a report, Mr Athens found Hampstead changed her name to Daphne Pearl Oswald and modified her date of birth to make herself six years younger.
Hampstead was 40 years old when she vanished from an old dairy farm on Cowpasture Road in Bossley Park, Sydney’s western suburbs, in 1958. Pictured: Cowpasture Road
She moved to Queensland and lived as a woman in her 30s before falling in love with a plantation farmer called Roy Shaw. She then went by the name Daphne Shaw.
Mr Shaw died in 1972 and Hampstead began a relationship with his close friend Raymond Charles Jones.
Following a ‘celebration’ with Mr Jones in 1973, Hampstead became known as Daphne Jones.
She became the step-mother of Mr Jones’ children and maintained a relationship with them following his death.
Diann and Tyrone Green were listed as Daphne Jones’ next of kin when she died in 2007 aged 89.
After receiving the report, Donna met with the pair. She was told her grandmother had a ‘magnetic, charismatic personality’ and ‘disliked talking about her past’.
The family compared the pictures and agreed it was the same woman.
Detective Senior Constable Michael Romano of Fairfield police reviewed the file and told the court via Zoom he believed Hampstead had changed her identity upon moving to Queensland.
‘I am of the opinion that Daphne Pearl Hampstead, born 1918, who went missing from NSW in 1958, is the same person as Daphne Pearl Jones, who used the birth date of 1924,’ he said on Tuesday.
The report was also reviewed by Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott, who is expected to make formal findings on Wednesday.