Fraudster’s severed foot gets inquest off to dramatic start

In February last year, three months after she vanished, an Asics running shoe containing Caddick’s foot was found washed up at Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast.

The unusual discovery, 400km south from her multi-million-dollar mansion in Sydney’s Dover Heights, prompted some to speculate that Caddick, 49, had faked her own death by amputating her foot and fled the country.

Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick has not been seen since 2020. (NSW Police)

Tweeting live from the inquest, Sydney Morning Herald investigative reporter Kate McClymont said a forensic pathologist will say they are unable to explain how Caddick’s foot got detached from her body.

“It may well be that the Coroner returns an open finding into her presumed death,” McClymont speculated.

The veteran reporter co-hosted the Liar Liar podcast with 60 Minutes‘ Tom Steinfort, as they investigated the fraudster’s 2020 disappearance.

Jason Downing SC, counsel assisting Deputy State Coroner Elizabeth Ryan, said in his opening address that Caddick was suspected to be dead.

The forensic pathologist is expected to say they could not determine if her decomposed foot was separated because of blunt force or decomposition before it washed ashore.

With the right medical assistance an amputation is not considered a lethal injury, Downing said, but on the balance of probabilities it was suspected that Caddick had already died.

Caddick’s parents Barbara and Ted Grimley and brother Adam Grimley along with her husband Anthony Koletti arrived on Monday morning at the NSW coroners court.

It is believed about 74 victims lost at least $23 million through Caddick’s Ponzi scheme, over which she was set to face a string of charges.

Those scammed believed Caddick would invest their funds on their behalf.

She created fake documents to suggest she had done so, but instead used the money to fund her own lavish lifestyle.

Caddick disappeared just hours after her home was raided by investigators from the corporate watchdog ASIC.

Koletti told police his wife left for a walk early the following morning, but did not report her missing until about 28 hours later.

This delay will also be subject to scrutiny during her inquest.

After initially trying to hold on to $30 million in assets, Koletti dropped his claim for the couple’s jewellery, artworks, a Gucci wedding dress, the proceeds of the sale of their luxury cars and $7 million in shares.
Melissa Caddick dress $400,000 son's school fundraiser Anthony Koletti
Melissa Caddick and her husband Anthony Koletti are wearing a collective $400,000 in clothes and accessories in this photo. (Supplied)
The Dover Heights home owned by Melissa Caddick, which was purchased with the proceeds of crime. (Nine)

Caddick’s parents are fighting to remain in an Edgecliff property they reside in.

The Grimleys claim they were also scammed by their daughter, and that they had negotiated the right to live in the property rent-free until they died.

In late 2012 Caddick’s marriage to Tony Caddick dissolved following her affair with Koletti who was her hairdresser.

She purportedly told her brother Adam about this time: “If it all gets too much to me you’ll find me at The Gap”.

Another friend said Caddick made her write down a four-letter code she was instructed to give Adam if she went missing.

By late 2020 her friends say Caddick was under extreme financial pressure and on one occasion walked to the Dover Heights cliffs.

“If I’m going to end it, it’s going to be here,” her friend recalls Caddick telling her.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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