The father of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez stormed out of court during testimony by one of the security guards who ejected his son from a Byron Bay nightclub before he went missing.
On day four of the inquest into the teenager’s mysterious disappearance in Byron Bay on the night of May 31, 2019, Laurent Hayez and other members of Theo’s family listened from the public gallery as security guards from Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub gave evidence.
Security guard Shannon Mackie told the inquest that he removed the 18-year-old from Cheeky Monkey’s in Byron Bay about 11pm on May 31, 2019, hours before he vanished, deciding he was ‘approaching intoxication’.
Mr Hayez (above) and other family members have travelled from Belgium for the inquest into Theo’s disappearance. Mr Hayez shook his head in disagreement, waved his hand and walked out of the courtroom on day four of the inquest into his son Theo’s disappearance, during testimony by a security guard at Byron Bay’s Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub
David Evenden, lawyer for the Hayez family, asked Mr Mackie how intoxicated people were looked after once they were ejected from the club.
Mr Mackie said if a person requested, the guards would notify someone inside the club to tell them their friend was outside.
‘We would sit them down, get some water for them, make sure they’re ok…’ he said.
‘We could call them a taxi, just make sure they’re ok to get home safe.
The comment caused Laurent Hayez to shake his head in disagreement. He waved his hand and walked out of the courtroom.
Mr Hayez and other family members have travelled from Belgium for the inquest.
On Monday, counsel assisting the coroner Ms Edwards had told the inquest the decision to kick Theo out on his own without any chance to tell his friends had caused his family ‘great distress’.
Theo Hayez (in cap, with back to camera) is seen as he is taken outside Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub on May 31, 2019, after being removed for ‘approaching intoxication’
CCTV footage showed Mr Mackie escorting Theo to the front of the nightclub before asking him to stand on a red X, where he was scanned.
Theo chatted briefly to a man in a white hoodie standing at the front of the queue to get into the club before Mr Mackie summoned him over.
He leans in and, according to his police statement, told Theo: ‘I’ve pulled you outside tonight because I believe you’re approaching intoxication and you will not be allowed to re-enter the venue.’
A compliant Theo said ‘OK’, and then walked away to the left of the club.
Asked whether Theo appeared intoxicated in the video, Mr Mackie replied: ‘Not in that footage.’
Ms Edwards asked if Mr Mackie was confident of his assessment that Theo was approaching intoxication.
‘Yes, I do,’ he replied.
Ms Edwards asked whether Mr Mackie could smell alcohol on Theo’s breath once he had taken him outside.
‘No,’ Mr Mackie replied.
Shannon Mackie (left) is seen talking to missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez (with cap on) after escorting him out of Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub at Byron Bay and informing him he could not go back in. Head of security Brad Hill (with back to camera), also gave evidence at the inquest today
Asked why he was so confident Theo was approaching intoxication, Mr Mackie said the club’s policy was to err on the side of caution.
‘If I see signs, I’ll obviously believe they’re approaching intoxication [and] as the legislation is so strict in NSW, I always go to that caution and I’ll remove the patron,’ he said.
‘Because it’s strict… would you accept it’s possible you made a mistake,’ Ms Edwards asked.
‘Yeah, possibly,’ Mr Mackie replied.
Head of security Mr Hill was standing at the entrance of the club as Mr Mackie conducted the assessment of Theo.
He agreed he was not paying full attention to the scene because he trusted Mr Mackie and it ‘wasn’t my eviction’.
Asked about his police statement on Theo’s speech being slurred, Mr Hill said: ‘At this point in time, and looking at that footage, when he was talking to Shannon I must have overheard it.’
‘Is it possible you’re mistaken about hearing his speech? Ms Edwards asked.
‘It could be, it could have been a different eviction,’ Mr Hill replied. ‘I could be remembering another removal.’
There were 15 other evictions of patrons on the same night.
Mr Hill agreed the footage did not suggest Theo was drunk.
Ms Edwards asked Mr Hill about the club’s policy on removing people.
‘It is the case that there is any required number of people that need to be ejected on a night to look like you’re complying with the law,’ he asked.
‘No,’ Mr Hill responded.
Ms Edwards asked: ‘Would you ever do it to have some more attractive women come into the venue and get rid of some men?’
‘No,’ he responded.
Both guards were also asked if they ever witnessed drink spiking at Cheeky Monkey’s. Both insisted neither ever occurred at the club.
The inquest previously heard security guards kicked Theo out of Cheeky Monkey’s around 11pm because he was ‘approaching intoxication’
In the morning session of the inquest, two English travellers who were at Cheeky Monkey’s with Theo on the last night he was seen alive testified via videolink.
Elen Lloyd and Eden Parsons, who travelled together in Australia in 2019, got on a shuttle bus from the WakeUp! Hostel into Bryon Bay with Theo and three other backpackers before making their way to the club.
Ms Lloyd and Ms Parsons told the inquest they decided to go to Cheeky Monkey’s because Theo and the others had discount drink cards for the club.
CCTV footage shown to both backpackers from the interior of the club showed them sitting in a booth near the bar.
At one point more people arrive at the club, and a man with a beard approaches their table.
The man tried to engage the travellers in conversation while gesturing towards the bar.
The two English backpackers had arrived at the club along with Theo after a BBQ at the hostel, where Ms Parsons and another backpacker, Marlen Ilsmann from Germany, said they remember him and his friend Antoine drinking from a ‘box of goon’
Both women were quizzed as to whether they knew anything about the man or what he had said while standing at the table.
‘I would assume it was maybe something about how the [drink] card worked, or something… it doesn’t jog a massive memory for me,’ Ms Lloyd told the inquest.
‘Elen and I tend to be friendly, excitable people so when people come up to us we engage rather than shy away so it could have been about anything to be honest,’ Ms Parsons said of the interaction with the bearded man.
It’s not known who the bearded man is and Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting he is any way connected with the disappearance of Theo.
The girls arrived at the club with Theo after a barbeque at the hostel, where Ms Parsons and another backpacker, Marlen Ilsmann, from Germany, said they remembered him and his friend Antoine drinking from a ‘box of goon’.
‘As far as I can remember he seemed really nice but not particularly loud, not a huge personality,’ Ms Parsons recalled of Theo.
Ms Lloyd recalled that the group eventually broke up as the club got busier and they left without knowing whether Theo was still at the club.
The mysterious route Theo took to Cosy Corner, near Byron Bay Lighthouse, after he left Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub on May 31, 2019
Theo Hayez seen checking his phone after he left Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub around 11pm
Other witnesses told the court Theo only bought two beers at Cheeky Monkey’s and it was unlikely he drank excessively before leaving the hostel.
Ms Ilsmann told the inquest she saw another German backpacker who was with the group at Cheeky Monkey’s, Annika Wachter, the following day and discovered she planned to travel to Sydney on a Greyhound bus with Theo.
She then encountered Ms Wachter later in Sydney and found out that Theo was missing.
‘When I asked if he was on the Greyhound, she said “no”,’ Ms Ilsmann told the inquest.
Ms Wachter, from Dossenheim near Heidelberg in Germany, told the court on Wednesday she did not see Theo stumble as he entered the bar or take part in any drinking games.
‘Everyone was happy and they were enjoying the dancing and it wasn’t really wild,’ she said via videolink.
‘We all had two or three drinks. I was a bit tipsy but not totally drunk.’
Ms Wachter did not see Theo being asked to leave the club and did not hear about his disappearance until some days later when she arrived in Sydney.
Yesterday, the inquest learned the Belgian teenager made a bizarre Google search just minutes before he was kicked out of Cheeky Monkeys for appearing drunk
The inquest in Wednesday learned the Belgian teenager made a bizarre Google search just minutes before he was kicked out of Cheeky Monkey’s for appearing drunk.
Video shown on day three of the inquest into his disappearance revealed him sitting in a bar booth in deep conversation with Dutch backpacker, Sander Stadegaard.
But Google search data on his phone reveals that during the chat, he looked up information on a tiny little-known town an hour away from Byron called Coraki.
After leaving the club, instead of walking back to his hostel, Theo went off in the opposite direction across town, taking a treacherous dark track to a remote beach.
He was never seen again.