Billy Day arrived in Australia late 1968 in the company of David Burt (friend or possible boyfriend) and the two traveled the country for six months. Day was a quiet, friendly person who was taking a two year trip abroad to work and earn money while traveling.
The primary suspect, Peter Macari (37 yo), was a fellow British citizen who arrived in Australia a couple months after Day. He was traveling under a false passport with the alias Peter Brown. Macari had a criminal record already, having served time in England for theft and weapons possession.
Macari and Day met in June 1970 and became acquaintances, then roommates. In July or August 1970, Day mailed a letter to his family stating he intended to travel in an RV with Brown to Brisbane. He was never heard from again.
The family attempted to locate him and reported the disappearance to Australian police, but they failed to discover any clues. Letters written by Day’s family to him were eventually returned all together in a large envelope. Although this was turned over to police, they eventually lost it and any possible related evidence.
May 26, 1971 Macari and a new boyfriend (Raymond Poynting) launched an infamous blackmail regarding a bomb hoax on a Qantas flight. Macari (still using his pseudonym ‘Brown’) called Qantas’ headquarters and reported a bomb on a flight that had just left for Hong Kong. He promised to tell them the location of the bomb in return for $500,000 reward.
As proof, Macari revealed there was also a bomb in the airport lockers, and a search revealed this was true. Concerned about the safety of their passengers, Qantas agreed to pay against police advice. Due to police bungling Macari and Poynting were able to escape with the money for a brief time.
While evading police, Macari and Poynting began rapidly spending the money they had received on real estate, cars, plane tickets and more. Much of this was done using the identity of Billy Day, the missing Brit. Eventually someone became concerned about the money Macari was throwing around and reported him as a suspicious person to the police.
The police arrested Macari on August 4, 1971. He would eventually be sentenced to 15 years for the blackmail scam.
Originally, police were not aware that Macari’s stolen identity “Billy Day” was a real person and did not make the connection to the missing William Day.
It was not until decades later that someone finally connected Macari with Billy Day. More than twenty years later, Macari was interviewed by a police detective about the alias he used while evading the police. Macari claimed that ‘Day’ was a figment of his imagination, like ‘Brown’. But other witnesses recalled Macari’s roommate . . .and police finally had their connection.
This was not the first person Macari is suspected of having killed — he was also the lead suspect in they mysterious, fatal assault on his brother George who was found murdered in 1967. Unfortunately, police have never been able to positively link Macari to either murder and Day’s body has not been recovered.
In 2019, surviving family members donated DNA samples in the hope that something might match.
- Date of Birth: May 29, 1946
- Age at Disappearance: 24 Years Old
- Ethnicity: Caucasian
- Nationality: British
- Gender at Birth: Male
- Hair: Brunette
- Eye Color: Brown
- Height: 5′ 8″ (172-175 cm)
- Weight: Medium Build
Distinguishing Marks or Factors
- Trained Boxer
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact the New South Wales Police Department at +61 (1 800) 622- 571
- Doe Network (2013) ‘Case File 451DMNSW’. Available from: Link
- Judd, B. (2019) ‘The true story of the 1971 Qantas bomb hoax’, ABC News, 23 February. Available from: Link
- McNab, D. (2019) ‘Planes, bombs and murder: The curious case of the Peter Macari Qantas hoax’, 7 News, 24 August. Available from: Link