Women's Health

Investigation into death of Outback Wrangler Chris Wilson takes a turn as NT cop Neil Mellon is charged


A senior Northern Territory police officer is facing a series of charges believed to be linked to an investigation into a helicopter crash that claimed the life of a TV star.

NT Police Acting Senior Sergeant Neil Mellon, 47, was arrested on arrival for duty at Darwin Police Station on Thursday morning.

The house he shares with his wife and children was also raided.

Sergeant Mellon has been charged with 31 offenses including attempting to pervert the course of justice, theft and unlawful access to data.

His charges also relate to weapons, firearms and wildlife offenses, as well as the alleged destruction of evidence in connection with a major accident investigation.

Outback Wrangler star Chris 'Willow' Wilson dies in a crash on February 28 in West Arnhem Land

Outback Wrangler star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson dies in a crash on February 28 in West Arnhem Land

The pilot, Sebastian Robinson, 28, suffered serious injuries in the crash but survived (pictured is a helicopter piloted by Mr Robinson during filming)

The pilot, Sebastian Robinson, 28, suffered serious injuries in the crash but survived (pictured is a helicopter piloted by Mr Robinson during filming)

The pilot, Sebastian Robinson, 28, suffered serious injuries in the crash but survived (pictured is a helicopter piloted by Mr Robinson during filming)

Outback Wrangler is a hit adventure television series filmed in remote Top End locations and broadcast in over 90 countries.  Mr. Wilson (centre) was one of three actors along with Mr. Wright (right) and Jono Brown (left)

Outback Wrangler is a hit adventure television series filmed in remote Top End locations and broadcast in over 90 countries.  Mr. Wilson (centre) was one of three actors along with Mr. Wright (right) and Jono Brown (left)

Outback Wrangler is a hit adventure television series filmed in remote Top End locations and broadcast in over 90 countries. Mr. Wilson (centre) was one of three actors along with Mr. Wright (right) and Jono Brown (left)

Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson, one of the stars of National Geographic’s Outback Wrangler TV show, was hitched 30m from a helicopter on February 28, collecting crocodile eggs in West Arnhem Land when the plane swooped down is overwritten.

The 34-year-old father of two was killed in the crash.

It is understood Sgt Mellon attended the scene after the crash and recovered Mr Wilson’s body while off duty and before other emergency services arrived, reported The Australian.

NT Police Acting Senior Sergeant Neil Mellon, 47, arrived at Darwin Police Station on Thursday morning where he was arrested

NT Police Acting Senior Sergeant Neil Mellon, 47, arrived at Darwin Police Station on Thursday morning where he was arrested

NT Police Acting Senior Sergeant Neil Mellon, 47, arrived at Darwin Police Station on Thursday morning where he was arrested

The pilot, Sebastian Robinson, 28, suffered serious injuries in the crash but survived.

Outback Wrangler is a hit adventure television series filmed in remote Top End locations and broadcast in over 90 countries. Mr Wilson was one of three cast members along with host and presenter Matt Wright and Jono Brown.

Mr Wilson was hanging 30m below the Robinson R44 helicopter on a longline to collect the eggs before tragedy struck.

The father-of-two’s body was found 40 yards from the main wreckage at the King River crash site, according to a preliminary Air Transport Safety Board report released in April.

Mr Wilson was attached to the line with a harness so he could harvest eggs from hard-to-reach crocodile nests in marshy areas while the helicopter hovered overhead.

Mr Wilson was hanging 30m below the Robinson R44 helicopter on a longline to collect crocodile eggs before tragedy struck

Mr Wilson was hanging 30m below the Robinson R44 helicopter on a longline to collect crocodile eggs before tragedy struck

Mr Wilson was hanging 30m below the Robinson R44 helicopter on a longline to collect crocodile eggs before tragedy struck

Family: The 34-year-old star of National Geographic's Outback Wrangler leaves behind his wife Danielle and the couple's sons, Ted and Austin

Family: The 34-year-old star of National Geographic's Outback Wrangler leaves behind his wife Danielle and the couple's sons, Ted and Austin

Family: The 34-year-old star of National Geographic’s Outback Wrangler leaves behind his wife Danielle and the couple’s sons, Ted and Austin

The crashed helicopter and its crew were one of three to collect eggs that day. He was found by one of the other crew after he failed to respond to radio calls.

Outback Wrangler host, presenter Matt Wright, previously said his “family and crew (are) absolutely devastated by the tragic accident”.

“(They) are heartbroken at the loss of their best friend and highly respected colleague Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson,” said a statement released by The Fordham Company a day after the crash.

The helicopter’s main rotor blade had struck and severed a tree trunk several times before the aircraft touched down.

“Initial assessment indicated that the engine shut down before the helicopter hit the ground.”

Chris 'Willow' Wilson (pictured) died in the helicopter crash in February.  His body was found 40 meters from the main wreckage

Chris 'Willow' Wilson (pictured) died in the helicopter crash in February.  His body was found 40 meters from the main wreckage

Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson (pictured) died in the helicopter crash in February. His body was found 40 meters from the main wreckage

Northern Territories Police Assistant Commissioner Michael White said some of the charges against Sergeant Mellon relate to a major accident investigation which began in February this year.

He said police allege Sgt Mellon’s actions “undermined the integrity” of the police force and the Northern Territories community.

“It is important to recognize that the behavior of this officer is going to be in court and that the case is related to the damage and mistrust of his position within the police force,” he told reporters on Friday. .

“It is a very disappointing, upsetting and frustrating event that has taken place and the well-being of all of our officers is paramount in these circumstances.”

Sgt Mellon has been suspended without pay. The police provided support to him and his family.

The 47-year-old joined the state police force in 1995 and was the former officer in charge of the Territory Response Group (TRG), where he is one of the longest serving members, having served 18 years.

He was even called upon to protect the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama during their visit to Australia.

Sgt Mellon currently works as Watch Commander Darwin and has also worked at Alice Springs and the Police Training College.

He received an Australian Police Medal in 2019 as part of Australian Day Honours.

Pictured is the scene of an accident which killed Mr Wilson while collecting crocodile eggs

Pictured is the scene of an accident which killed Mr Wilson while collecting crocodile eggs

Pictured is the scene of an accident which killed Mr Wilson while collecting crocodile eggs

The 47-year-old joined the state police force in 1995 and was the former officer in charge of the Territory Response Group (TRG) where he is one of the longest serving members, having served 15 years.

The 47-year-old joined the state police force in 1995 and was the former officer in charge of the Territory Response Group (TRG) where he is one of the longest serving members, having served 15 years.

The 47-year-old joined the state police force in 1995 and was the former officer in charge of the Territory Response Group (TRG) where he is one of the longest serving members, having served 15 years.

Former police commissioner Reece Kershaw said at the time that he had been involved in a variety of tactical operations, including body recoveries and shootings.

“He has encountered difficult, stressful and dangerous situations during his career, but acts courageously and beyond what is expected of members of the force,” Mr Kershaw said.

He was also awarded for “Outstanding Professionalism, Bravery and Outstanding Operational Support” in 2016 for his work rescuing a fallen tourist from Uluru.

Sergeant Mellon has been released on bail and is due in court on September 22.

Sergeant Mellon has been charged with a range of offenses including attempting to pervert the course of justice, theft and unlawful access to data.

Sergeant Mellon has been charged with a range of offenses including attempting to pervert the course of justice, theft and unlawful access to data.

Sergeant Mellon has been charged with a range of offenses including attempting to pervert the course of justice, theft and unlawful access to data.


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