A suspect in the deaths of a prospecting couple in remote Western Australia has denied deliberately misleading police during the search and told an inquest the last time he saw them they were chasing their dog.
The WA Coroner's Court is probing the death of Raymond Kehlet, 47, who was found down an abandoned mineshaft 1.8km from his campsite near Sandstone, and the suspected death of his missing wife Jennie, 49, in March 2015.
The couple's friend and colleague Graham Milne, who the court heard was a suspect in their deaths but never charged, has been forced to give evidence despite concerns he could incriminate himself.
Mr Milne testified the last time he saw Mr Kehlet he was on a quad bike chasing after his dog Ella on the morning of March 21.
"I told him that they could go and chase the dog," Mr Milne told the court on Thursday.
"I didn't come here to chase a dog. I came up here to go prospecting."
Asked whether he had been terse, Mr Milne replied: "It may have been a little bit abrupt."
Mr Milne said he also instructed Ms Kehlet on how to use the quad bike.
He said the couple were devoted to Ella, who had run off a few times during their trip.
Mr Milne also said Mr Kehlet carried a gun.
"It was his choice, I never queried it at all."
Mr Milne spent 18 hours prospecting alone, close to the campsite.
He returned in the early hours of March 22, packed up then drove home.
Mr Milne assumed the couple was asleep, but did not see them, and believed it would have been "inconsiderate" to wake them.
He admitted he had lied to police about his route, saying he actually did drive briefly on a gravel "shortcut" road.
Mr Milne said he had considered going back to the campsite.
"I thought I may as well stick with them."
But he was supposed to return to work and his conscience got the better of him, so he continued home.
He said he did not tell police about it because he felt like an "idiot" and "it was embarrassing."
Mr Milne said he stopped along the way home for a couple of hours to sleep.
When counsel assisting the coroner Brendyn Nelson asked if it was reasonable to sleep for such a short amount of time over 40 hours, Mr Milne replied: "I've done it before."
Asked if it was safe, the medic agreed it was not.
Mr Milne insisted he drove through Mount Magnet despite a lack of evidence supporting his claim, including no CCTV footage.
The smoker could not explain how his DNA profile made it onto a cigarette butt near the mineshaft, where Ms Kehlet's cigarette butts were also found.
He also could not explain why blood was found on Mr Kehlet's boots.
"There were no injuries on the trip."
Ella was found wandering in a caravan park several days later, sparking a search.
Under questioning from lawyer Sarah Keighery, representing police, Mr Milne said he did not deliberately mislead officers during the search.
Coroner Ros Fogliani granted Mr Milne immunity so his evidence cannot be used against him in any future criminal proceedings.