Kate Atkinson / Melissa Caddick
True Crime

Vanishing Act on ITVX: The real story behind missing millionairess Melissa Craddick

Caddick's case baffled a nation

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Melissa Caddick is the subject of Vanishing Act – a three-part drama now available on ITVX.

It’s an intriguing story of greed, Ponzi schemes and suspected murder.

But who was Melissa Caddick and what happened to her? Read on to find out more…

Kate Atkinson as Melissa Caddick in Vanishing Act
Kate Atkinson portrayed Caddick in the drama (Credit: ITV)

Who was Melissa Caddick?

Melissa Caddick was an Australian woman who provided financial services in Sydney, Australia.

However, in 2020, it was revealed that Caddick had been running a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme is a type of investment fraud where investors are promised high returns with little or no risk. However, the returns are actually paid out of the money that new investors put into the scheme.

Caddick’s Ponzi scheme was in operation between 2012 and 2019, with the latter being her most profitable year.

She defrauded clients – who were primarily family and friends – of an estimated A$30 million. This is approximately £15.4m.

She used the money to fund her lavish lifestyle, which included buying a luxury apartment in Sydney, luxury cars, and designer clothing.

What happened to Melissa Caddick?

On November 12, 2020, Caddick left her home in Dover Heights, Sydney, and was never seen again. Her disappearance happened the day after ASIC agents and the Australian Federal Police raided her home after discovering she was running a Ponzi scheme.

She was last heard by her son, who registered the front door closing at 5.30am on the morning of November 12. He assumed she was off out on her daily workout.

A search was launched for Caddick, but was fruitless…until February 2021…

Kate Atkinson as Melissa Caddick in Vanishing Act
Vanishing Act dramatises Melissa’s disappearance (Credit: ITV)

Caddick presumed dead

On February 21, 2021, a shoe containing a decomposed foot washed up Bournda Beach, over 300 miles away from where Caddick was last seen.

The shoe matched her size. Later DNA tests found that the foot was in fact Caddick’s. However, a body still hasn’t been found, leading to some hypothesising that Caddick isn’t dead.

“When it was just a foot I would caution against the possibility that somebody is deceased. You can survive without your foot,” criminologist Dr Xanthé Mallett then told the NZ Herald in 2021.

In December 2022, after there being no sign of Caddick, she was declared dead. In 2023, an inquiry heard that police concluded that she had died jumping from the cliffs some 500 meters away from her home.

Read more: Maids Moreton murderer Ben Field was ‘super brainy’ and ‘secretive loner’ before he went on to kill

Vanishing Act is available now on ITVX.

This story was created with the help of AI via ChatGPT.

New revelations in the outrageous saga of con artist Melissa Caddick | 60 Minutes Australia

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Robert Emlyn Slater
Senior Writer

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