Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Child JM (Name Subject to Suppression Order)

Inquest into the Death of Child JM (Name Subject to Suppression Order)


Delivered on : 30 December 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : State Coroner Fogliani

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order :

Made on 21 August 2019 : Suppression of the deceased child’s name from publication and any evidence likely to lead to the deceased child’s identification or the identification of any other child held in care. The deceased child is to be referred to as Child JM.

Made on 9 December 2019 : Non Publication of the speed cap on police vehicles and any other specific detail of Police Policies and Procedures.

Summary : On 1 April 2017 Child JM was a passenger in a motor vehicle that had been stolen during a burglary the day before. The vehicle was being driven by his friend. Police tried to stop the vehicle, and it became involved in a series of Evade Police Intercept Driving incidents. The driver of the vehicle continued to accelerate away from police and entered an intersection at high speed in contravention of a red traffic light, colliding with another vehicle. Child JM suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the collision and later that night he died at Royal Perth Hospital. Immediately before his death Child JM was subject to a Protection Order and was under the care of the Department of Communities. He was 16 years of age.

Child JM was taken into the care of the CEO of the Department of Communities on 7 March 2013 and a Protection Order (Time Limited) was granted on 10 February 2014 for a period of two years. A further Protection Order (Until 18) was sought and granted on 9 September 2016. Child JM was placed in numerous placements while he was in the care of the Department of Communities. Child JM lacked a willingness to work with the Department of Communities and had complex needs and displayed challenging behaviours. The Department of Communities continued to monitor Child JM’s wellbeing throughout, including through regular assessments and safety plans. The State Coroner found the quality of Child JM’s supervision, treatment and care while in the care of the Department of Communities was appropriate.

The State Coroner found Child JM died after he got into a stolen vehicle being driven in a dangerous manner by his friend and who was attempting to evade police. Over a short period of time there were a number of Intercept Driving incidents with police in separate vehicles locating and then losing sight of the stolen vehicle as it accelerated away from them. Child JM was in the rear passenger side of the vehicle when it collided with another vehicle resulting in him receiving fatal injuries. The State Coroner after reviewing the evidence concerning the actions of the involved police officers in all the intercepts was satisfied that police did not cause or contribute to Child JM’s death.

On 23 April 2018 the driver of the stolen vehicle pleaded guilty and was convicted of a number of criminal offences arising out of the incident, including unlawful killing of Child JM, and he was sentenced to a number of terms of imprisonment.

The State Coroner found Child JM died on 1 April 2017 at Royal Perth Hospital from multiple injuries and the manner of death was unlawful homicide.

Catch Words : Police Intercept Driving : Person held in care : Supervision, Treatment and Care : Unlawful Homicide

Last updated: 15-Jan-2021

[ back to top ]