Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Dean Jesse GERRARD-LATHAM

Inquest into the Death of Dean Jesse GERRARD-LATHAM

Delivered on :23 July 2021

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Dean Jesse Gerrard-Latham died in bushland outside Derby in early December 2018.  Prior to his death he was driving a stolen Subaru Forester car that had been taken during a burglary in Broome on 28 November 2018.  On 2 December 2018 Police Officers from Derby sighted the stolen Subaru on a residential street in Derby.  They attempted to stop the vehicle but it accelerated away and headed out of Derby.  Police followed at a distance but eventually lost sight of the vehicle.  On 4 December 2018 Mr Gerrard-Latham was found deceased in a bush clearing about 300 metres from the Great Northern Highway.  He died as a result of environmental exposure in a man with methylamphetamine effect.

On 25 November 2018 Mr Gerrard-Latham was involved in a domestic incident in Broome which was reported to the police.  By the time police officers arrived he had left.  On the evening of 28 November 2018, a red Subaru Forester SUV was stolen following a burglary at a house.  On 29 November 2018 Mr Gerrard-Latham was seen on CCTV on two occasions purchasing various items with a bank card which had been stolen during the burglary.  On 1 December 2018 police executed a search warrant at a house where Mr Gerrard-Latham was staying.  He was observed by police running from that address.  On the same day Mr Gerrard-Latham met up with a female friend at a house arriving with some clipseal bags of crystal methylamphetamine, which he was keeping in a small metal tin.  He separated the drugs into smaller quantities for sale.  He handed one of the bags to his female friend and asked if she could assist him in selling it.

After smoking methylamphetamine, Mr Gerrard-Latham and his friend collected the stolen Subaru Forest and drove to another friend’s house in Cable Beach.  He met a friend at this house and showed her 20 to 30 packets of methylamphetamine.  Mr Gerrard-Latham and his female friend then drove to Derby so he could sell the methylamphetamine.  The plan was to drive to Derby in the stolen car and catch the bus back to Broome the next morning.

When they arrived in Derby they found they had damaged a tyre so they went to a house in Derby where they changed the tyre.  Police were notified of Mr Gerrard-Latham’s presence in Derby and that he was attempting to sell drugs.  At about 9.00 am on 2 December 2018 police saw the stolen Subaru being driven by Mr Gerrard-Latham, and activated their emergency lights, indicating that the Subaru pull over.  While initially it appeared that the vehicle was going to pull over, the driver, then accelerated away.  Another police vehicle assisted until police lost sight of the stolen Subaru.

Mr Gerard-Latham drove the stolen vehicle out of Derby into bushland.

After the Subaru Forester stopped down a bush track, Mr Gerrard-Latham and his friend phoned friends to come and assist them, but they were unable to get any assistance.  They decided to leave the car and walk.  It was very hot and they only had a small amount of water, which was consumed quickly.  After injecting himself with some methylamphetamine Mr Gerrard-Latham began to hallucinate and refused to keep walking with his friend.  She continued to walk until she found the highway and managed to get lifts from passing motorists until she reached the Willare Roadhouse at about 6.30 am on 3 December 2018.  Police were contacted and they drove out to the roadhouse and found her there at about 2.30 pm that afternoon.  She was arrested by police as they suspected she had been involved in offences relating to the stolen car.  She was asked if she knew where Mr Gerrard-Latham was but she did not tell them immediately that she had left him in the bush.  Police were left with the general impression that Mr Gerrard-Latham had made his own way to Fitzroy Crossing or back to Derby.

On 4 December 2018 Mr Gerrard-Latham’s friend was assessed as being fit to be interviewed, and she was formally interviewed.  During the interview, she told police she believed Mr Gerrard-Latham was still out in the bush near the Curtin RAAF air based.  A land search and rescue was commenced on the same day.  After a few hours of searching Mr Gerrard-Latham’s body was located.  It appeared he had been deceased for some time.

The Deputy State Coroner was satisfied that police did not cause or contribute to Mr Gerrard-Latham’s death.  The Deputy State Coroner found the death occurred by way of Misadventure.

Catch Words : Methylamphetamine Use : Evade Police : Land and Air Search : Misadventure

Last updated: 8-Oct-2021

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