Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Petra Michelle MARQUIS

Inquest into the Death of Petra Michelle MARQUIS

Delivered on :12 June 2024

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Urquhart

Recommendations :Yes

That the Western Australian Police Force introduces a rostering guideline to the effect that, whenever possible, probationary constables performing operational duties and who do not have operational experience in another jurisdiction, be partnered with a police officer with a post-probationary operational experience of at least nine months.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Just before 1.00 am on 9 June 2022, Petra Michelle Marquis (Ms Marquis) died outside the front of the Rockingham Police Station from ligature compression of the neck (hanging). She was 40 years old.

As she had been in police custody immediately before her death, Ms Marquis was a “person held in care” and an inquest was mandatory pursuant to section 22(1)(a) of the Coroners Act 1996 (WA).

Ms Marquis had a lengthy history of mental health issues which included diagnoses of emotional unstable personality disorder, major depression and PTSD. She also had a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation. In the period before her death, Ms Marquis had made a previous attempt to end her life, separated from her long-term partner and had a miscarriage of a baby she was longing to have.  

 

At about 11.40 pm on 8 June 2022, two police officers from the Rockingham Police Station stopped Ms Marquis’ car after they observed it speeding. A roadside breath test registered 0.132% and Ms Marquis was required to accompany the police officers back to their station for a formal breath test. She was subsequently charged with an excess 0.08% offence. As Ms Marquis was not permitted to drive, police offered her a lift home or to call a taxi. However, she said she would text her ex-partner to pick her up and that he was only 10 minutes away.

Ms Marquis also declined an offer by one of the police officers to wait with her outside the station until she was picked up. She was subsequently released via the station’s front entrance. As the station was not open to the public at that time, the front of the station had little lighting.

Shortly after her release, Ms Marquis used the cords of a flagpole at the front of the station to hang herself. Police officers did not find her until about 6.00 am, and despite extensive resuscitation efforts from police and attending ambulance officers, Ms Marquis could not be revived.   

The Coroner was satisfied that the supervision, treatment and care provided to Ms Marquis by police was appropriate, and that the two police officers who dealt with her would have had no way of knowing what she was about to do after she had left the station.

The Coroner made a recommendation that the WAPF introduces a rostering guideline that is directed towards having probationary police officers, who are performing operational duties, partnered with a police officer with a certain level of operational experience.   

Catch Words : Person held in care : Mental Health : Supervision, treatment and care : Recommendation : Suicide


Last updated: 30-Jun-2024

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