Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Thomas Charles WILLIAMS

Inquest into the Death of Thomas Charles WILLIAMS

Delivered on :5 April 2015

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased was a known amphetamines user.

The deceased was known to experience episodes of chest pains and shortness of breath.  When the deceased experienced one of these attacks he declined to call an ambulance or seek any form of medical treatment but chose to use asthma inhalers he purchased from the chemist.  The deceased would most commonly experience these attacks immediately after he had injected amphetamine, which would last approximately 15 minutes or until he used an asthma inhaler.

On 7 August 2012 the deceased telephoned his former partner asking if she wanted some amphetamine and she agreed.  She met the deceased at the Thornlie train station.  They walked along the train line towards the river and the deceased showed his former partner several plastic bags with varying amounts of amphetamine in them.  They were observed by residents in the area and decided to walk a short distance away.  The deceased was walking ahead when he saw police approaching them and he suddenly dropped his jacket and started running towards the bridge and the Canning River.  His former partner stood still but the deceased continued to run away from the police so one of the police officers chased him.

The deceased was a long way ahead of the police officer who gave chase and he quickly lost sight of the deceased.

After making enquiries police were informed that the deceased had an outstanding warrant for his arrest and multiple warnings were listed against him.  Police searched a nearby house and alongside the river but could not locate the deceased.  Police did not search the other side of the river, where the deceased’s body was eventually found a week later by students on an excursion.

Rumours and concerns had been expressed by the family that there could be a possibility of other people being involved in the deceased’s death.  The Coroner found that there was a lack of physical evidence to support the involvement of any other person in the death.  The Coroner found that the evidence available strongly supported the conclusion that the deceased voluntarily entered the river on 7 August 2012 to escape the police and, for an unknown reason, got into difficulties and drowned before he could make it safely out of the river on the other side.

The Coroner found that the deceased died on 7 August 2012 as a result of immersion (drowning) and death arose by way of misadventure.

Catch Words : Amphetamine use : Evading police : Immersion : Misadventure

Last updated: 13-Feb-2024

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