Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Gordon JAMES

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Gordon JAMES

Delivered on : 15 November 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : On 27 July 1987 Mr James posted letters from Rottnest Island informing his family members it was his intention to disappear and end his life. On the same day a dinghy was removed from its mooring at Green Island which was then located adrift in Salmon Bay, Rottnest Island. Items were located in the dinghy which did not belong to the owner and included a piece of plywood, presumably used as an oar/paddle which contained the inscription “G James”. There has been no trace of Mr James since that date.

At approximately 1.00 pm on 27 July 1987 Mr James arrived on Rottnest Island and visited the Rottnest Lodge Resort. Mr James was seen to be at the Lodge bar for approximately half an hour before leaving. Sometime during the day Mr James has posted letters to his son and daughter in law, ex-wife, solicitor and real estate agent, all indicating an intention to end his life. At about 6.00 pm a small dinghy was observed out to sea off Green Island. The owner of the dinghy and a friend went to find the island ranger to help retrieve the dinghy and all three men arrived back at Green Island in the ranger’s boat at approximately 7.15pm. It was dark and they could not see the dinghy so they had to search for it and located it floating in Salmon Bay about 1000 metres offshore. The bungs were missing and the dinghy had partly filled with water, up to the seats. The dinghy had to be bailed before they could tow it to shore.

Concerns were raised by Mr James family for his welfare on 27 July 1987 and a missing person report was completed at the Cockburn Police Station. Police enquiries made on Rottnest Island identified that Mr James had been on the island and also identified the interference with the dinghy and items found in the dinghy belonging to Mr James. Police searched the area in which the dinghy had been drifting for Mr James but revealed no trace of Mr James.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Mr James is deceased. The Coroner determine Mr James died as a result of drowning and death occurred by way of Suicide.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Drowning : Suicide

Last updated: 14-Jul-2020

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