Inquest into the Death of Simon John ROWE
Delivered on :4 November 2016
Delivered at : Perth
Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Vicker
Recommendations : N/A
Orders/Rules : N/A
Suppression Order : N/A
Summary : The deceased was a 37 year old man who had been involved in the drug scene and associated serious criminal connections from a young age. The deceased spent a considerable period of his adult life in custody, which he used to good advantage by educating himself, but it had also exposed him to a particular view of life. The deceased had a young son with whom he had no access and very little contact, which greatly distressed him.
In the early minutes of Thursday 12 April 2012 the deceased smashed the window of a 12th level hotel room and began throwing items out of the window. Following complaints of noise by other guests, and concerns as to the smell of smoke by hotel staff, the police were asked to attend.
Police and members of the Fire and Emergency Services Association attended at the hotel. The deceased was not prepared to engage with any attempts to communicate with him and eventually police and fire officers decided the risk of fire was too great to continue with passive action. A decision was made to enter the room, which had been barricaded with items from the room on the inside. Two tactical police officers entered the room with a range of weapons directed towards a non-lethal outcome. They were unable to negotiate a barricade into the room to intervene between the deceased and the window. One tactical police officer used a shotgun with bean bag rounds in an attempt to dislodge a baton from the deceased’s hand. This was ineffective and the deceased moved further into the room. The police officer then fired two more bean bag rounds in an attempt to stop the deceased, without success.
The second tactical police officer then fired a Taser at the deceased with the same intention, but it did not make effective contact. The deceased approached the window and eye-witness accounts support the proposition he deliberately pulled himself/vaulted out of the open window and fell to his death below, where he was also severely burnt by fire.
The Coroner concluded the deceased had obtained a quantity of methylamphetamine and had barricaded himself in a hotel room where he intended to die in dramatic circumstances, but did not intend others to be physically harmed by his actions.
The Coroner found the actions of the police officers were warranted and lethal force was not used because the police officers’ intention at all times was to save him from himself and prevent fire from spreading throughout the hotel.
The Coroner found the deceased died on 12 April 2012 at Novotel Perth Langley Hotel as a result of multiple injuries in a man with methylamphetamine effect and death occurred by way of suicide.
Catch Words : Suicide in police presence : Methylamphetamine use : Non-lethal use of force by Police : Suicide.
Last updated: 18-Nov-2016
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