Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Anandakumar SELLAKATHIRKGAMAN

Inquest into the Death of Anandakumar SELLAKATHIRKGAMAN

Delivered on : 8 September 2016

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased was a 38 year old Sri Lankan man who came to Australia by boat to seek asylum in Australia. He was initially detained then released on a bridging visa. At the time of his death the deceased was living in Perth with his younger brother and six other Sri Lankan men. While in detention concerns were raised regarding the deceased’s mental health and his ability to manage his own affairs. Arrangements were made that he would be supported by the Australian Red Cross upon his release from the detention centre. 

While being held in various detention centres the deceased was able to regularly access care from mental health professionals.  However, upon release the deceased’s mental health did not improve but deteriorated until he became actively suicidal.  Just after Christmas 2012 the deceased acted on his thoughts and was found trying to hang himself, which resulted in him being taken to Armadale Hospital for psychiatric assessment. He was assessed as no longer being acutely suicidal and deemed suitable for discharge with community follow-up.

The deceased did not receive any further medical treatment or care after his discharge from Armadale Hospital.  While left alone a few days later the deceased took the opportunity to hang himself. The deceased was discovered and resuscitation was attempted but he died a few days later having sustained severe hypoxic brain injury.

The Coroner heard evidence that the deceased’s case is not an isolated event. There have been similar incidents of self-harm by people engaged in the asylum seeking process while living in the community. The Coroner was advised by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that since the death of the deceased the Department have actively taken steps to improve mental health service, both within the Department and in conjunction with their service providers.

The Coroner found the deceased died on 4 January 2013 at Fremantle Hospital as a result of hypoxic brain injury and organ failure following compression of the neck (hanging) and death occurred by way of suicide.

Catch Words : Mental Health care provided to asylum seekers : Suicide.

Last updated: 27-Feb-2024

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