Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Gary John LYDDIETH

Inquest into the Death of Gary John LYDDIETH

Delivered on : 30 January 2018

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Vicker

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased has not been seen or heard from since he was reported missing on 7 May 2014. He was 54 years of age.

The deceased had planned a surfing/holiday trip to Red Bluff on the north west coast of Western Australia with a close friend. The plan was to meet at Carnarvon Airport on 6 May 2014 after the deceased had driven from Melbourne and his friend had flown from Darwin.  The deceased’s friend arrived at the Carnarvon Airport as arranged, but was not met by the deceased.

The deceased had suffered significant attempted suicides with multiple admissions to Frankston Hospital through 2012 and had attempted suicide twice while in hospital. The deceased attempted to stabilise his life over the summer of 2013/2014 but was again admitted to Beleura Private Hospital on 10 April 2014.  The deceased was planning a new life in Western Australia and he left the hospital on 25 April 2014.  Following discharge from Beleura Mental Health facility in Victoria the deceased had breakfast with his family on 26 April 2014 as a send-off for his planned trip.  He left after breakfast in his Nissan Campervan.

The deceased was seen on the morning of 3 May 2014 by two police officers in Meekatharra when he approached them and asked for directions from Meekatharra to Gascoyne Junction. The deceased was provided with directions on a map.  A police office made checks of the deceased’s vehicle which appears to be well equipped to undertake the journey.  Police who spoke with the deceased found nothing unusual about his demeanour, although they considered his speech to be a little strange.  Police investigations indicate the deceased was still in Meekatharra on the 3 May 2014.

When the deceased was reported missing on 7 May 2014 police initiated serious checks in the Carnarvon, Gascoyne Junction, Meekatharra and Landor areas. It did not provoke any serious land searches, however the deceased’s friend commenced search for the deceased and the deceased’s family travelled from the east and commenced searches of their own between Carnarvon and Meekatharra.

On 9 August 2014 a prospector was out prospecting in the area of Mt Gascoyne when he came across a white Nissan van parked along a creek. The Nissan van appeared to be bogged.  The prospector recognised the campervan from posters he had been shown by relatives of the deceased.  The prospector advised police of the location of the campervan.  There was no sign of the deceased.

The Deputy State Coroner was satisfied on the evidence the deceased suffered extreme fluctuations in his mental state, overlying his serious depressive disorder and medical evidence suggested the deceased would always remain as a chronic high risk of suiciding. The Deputy State Coroner noted when things were going well for the deceased and he was stable on his medication he was not acutely at risk.

The Deputy State Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt the deceased has died, she was unable to determine how, when or where the deceased met his death. Accordingly the Deputy State Coroner made an Open Finding as to the manner of death of the deceased.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Mental Illness : Open Finding.

Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

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