Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Ms B (Name Subject to Suppression Order)

Inquest into the Death of Ms B (Name Subject to Suppression Order)

Please Note the Coroner's findings have been redacted to comply with the Suppression Order

Delivered on : 13 April 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Urquhart

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : Yes

Suppression of the deceased’s name from publication and any evidence likely to lead to her identification.  The deceased is to be referred to as Ms B.

That there be no reporting or publication of the details of any of the versions of the WAPF’s “Police Emergency Driving Policy and Guidelines”, including, but not limited to, any cap on the speed in which police officers are authorised to drive.

Summary : On 25 May 2019, Ms B was a passenger in a stolen car which collided with a steel barrier and caught fire.  Ms B was 40 years old. At the time of the collision, the driver of the stolen car (the offender) was evading two police officers from the WA Police Force who were travelling in a marked police car.  Accordingly, an inquest into Ms B’s death is mandatory, pursuant to section 22(1)(b) of the Coroners Act 1996 (WA), in order to investigate whether her death was caused, or contributed to, by any action of a member of the Western Australia Police Force.  

At approximately 10.15 am on 25 May 2019, the offender noticed a red Ferrari 360 parked outside a coffee shop in Hay Street.  The keys had been left in the vehicle by the owner. The offender has stolen the red Ferrari and driven the car and picked up Ms B.  There is no evidence that suggests Ms B knew or suspected that the car she was travelling in had been stolen. The offender has stopped the red Ferrari at a red traffic light at the intersection of Vincent Street and Charles Street in North Perth. At that time, two police officers have been undertaking patrol duties in a marked police vehicle, when they have noticed the red Ferrari at the traffic lights. Police communications had earlier alerted police that a red Ferrari had been stolen and after conducting a vehicle check, it was confirmed that the red Ferrari was the stolen vehicle. The police vehicle pulled up alongside the red Ferrari and the two police officers began to leave their vehicle to arrest the driver of the red Ferrari. The offender has then revved the engine of the red Ferrari and drove forward, colliding with the rear of the car in front. The offender has then mounted the kerb of the median strip on Vincent Street, and began accelerating heavily on the wrong side of the road on Vincent Street towards the intersection of Charles Street.

The initial police officers who had been attempting to apprehend the offender commenced following the Red Ferrari. There was also another police vehicle in the same vicinity that was in the process of attending to provide assistance. The red Ferrari has contravened the red traffic light at the intersection of Vincent Street and Charles Street. The offender then lost control  and the red Ferrari has struck the kerb in Vincent Street, travelling partially onto the footpath before heavily impacting a steel barrier. This caused the red Ferrari to immediately explode into flames after it has then bounced back onto the lanes of Vincent Street. The fire has destroyed the car. After the collision, the offender has managed to get out of the car, having suffered some burns. He was arrested at the scene. Ms B was trapped inside the red Ferrari and due to the intense heat of the fire, responding police officers were unable to get close enough to the car to extinguish the fire or attempt to retrieve Ms B.

The offender was charged and pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court of Western Australia to the following offences: Ms B’s manslaughter, stealing a motor vehicle, driving while impaired by methylamphetamine and driving without the holder of a valid driver’s licence and having been disqualified from holding a driver’s license due to fine suspension. On 14 July 2020, the offender was sentenced to a term of 10 years and 6 months imprisonment.

The Coroner concluded that two of the police officers involved in the attempted arrest of the offender were in breach of the relevant WAPF Policy regarding Emergency Driving with respect to their driving in the moments before the crash that killed Ms B. However, those breaches did not cause or contribute to the crash. The Coroner found the person solely responsible for Ms B’s death was the offender.

The Coroner found Ms B died from her injuries and the manner of her death was unlawful homicide.

Catch Words : Evade Police Intercept : Stolen Vehicle : Breach of Driving Policy : Unlawful Homicide

Last updated: 18-Jul-2022

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