Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Patricia (Tricia) Alicia REVELL

Inquest into the Death of Patricia (Tricia) Alicia REVELL

Delivered on :30 May 2018

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased at the time of her death lived with her parents and baby sister at Zanthus, a remote outpost on the Trans-Australian rail about 200 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie. She was 2 years 10 months’ old.

On 20 July 1978 the deceased mother put the two children to bed in their bedroom. Both children slept together end to end in a single bed.  The house had an open fire which was lit that night.  The deceased’s mother left the home to go to the neighbours’ house.  Both children were asleep when she left.  The deceased’s mother returned to check on the children who were still sleeping and the fire was still burning but down to embers.  The deceased’s mother then returned to the neighbours’ house.

A short time later the power at the neighbours’ house began to fluctuate and when members of the group went outside to investigate they discovered that the house in which the deceased was sleeping was on fire. The deceased’s parents ran to their house and the deceased’s mother climbed into the house through a window.  She managed to find the deceased’s sister and passed her outside to safety.  The deceased’s mother then searched for the deceased until she was forced to leave the house due to the intensity of the heat and smoke.

Local people assisted to try and put the fire out but there was no effective firefighting equipment as the mains power had tripped out, which stopped the town water pump from operating. The house was made of wood, asbestos and iron and quickly burnt to the ground.

Despite extensive searching of the remains of the house and surrounding areas of bush the deceased has not been found and there has been no evidence to indicate a child had wandered from the house into the bush area. Various bone remnants and ashes have been tested but none are identifiable as relating to the deceased.  An expert concluded it was likely her remains were incinerated due to the intensity of the fire.

At the conclusion of the inquest the Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that the deceased died in the fire on 20 July 1978 and her remains were incinerated. The Coroner was unable to determine how the deceased died and so the manner of death is unascertained.  The Coroner found death occurred as a result of accident.

Catchwords : Missing : Fire : Accident

Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

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