Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Ryan Philip SCRIVENER

Inquest into the Death of Ryan Philip SCRIVENER

Delivered on : 17 December 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations : Yes

I recommend that the Honourable Minister for Police give consideration to providing funding to the WA Police to provide a secondary 24/7 On-Call negotiator service, including the allocation of a vehicle for the second negotiator, as a priority.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : Yes

On the basis it would be contrary to the public interest, I make an order that there be no reporting or publication of:

  1. The name, picture or any other identifying feature of the witnesses Operator 42 and Operator 23;
  2. The decision-making criteria, response times, resourcing and any other operational aspects of the WA Police Force Tactical Response Group; and
  3. The methodologies, response times or resourcing of the WA Police Force Tactical Response Group Negotiations Unit.

Summary : The deceased prior to his death was in a hostage situation with police after refusing to leave his former partner’s house. The deceased failed to engage with police negotiators which made it difficult to know what the deceased’s intentions were.

The primary focus of the inquest was ultimately on the circumstances of the siege in order to determine whether there was a missed opportunity to prevent the death, particularly in relation to the offer made by family and friends to assist in the negotiation.

On 28 February 2016 the deceased’s former partner believed the deceased was in her house and she called police to attend at the residence as she did not wish to speak with the deceased. An interim Violence Restraining Order against the deceased had been made but was yet to be served on the deceased, however, the deceased was aware of the existence of the VRO. Four police officers arrived at the house and spoke to the deceased who communicated to the police not to try and enter the house. Police officers did try to enter the house through the front door and garage door, in order to serve the VRO, but it became apparent that the deceased had effectively barricaded himself into the house and police were unable to gain entry. Additional assistance was called by police.

Two operators from the Tactical Response Group attended and had obtained written permission from the owner to enter her property and attempt to serve the deceased with the VRO. As police entered the house they saw the deceased and then heard a shotgun being actioned. The deceased called out to the police to get out of the house and asked for his friend to come and collect his personal belongings before he would come out. Police officers immediately withdrew.

A police negotiator attempted to encourage the deceased to come out of the house peacefully, but he refused. The deceased was sending text messages to his former partner, family and friends suggesting he was thinking of committing suicide. Sometime later police officers heard a noise in the house. When police forced entry to the house sometime after, they found the deceased on a couch with a shotgun in his hand resting on his lap and severe injuries to his head. A post mortem examination found the deceased had died from a shotgun injury to the head.

The Coroner found the evidence at the inquest demonstrated that having a second negotiator available for immediate attendance would assist with dealing with family and friends requests to provide information and assistance, and also to provide support to the primary negotiator. The Coroner made one recommendation for a secondary 24/7 On-Call negotiator service which would provide improved assistance to a primary negotiator at a siege situation.

Catch Words : Violence Restraining Order : Methylamphetamine drug use : Police Negotiating tools : Police Siege Situation : Suicide

Last updated: 9-Jul-2020

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