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Dad’s plea for daughter killed in Africa

Melbourne woman Elly Warren was found dead in Mozambique. Picture: Supplied
Melbourne woman Elly Warren was found dead in Mozambique. Picture: Supplied

The father of a young woman found dead in a beachside African village has urged a coroner to find his daughter was murdered.

Elly Warren, 20, had spent six weeks volunteering with marine researchers in Mozambique and was just days from returning home to Melbourne when her life was cut short in November 2016.

Her body was found by local fisherman in village of Tofo outside a toilet block.

Earlier this year, Victorian state coroner Judge John Cain held a three-day coronial inquest into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Elly Warren was found dead in Mozambique’s Tofo Beach in the early hours of November 9, 2016. Picture: Supplied.
Elly Warren was found dead in Mozambique’s Tofo Beach in the early hours of November 9, 2016. Picture: Supplied.

It is suspected Ms Warren died of asphyxia after inhaling sand, found by medical experts during autopsies.

Three autopsies were performed on her body; one in Mozambique, another in South Africa and the third in Australia, which provided conflicting reports on how she died.

The Mozambique autopsy ruled it a homicide but the Australian autopsy could not determine a cause of death — blamed on the condition of her body after the first autopsy.

The case returned on Monday, as Ms Warren’s father, Paul Warren, who has spent the past seven years trying to uncover the truth about his daughter’s death, asked Judge Cain to make a finding she was a victim of homicide.

Paul Warren has spent seven years trying to find the truth of his daughters death. Picture: Supplied.
Paul Warren has spent seven years trying to find the truth of his daughters death. Picture: Supplied.

He said the inquest had uncovered “highly suspicious” details about his daughters tragic death, pointing to her ripped clothes, “extremely high density” of sand packed down her airways and differences in the sand colour — which he believes is evidence her body was moved from the main beach to the toilet block.

“The fact that Elly’s body was moved is highly suspicious as it confirms the involvement of a third party,” he said.

“The photos show the truth; there was some sort of physical struggle before her death.”

He told the court he had looked through 60 years of Australian Bureau of Statistics records of deaths and hadn’t discovered “anyone who has just fallen over in the sand” and died.

“I consider this to be a highly unlikely factor that this had occurred,” he said.

The 20-year-old had been volunteering in Tofo, Mozambique. Picture: Supplied.
The 20-year-old had been volunteering in Tofo, Mozambique. Picture: Supplied.
Her dad has flown to the African nation seeking answers. Picture: Supplied.
Her dad has flown to the African nation seeking answers. Picture: Supplied.

He told the court he believed the Australian Federal Police had failed to failed to offer co-operation to the “poorly resourced” Mozambique authorities, and asked Judge Cain to make recommendations for “changes”.

“The family feels this deprived us of justice,” he said.

“There needs to be greater transparency for the families of australians who die suspiciously overseas.”

Australian authorities flew to Mozambique this year in a final attempt to gather more information regarding Ms Warren’s death.

During the inquest, the court was told Mozambique authorities had concluded her death was a homicide this year and “had suspects”.

In August, Ms Warren’s father, Paul, told media he missed his daughter “terribly” and believed her body was moved to “cast doubt”.

“She was a woman on a mission,” he said.

“She was very ambitious. She loved life. She was out there to enjoy life to the fullest.”