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Widow slams police over 'disgraceful' ambush probe

Six years ago Susie Forte listened helplessly as her husband's fatal shooting unfolded on police radio.

However, Mrs Forte says she has not had the chance to grieve after questioning a "disgraceful" Queensland Police probe into her husband's death.

Senior Constable Brett Forte, 42, and his police partner were "sitting ducks" when Ricky Maddison lured them down a dirt road and opened fire with a machine gun in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, on May 29, 2017.

Delivering his inquest findings, coroner Terry Ryan on Tuesday said several systemic factors may have contributed to Sen Const Forte's death and it was possible the shooting could have been prevented.

Mrs Forte, who is also a police officer, was on duty the day her husband was killed.

"The emotional torture I have been subjected to has worsened by my husband being murdered over the police radio," she said outside Brisbane's Coroners Court on Tuesday.

Mrs Forte said her husband's death was preventable and she had no doubt another officer would be killed in the near future, accusing Queensland Police of a cover up.

"The police investigation into my husband's death has been nothing short of disgraceful and not impartial," she said.

"Many issues I asked questions about continue to be swept under the carpet and there is no doubt an incident like this will happen again in the near future as the problems have not been rectified."

Mrs Forte said she and her husband's partner, Senior Constable Cath Nielsen, suffered ongoing bullying, intimidation, threats, gas lighting and manipulation from police colleagues after asking questions about the shooting.

"Instead of revealing the truth and owning up to what went wrong in the lead-up to my husband's death and what could have been done better, the motive of their investigation appears to have been to have Cath and I portrayed as vindictive or crazy," she said.

"I now know why honest officers in the QPS do not speak up."

Mr Ryan said Mrs Forte and Sen Const Nielsen had raised "legitimate concerns".

However, he noted a senior sergeant had filed complaints for perjury and failing to report misconduct after Sen Const Nielsen gave evidence and Mrs Forte provided a statement during the inquest.

"Both women were victims of serious criminal offending and were entitled to be treated accordingly," Mr Ryan said.

"It was ill advised for complaints to be made against either woman."

A mother-of-three, Mrs Forte said she had worried about "what complaint is going to be thrown at me next" by Queensland Police since she spoke out.

"I am sad. I am drained. I have not had the chance to even grieve my husband's death as I feel I have had to be one step ahead 24-7," she said.

Maddison, 40, had been hiding on a rural property for almost three months, avoiding an arrest warrant for a domestic violence incident.

Police spotted his vehicle in Toowoomba and followed him on the Warrego Highway before Maddison stopped suddenly on a dirt road, peppering Sen Const Forte's car with bullets.

Sen Const Forte reversed but the vehicle rolled, trapping him and his partner inside.

Officers smashed the patrol car's windscreen to drag Sen Const Forte to safety, but it was too late.

Maddison was later shot dead after being warned to surrender more than 80 times during a 20-hour siege.

Mr Ryan described the absence of an overall tactical command during the police pursuit as a "significant failure of leadership".

"Unfortunately the confrontation was left to evolve on Mr Maddison's terms," he said.

"Snr Const Forte and Snr Const Nielsen were ... sitting ducks."

The inquest that started in 2021 heard the Toowoomba tactical crime squad had been looking for Maddison, while Gatton police had received reports of automatic gunfire in the area before the shooting.

Mr Ryan said a more proactive approach by Gatton police could have led to Maddison's arrest before the fatal showdown.