Inquest hearing into watch house deaths

Cheryl Goodenough
·2-min read

Queensland Police are set to investigate procedures in watch houses, a pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of two women in custody has been told.

The police commissioner is preparing to undertake an inquiry into custody arrangements in watch houses, special counsel assisting the coroner Alana Martens said in Brisbane's Coroners Court on Thursday.

The hearing was held ahead of an inquest into the deaths of 49-year-old Shiralee Tilberoo in Brisbane City Watch House in September as well as Vlasta Wylucki, who died in the Southport Watch House in 2018.

Ms Marten said she understood the police inquiry would be "more widespread than the two individual circumstances" referred to during Thursday's hearing, but the terms of reference are yet to be finalised.

Ms Tilberoo - known as Aunty Sherry - was due to be transferred to prison after being charged over drug and property matters on September 6, but was found dead in her cell four days later.

Preliminary police investigations found "deficiencies" in that some checks on Ms Tilberoo did not meet requirements, Ms Marten told deputy state coroner Jane Bentley.

Investigators are looking at numerous issues including whether logs of physical checks correlate with evidence in CCTV footage.

Their report is likely to be completed in about 10 months.

Ms Wylucki, who was 50 at the time of her death, suffered from mental health and alcohol addiction issues, Ms Marten said.

She was regarded as a model prisoner by Southport Watch House staff who knew her well.

Ms Wylucki was described as being in good spirits and not as intoxicated as on some prior occasions when she arrived in the Southport Watch House on February 28, 2018.

She was declared dead about 6.30am the following day after an officer tried to wake prisoners to have a shower.

Both Ms Tilberoo and Ms Wylucki's deaths were caused by medical conditions.

Ms Tilberoo's nephew Troy Jungaji Brady said the family hopes the inquest will determine "what went wrong".

"We want to find out the truth," he told reporters outside the court.

"We just want to make sure that similar cases don't occur in the future, or at least are minimised to some degree."

A decision is yet to be made as to whether the inquests will be held jointly.

A date is yet to be set, with another pre-inquest hearing likely.