Mum to visit farm where daughter was crushed to death

·3-min read

The grieving mother of a German backpacker who died at a Queensland avocado farm plans to visit the site where her daughter lost her life in her search for answers.

Jennifer Kohl, 27, was crushed to death when the ride-on mower she was riding with her then-boyfriend rolled on a slope while they were working at Mt Tamborine Avocados in December 2017.

Almost six years after the fatal accident, Jennifer's mother Cornelia has made the journey from Germany as an inquest into her daughter's death is held in Southport.

An emotional Mrs Kohl fought back tears as she learnt of the final moments of her daughter's life just four days after she celebrated her 27th birthday during what should have been the trip of a lifetime.

"Since Jennifer's death, I have needed psychological treatment. I suffer from nightmares and cannot tolerate stress. I find it difficult to do even simple tasks; I sleep poorly, can't concentrate and have lost all motivation," her mother told the Coroners Court in a written statement.

"I can only work for short periods, find little joy, and avoid people."

Each day remains a battle for the aged care nurse as she grapples with the loss of a cherished and longed-for daughter.

"From the very beginning, she was very independent and knew her own mind; at eight months, she pushed my hand away when she started to walk.

"She made her own way. She knew exactly what she wanted to achieve and persisted in pursuing her goals."

Jennifer eventually became a florist, with her love of nature filling her home with plants and flowers.

"Jenny's soul is still present in my heart and my thoughts, and I still feel that connection to her," Mrs Kohl said.

"Although she is buried in Germany, a part of her is still in Australia, and I never got the chance to say goodbye.

"That is why I cannot wait to go to the farm where Jennifer died. I believe that I will feel that connection very strongly there."

Jennifer and her boyfriend Paul Tunik came to Australia in February 2017, picking fruit and working odd jobs to pay for their year-long backpacking adventure.

But after 10 months away, Jennifer was ready to go home.

"On her birthday, we spoke on the telephone and I told her that I missed her, and loved her, and wanted her home soon," Mrs Kohl said.

"Jennifer had told me that she wanted to come home to Germany. Her year in Australia would have been over in February 2018 and she was planning to end her relationship with Paul Tunik and return to Germany alone, while he continued travelling to New Zealand."

Four days later, Jennifer and Paul went to pick avocados at a farm in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Paul was driving - Jennifer wasn't keen to get behind the wheel of the tractor used to take the fruit back to the packing shed.

The court was told Paul was travelling down the slope toward the avocado trees when he lost control and the mower overturned, trapping Jennifer underneath.

Paul could not lift the mower to free Jennifer, who suffered catastrophic injuries and paramedics were dispatched to the wrong address.

A German-born paramedic was one of the first responders and told the court Paul was frantic.

"He was so distraught - even in German, he could barely form a single sentence," the paramedic told the court.

Resuscitation attempts failed, and Jennifer died at the scene.

Coroner Carol Lee hopes to determine what caused the mower to roll and whether employers implemented appropriate workplace health and safety measures for mower use on the property.

She will also explore whether the delay in dispatching emergency services could have been avoided.

beyondblue 1300 22 4636