Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca cell death inquest findings handed down

The findings of an inquest into the death of a man who died in Echuca Police Station cells in 2009 were handed down in Melbourne today.

TRENT HORNEMAN March 18, 2014 4:15pm

A Victorian coroner wants Victoria Police to be better resourced to handle vulnerable people in custody.

Coroner Jacinta Heffey today handed down her findings (available here) at the Coroner's Court of Victoria in Melbourne on the death of Stephen Arthur Nitt, 45, in Echuca Police Station’s cells in 2009.

Ms Heffey criticised police for allowing Mr Niit, who was intoxicated at the time, to leave his cell open into an exercise yard because of heat and to allow his dog into custody with a leash and muzzle.

Mr Niit used the leash and his shirt to hang himself from the cell door.

Ms Heffey said Mr Niit’s death served as a reminder for police to strictly adhere to police guidelines for keeping people in custody.

She also wanted police to be better resourced to recognise vulnerable people in custody, as well as those drug and alcohol affected.

See tomorrow’s Riverine Herald for full details of the coroner’s findings.

Please note the online link to the full coroner's report contains detail which may disturb some people. 

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