FULL COVERAGE: Inquest into 2011 death at Iluka

THURSDAY: DAY four of the coronial inquest into the 2011 death of a woman on an Iluka beach has gone behind closed doors.

During a brief open session at Grafton Courthouse this afternoon, NSW Coroner Michael Barnes granted an application for the evidence of a person of sufficient interest, Paul Maris, to be heard in closed court.

The inquest is continuing.

WEDNESDAY: TWO ambulance paramedics sensed there was something suspicious about the scene on Ten Mile Beach after they responded to an emergency call in January 2011.

David Jeffrey and Adam Jarrett were called out early on January 27 to attend to a woman in cardiac arrest.

They arrived at the beach, north of Iluka, just before 7am but found the woman was already dead.

Giving evidence to the coronial inquiry into the woman's death being held at Grafton Courthouse, Mr Jeffrey said when he examined the woman he found no pulse or breathing, and her pupils were fixed and dilated.

"After establishing she was deceased I thought the scene was suspicious and didn't touch the body further," he said.

Mr Jeffrey was concerned by the fact the woman was naked, there were heel drag marks from the water's edge, and there was a large blood clot on the sand up to five metres from the body.

Mr Jarrett thought the woman had been dead for an hour or more.

He remembered a troop carrier-style vehicle seemed to be parked on a pile of debris that had been burnt and covered with sand.

He described one of the men at the scene wearing jeans with what seemed like fresh blood on them.

"Nothing to me made sense," he said.

Mr Jeffrey described two men he spoke to at the scene as appearing "emotionally shocked", "stressed", with "vacant stares" and "pacing around".

"They didn't talk to each other," he said.

One of the men, who he described as short and stocky, wanted to be taken to hospital, Mr Jeffrey said.

"He had told me he was uncomfortable being there."

Earlier the court heard 000 calls that lasted for more than 40 minutes.

The caller told the emergency service, "She just stopped breathing."

"We're trying to resuscitate her, it's not working."

The 000 staff member gave the two men at the scene instructions in how to conduct CPR and encouraged them to keep trying.

One of the men could be hear to say, "F****ing hell, Pauly. C'mon babe, c'mon wake up, where are you."

Rural property manager Nicholas Miller, who was staying at the Black Rock campground, said he saw flames on the beach when he looked for a fishing spot about 5.30am on January 27.

About an hour later a man drove to where he was and asked him to come and help try to revive the woman.

Mr Miller said when he arrived at the scene it looked like the woman had recently been dragged out of the water.

He noticed the vehicle had been parked where the fire had been.

"I thought it was strange. If you've got someone in need you're not going to put the fire out," he said.

The inquest continues.

TUESDAY: A WOMAN whose body was found on Ten Mile Beach in January 2011 died from blood loss but the question of how her injuries came about remains to be answered.

The woman died some time on January 26 or 27 after spending the night on the beach north of Iluka following Australia Day activities.

Forensic pathologist Dr Allan Cala carried out the autopsy and told the coronial inquest into the death, held in Grafton Courthouse yesterday, that he concluded the woman had died from blood loss caused by 'blunt force general tract trauma'.

He also told the inquiry the woman was a "seasoned drinker" who had a blood alcohol level of 0.303.

"Her alcohol level was almost into the fatal range for many people," he said.

The cause of the woman's injuries and the subsequent blood loss dominated a day in which three doctors presented evidence.

The inquest heard the injuries - a 120mm laceration inside her vagina and a 45mm laceration outside her vagina - occurred as a result of sexual activity, with different scenarios of exactly what actions caused the injuries presented to the court.

Giving evidence by video link, Dr Catherine Lincoln, deputy director of the Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit on the Gold Coast, said the woman would have suffered significant bleeding from the lacerations.

"Both injuries would have bled profusely because of the highly vascular nature of the area," she said.

Dr Lincoln said the external injury would have been associated with significant pain and that the amount of alcohol consumed may have affected the woman's reaction to the pain as well as her blood's ability to clot at the injury sites.

"She should have had to be intoxicated to the point of a comatose state to not have experienced pain when she suffered the external injury."

The larger internal injury would not have caused as much pain and the woman may not have been aware of it, but the large amount of blood vessels in the vagina meant the bleeding would probably have been more profuse.

"They were life-threatening injuries," Dr Lincoln said.

The nature of the bleeding meant the woman would have known it was different to usual menstrual bleeding, she said.

Dr Lincoln said a wound at the back of the woman's right knee may have been cause by her body being moved and dragged across a metal surface.

Under questioning from Michelle Herrmann, counsel for one of two men named as persons of significant interest in the case, Dr Lincoln said clotting at the site of the wounds could have been dislodged if the woman was a passenger in a car going over rough terrain, but was more likely to do with a "penetrative event".

She said she was not able to tell when bruising to the woman's upper thighs had occurred, and could have happened days earlier.

The wound on the back of the knee could also have been caused by a stick or branch.

Dr Peter Bland, clinical senior lecturer in obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology at the Northern Clinical School in Sydney, said he was surprised by claims the woman had walked to the ocean.

"Shortly after she may have been able to walk to the water," he said, "but if someone is about to die from hypovolemia (a state of decreased blood volume) I would be very surprised if they could walk along the beach."

Dr Bland said in the dark it would have been hard for the woman to know how much blood she had lost.

NSW Coroner Michael Barnes yesterday issued a non-publication order on the name of the deceased or anything identifying her.

The inquest continues at Grafton Courthouse today.

MONDAY: THREE-and-a-half years after a woman was found dead on Ten Mile Beach, north of Iluka, the search for answers returned to that strip of sand yesterday.

The coronial inquest into the woman's death on January 26 or 27, 2011, was taken to the area surrounding where her body was found on the morning of the 27th.

NSW coroner Michael Barnes was shown four sites - two on the beach, one at Shark Bay and one at the Black Rock camping ground.

The inquest then formally began with a brief session at Grafton Courthouse and will resume this morning when medical evidence will be given.

The inquest is scheduled to run until Friday, with 25 witnesses listed to give evidence.

The woman had camped overnight on the beach with two men, about 1km north of the vehicle access at Shark Bay, following Australia Day celebrations, and was found dead the following morning.

Earlier in the investigation police said they believed alcohol was consumed by the woman and the men, and it is expected the inquiry will establish if that played any part in her death.

Two men were charged in 2011, one with manslaughter and one with being an accessory, but in March 2012 the director of public prosecutions dropped the charges.

EARLY MONDAY: AN inquest into the death of a mother of seven on Ten Mile Beach, north of Iluka, in January 2011 is due to open at Grafton Courthouse today.

The body of a woman was found in dunes on the beach on the morning of January 27, 2011.

She had camped overnight on the beach following Australia Day celebrations.

An extensive police investigation followed and manslaughter and accessory to manslaughter charges were laid against two men in April 2011.

The Department of Public Prosecutions dropped the charges in March 2012.

The Daily Examiner editor David Moase will be at the inquest, and will provide updates on Twitter (@davmoa) when he can.



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