Man shot by police devastated after loss of son
THE partner of a man fatally shot by police in 2017 has told a coroner's inquest he was extremely proud and supportive of his four children but had been unable to come to terms with the tragic and sudden loss of his son.
Amanda Skinner read a victim impact statement in Grafton Coroner's Court yesterday during the inquest into the death of Christopher McGrail, who had confronted police with a knife when they arrived at a unit on Turf St following reports of a disturbance on August 6, 2017.
Ms Skinner said in the 23 years since they first met in 1994 they had been in an off-and-on-again relationship, but said Mr McGrail was the love of her life.
"That's not to say that life wasn't a struggle," she said.
Ms Skinner said Mr McGrail was passionate about supporting their four children, ensuring they could go on family holidays together and celebrate special occasions, something Ms Skinner was unable to do in her own childhood.
"He always tried to make up for lost time and said kids should always have both parents in their lives," Ms Skinner told the court.
However, after their son Clinton McGrail-Skinner took his own life at age 18 in 2015, Ms Skinner said Mr McGrail "just seemed to give up" and his drug use spiralled out of control and she saw his mental health deteriorate.
Ms Skinner said at the time of their son's death, Mr McGrail was incarcerated and that he never had the chance to say goodbye properly, which deeply affected him.
"I know Chris was proud of his kids, who were his everything," Ms Skinner said.
"Chris was in pain after Clinton died, but he is not suffering any more."
Ms Skinner said she hoped the inquest would result in more help being available for people like Mr McGrail, and increased mental health training for frontline police.
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