36 key points from the coronial inquest into Kirra’s death
THE three-day coronial inquest into the suspicious July 2014 death of 27-year-old Gympie region mother Kirra McLoughlin uncovered a huge amount of information, recollections and accusations through testimonies given by nearly 30 witnesses.
On July 17 emergency services were called to Ms McLoughlin’s property on Beenham Valley Rd in Wolvi, and paramedics found her unconscious at the scene.
Ms McLoughlin was rushed to Gympie Hospital for treatment and airlifted from there to the Gold Coast University Hospital, but died the next day of a traumatic brain injury.
Her body had 105 bruises or signs of injury according to a 27-page autopsy report conducted after she died.
CATCH UP ON THE INQUEST HERE
- Kirra’s ’agitated’ then-boyfriend had dark history
- Kirra had no chance of survival when she got to hospital
- He would often ‘fly into a rage’, take drugs and drink booze
- Kirra’s partner confessed to attacking her, inquest hears
- Neighbours heard screams from Kirra’s house, inquest hears
The inquest was adjourned to an unspecified date on Friday afternoon. Here’s a recap of 36 key points we learned:
1. During his testimony, one detective who worked on the investigation into Ms McLoughlin’s death told the court Ms McLoughlin’s partner at the time of her death had a history of domestic violence against women, including her.
2. Detectives and police involved with the case alleged phone calls were made by the man between the time Ms McLoughlin was critically injured late on July 16 and when she was first taken to Gympie Hospital on the afternoon on July 17.
3. Officers gave evidence relating to several indentations allegedly found on the walls of the house where Ms McLoughlin suffered her critical injuries, and flecks of red paint in various locations, the same paint also allegedly found on her body.
4. A paramedic who responded to the scene and transported Ms McLoughlin to hospital told the court her partner was at first agitated and made rapid movements when they arrived at the house.
5. The paramedic told the court he remembered telling the man to calm down because of an initial perceived threat.
6. Ms McLoughlin’s brain injuries were so catastrophic that her situation was “unsalvageable” by the time she reached Gympie Hospital, the inquest heard on day one.
7. One medical expert used a database to tell the court Ms McLoughlin had a 50 per cent chance of death and 75 per cent chance of an “unfavourable outcome” within 14 days of the point paramedics arrived at her home on July 17.
8. He told the inquest her chance of survival were all but gone by the time she got to Gympie Hospital, with the probability jumping to 90 and 95 per cent respectively.
9. Family lawyer Peter Boyce submitted that Ms McLoughlin would have had a much better chance of survival had she been taken to hospital around the time she reportedly went to bed at 3:30am on July 17. The witness agreed, estimating just a 5 per cent chance of death and 20 per cent chance of “unfavourable outcome” after 14 days had this been the case.
10. The paramedic told the court he had responded to an emergency call made by Ms McLoughlin’s de facto partner saying she had overdosed on antidepressant medication.
11. Detective Sergeant Robert Lowry told the court he went to Ms McLoughlin’s Beenham Valley Rd property on July 17 and was met by her partner at the time.
12. Sgt Lowry told the court he had formed the opinion that there was “some form of struggle” in the toilet area of the house, due to the presence of paint and fresh dust from a hole apparently created by the toilet door swinging open.
13. Ms McLoughlin’s partner’s mother told the court he was “very stressed”, wouldn’t get in the car and kept saying he had blood on him on the night Ms McLoughlin sustained the critical head injuries that killed her.
14. The mother of Ms McLoughlin’s partner told the court she had come to pick him and some of his family members up from the Beenham Valley Rd home where there had been a fight earlier on the night of July 16.
15. The woman detailed that her son returned to the house later that night to be with Ms McLoughlin, and that in a phone call she could hear both of them saying that “everything was fine”. She said she had a clear recollection of hearing Ms McLoughlin’s voice on that call.
16. The woman agreed with submissions that her son had a history of domestic violence towards not only Ms McLoughlin but his other partners, but maintained that in each case they had also been violent to him.
17. She said “they were as bad as each other” in reference to her son and Ms McLoughlin’s relationship.
18. The man’s sister also gave evidence, detailing a fistfight she had been in with Ms McLoughlin on the night of July 16.
19. She said she punched Ms McLoughlin in the head four times, but was not sure where exactly she had landed the blows.
20. She told the court she had struggled to sleep since the night Ms McLaughlin suffered her injuries because she couldn’t live with the possibility that she had caused her death.
21. She also said her brother had told her “you didn’t do it” in a conversation they had some time after Ms McLoughlin’s death.
22. Expert neurosurgeon Terry Coyne gave evidence, laying out seven possible scenarios as to how Ms McLoughlin sustained her injuries and ultimately died.
23. Dr Coyne opined in the inquest that Ms McLoughlin’s fatal injury was most likely caused by a more “major” force than the fight described to police.
24. A former girlfriend of Ms McLoughlin’s de facto partner told the inquest he would often “fly into a rage” and attack her verbally and physically throughout their long-term relationship.
25. She told the court her former partner had an extensive history of domestic violence in their relationship, which would often begin with verbal abuse and accusations of cheating.
26. He would regularly push her, grab her around the throat, punch her in the face, and push her head and face into walls, the inquest heard.
27. Ms McLoughlin’s partner would later admit to another girlfriend that he had attacked her “in a violent rage” the night she suffered her critical brain injuries, the court heard.
28. The woman told the court her boyfriend had confessed to shaking Ms McLoughlin’s head against either the floor or wall of her Beenham Valley Rd home at some point between late at night on July 16, and early the next morning.
29. She told the court the man did not show her how he had shook Ms McLoughlin, just that he was “in a violent rage” and indicated he had shaken her more than once.
30. The man allegedly told the woman Ms McLoughlin was “fine” after that incident, and that they had made love and gone to sleep afterwards.
31. He allegedly told her he had woken up early on the morning of July 17 and noticed Ms McLoughlin had urinated on herself, and when he was unable to wake her up he took off all her clothes and put her in the shower.
32. The man allegedly told her he had called someone else and asked them what to do, before eventually calling an ambulance that would later rush Ms McLoughlin to Gympie Hospital.
33. She said the man would cry “all the time” when talking about Ms McLoughlin.
34. Multiple neighbours told the court of hearing loud banging and crashing noises, as well as a woman screaming, coming from Ms McLoughlin’s house on the night of July 16.
35. One neighbour told the court the screaming sounded “very stressed” and “obviously someone fearing for her life”.
36. Ms McLoughlin’s partner did not give evidence at the inquest, but is expected to be called when proceedings resume at a later date.