Mother’s desperate bid to retrace daughter’s last steps
THE mother of a German backpacker killed on a Gold Coast avocado farm has written a letter to the Prime Minister in a desperate bid to retrace her daughter's last steps.
Jennifer Kohl, 27, was on a ride-on lawnmower at a Mt Tamborine avocado farm when it flipped, pinning her to the ground in December 2017.
Farm hands and neighbours tried to save her, but she could not be revived.
Her mother, Cornelia Schroder, claims she has spent the past year trying to contact everyone she thought could help retrace her daughter's last moments - but had come up with dead ends.
She hoped writing to Prime Minister Scott Morrison could bring the plight of international backpackers to the fore and help her find answers to Jennifer's death.
In her November letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Schroder says communication with authorities was difficult because she is not fluent in English and still had many unanswered questions.
Some questions and claims include:
- Was the tractor she was riding investigated after the incident?
- Had she and her boyfriend been adequately trained in using the farm machinery?
- Why had Jennifer's phone and camera memory drives allegedly been wiped clean?
- Why was her boyfriend allowed to continue backpacking before the investigation was finished?
- What bank accounts did she have, had she been paid superannuation?
"I would like to get to know the places and people where she worked," Ms Schroder wrote in the letter.
"It is so important for me to finally be able to process everything. I hadn't seen my child for a year. The most important thing for me is to get to know the place where she was last.
"I don't know on which farms she worked, if the employers paid the superannuation. I suffer at the thought of her death.
"Since her tragic death I have tried desperately to find answers to her previous movements and conditions to her death …
"The owners to (sic) the Farm (Farmers) (sic) where my daughter was killed have not responded to my letters that I have sent in desperation to know how my daughter fared during her stay with them while they worked on their farm. I was never able to say good bye to my daughter.
" … I am her mother desperate for the last links to my daughter. Her messages, her photos, anything that I could see to feel close to her again. These items were the last link to my daughter that is why her belongings were important to me."
Ms Schroder said she was unable to fly to Australia at the time of her cremation due to financial issues and wished she could have been there at that time.
She has also contacted the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and English friends have helped to set up a Go Fund Me account in an effort to raise 2000 pounds so she could travel to Australia and speak to her friends, colleagues and the farm owners.
In a response to the letter one month later, Mr Morrison wrote: "As a father of two daughters I cannot imagine your grief and anguish.
"As the Prime Minister of Australia, I can assure you the Government's commitment to protecting workers from danger and exploitation is unwavering …
"I note your comments about the need to improve communication with families in the event of an accident …
"The Government is taking action on the key recommendations of (an Australian parliament) inquiry."
Ms Schroder said she would continue to fight for good work and wage conditions for backpackers.
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/mother-of-farm-victim-to-australia