Mulrunji death witness 'threatened'

March 13, 2010

Witness Roy Bramwell told the re-opened inquest into Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee's death on March 8 that police threatened to "come after him", as they crushed his original damning witness statement and threw it in the bin.

Bramwell — who was in the Palm Island watch-house on November 19, 2004, when Mulrunji died of massive injuries in police custody — told the Townsville-based inquest that he saw Senior-Sergeant Chris Hurley kick and punch Mulrunji.

"I saw him kick him, kick him, punch him three to five times", he told the inquest, the March 9 Courier-Mail reported. "I could see he was hitting him by the door. I looked up, and saw them in the reflection of a mirror. He had his knee on him, hitting him, moving his knee, forcing himself on him.

"Hurley stood up and was saying, 'Do you want more? You want more?' I told police he kicked him and all that, but he [Detective Darren Robinson] crushed it and put it in the trash. He then took me and made a second statement. They told me if I told anyone what I saw they would come after me."

The re-opened inquest into Mulrunji's death, under Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine, is hearing evidence into how Mulrunji, 36, died less than an hour after his arrest.

Doctors found Mulrunji bled to death internally from injuries similar to those caused by a car crash. He had four broken ribs, a ruptured portal vein and his liver was cleaved in two. They said the injuries were from a "massive compressive force, most likely a protruding knee".

The new inquest comes after Hurley was acquitted of a charge of manslaughter by an all-white jury in June 2007. Hurley was due to give his evidence to the inquest on March 10 and 11.

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