Police not to blame for death

CONFUSION on a police dispatch system led officers to believe that a woman screaming for help in floodwaters near Mullumbimby had already been rescued, a coroner has found.

Cristy Joanne Moffitt, 36, drowned late on January 4, 2008, or in the early hours of the next day, after her vehicle was washed off the Main Arm Causeway into Blindmouth Creek near Mullumbimby.

Deputy State Coroner Scott Mitchell yesterday found the mother-of-three had been affected by alcohol and prescription medication when she attempted the crossing.

She had consumed eight cans of Jim Beam and Cola at the Mullumbimby Ex Services Club, Mr Mitchell said.

An analysis of Ms Moffitt's stomach contents detected the narcotic drugs codeine and morphine and the tranquilliser diazepam, which would have amplified the effects of the alcohol.

Late on January 4, police received reports of two separate incidents involving women whose vehicles had been swept away.

Police were told a woman was heard screaming at the Main Arm Causeway at Mullumbimby and, in Murwillumbah, a woman was calling for help from the roof of her car.

But after the woman in Murwillumbah was rescued, an entry was placed on the police computer system indicating Ms Moffitt's case was labelled ‘finished'.

Mr Mitchell said that while there was confusion over thereports, to police it ‘played no part in the sad loss'. – AAP



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