Ashley Bryants widow, Deborah, gave evidence detailing the stress her husband endured as a police officer.
Ashley Bryants widow, Deborah, gave evidence detailing the stress her husband endured as a police officer. Contributed

Police officer Ashley Bryant's tragic suicide call

FORMER detective Ashley Bryant should have been on the same shift as his mates Robert Spears and Peter Addison when they were shot dead on duty in July 1995, the inquest into his death was told today.

Detective Bryant had changed his late shift at the last minute and was "deeply affected" by the murders of the two senior constables, both aged 36, at Crescent Head, his widow Deborah Bryant said.

They worked with him at Kempsey Police Station and were slain by drunken gunman John McGowan after going to what they thought would be a routine domestic violence incident.

Ms Bryant, a nurse, said she related the start of her late husband's excessive drinking to that shocking night when there was no radio coverage and the police did not then have automatic pistols.

Father of three Mr Bryant, 44, killed himself by throwing himself off Minyon Falls in the Byron Bay hinterland in December 2013 after being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder by his own treating specialists - but refused a full hurt on duty pension by police superannuation.

The public galley at Glebe Coroners Court was packed today with serving and former police officers there to support the brave widow as she told about the police drinking culture and the levels of stress her late husband had been under.

Bryant's widow, Deborah, gave evidence detailing the stress her husband endured as a police officer.

She said he had not been a drinker until he started in the police stationed at Manly when on the night shift, his boss told him to take the police wagon and back it up to the Steyne Hotel where it was filled with free cases of beer.

The officers ended their shift with what they called the "cook-up" by drinking the beer before they went home, Ms Bryant said.

Undergoing treatment for stage three breast cancer, Ms Bryant had earlier asked the court to play in full her late husband's 000 call made moments before he jumped to his death.

He had told the operator that he could no longer live with the trauma of PTSD and wanted his call played to the coroner so other officers and their families didn't have to go through what he and his family had been through.

Former detective sergeant Mr Bryant worked across the state in country stations as well as a detective in Sydney city and with the homicide squad and unsolved homicide squads.

The inquest before State Coroner Michael Barnes continues.



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