Eeva Dorendahl.
Eeva Dorendahl. Contributed

Inquest looks into 'truly tragic' deaths of father, daughter

WHEN Gregory Hutchings left his house with a backpack containing a knife and medication, he knew what would transpire.

That's according to evidence heard in the coronial inquest into the 2014 death of Mr Hutchings and his daughter, Eeva Dorendahl.

The pair, aged 35 and four-and-a-half, were last seen alive on January 11, 2014 and Eeva's mother, Michelle Dorendahl, reported their disappearance to police that afternoon.

Their bodies were found in coastal bushland between Pottsville and Hastings Point on the Tweed Coast 17 days later.

Eeva Dorendahl-Hutchings and her dad Greg Hutchings.
Eeva Dorendahl-Hutchings and her dad Greg Hutchings. Contributed

Yesterday, the inquest heard from two doctors who were at odds about whether Mr Hutching's GP, Dr Victor Shawpan, had acted appropriately in addressing his severe mental health issues.

A forensic psychologist, who works for NSW Police, said police had not identified anyone other than Mr Hutchings as being likely to have caused either of their deaths.

"Evidence did support that Greg took his own life and took the life of Eeva?" counsel assisting the Crown Peggy Dwyer asked.

"Correct," the forensic psychologist replied.

The inquest heard Mr Hutchings had suicidal tendencies and had self-harmed previously, and also that he "loved his daughter".

Leading up to their deaths, his mental health had "significantly deteriorated" and he was under severe "psychological distress", but it was possible he was "in some way, hiding it" from those close to him, the inquest heard.

In her opening remarks earlier this week, Ms Dwyer said the issues that remained unconfirmed included the exact place and date of their deaths, the medical cause of their deaths and the circumstances which led to the tragedy.

Mr Dwyer said the inquiry was seeking to establish whether Mr Hutchings took Eeva's life and then his own, and if so, why.

The inquiry is also looking into whether medical professionals acted appropriately in the mental health care of Mr Hutchings.

Whether NSW Police responded in an "appropriate and timely way" and whether police had "sufficient resourcing and co-ordination" after the pair were reported missing is also being considered.

"In such a beautiful place, police discovered a scene that is truly tragic," Ms Dwyer said.

"It is hard to put into words what we know must be the suffering of their families."

Although a range of medications have been listed in the inquest, Ms Dwyer said the cause of Eeva's death "could not be determined by any scientific or medical method".

Likewise, Mr Hutching's medical cause of death was unclear.

The inquest will continue before Deputy State Coroner, Magistrate O'Sullivan, in Lismore today.



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