Australia

Tanya Day inquest: Family want world to see cell CCTV

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The family of an Aboriginal woman who died after hitting her head in a Victorian police cell wants the world to watch the distressing footage.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this story contains images of deceased persons. 

Tanya Day painfully cracked her head against a Victorian police cell wall in harrowing CCTV footage her family wants the world to see.

She died 17 days later.

Paramedics who tended to the Aboriginal woman hours later say they would have treated her differently if police hadn't misled them about the extent of her injuries.

Coroner Caitlin English on Friday released CCTV footage of Ms Day falling five times in a Castlemaine police cell after she was arrested for being drunk on a train on 5 December in 2017.

The 55-year-old later died from a brain haemorrhage, caused by the most significant blow.

Ms Day's eldest daughter Belinda Day said the footage was "unbearably painful" to watch.

Tanya Day died in December 2017 after being arrested for public drunkenness
Tanya Day died in December 2017 after being arrested for public drunkenness
Supplied

"This CCTV footage shows the last few hours that our mum was conscious. It shows her being denied her basic humanity and dignity," she said outside court.

"Imagine having to watch your mum die in this way, with nobody held responsible.

"We want the world to see this footage because it is what our mum would have wanted."

Ms Day described her mother as a strong Yorta Yorta woman who would still be alive today if she were not Aboriginal.

The inquest previously heard Ms Day was put in a cell to "sober up" at 3.56pm but police did not re-enter it until 8.03pm when they noticed a bruise on her forehead and called paramedics.

Victoria Police guidelines required Ms Day to be physically roused every 30 minutes but police only looked through her door every 40 minutes and on CCTV every 20.

Police said had not been negligent but Ms Day's daughter Apryl said their conduct at the inquest showed they did not care about her mother.

"Throughout the whole proceedings, we've seen them latch onto any narrative they can without actually admitting that they have done something wrong," she said.

CCTV captured paramedic Lisa Harrup pulling Ms Day onto the stretcher by her left arm. The Day family and supporters gasped when the footage was shown.

The inquest was earlier shown CCTV of police interaction with Tanya Day, before she was found dead.
The inquest was earlier shown CCTV of police interaction with Tanya Day, before she was found dead.
Supplied

Ms Harrup said she was "neither intentionally rough with Ms Day or disrespectful".

"I actually felt sorry for Ms Day. She had been kept in a dirty, foul-smelling concrete cell for four hours," she wept while giving evidence.

"I would have handled my mother or sister in the same way as Ms Day."

Ms Harrup said paramedics trusted a police officer who told them he'd seen Ms Day slip.

"All of my treatment was based on what I thought was an accurate history provided by a police officer. Why wouldn't he know exactly what had happened?" she said.

Aunty Tanya Day
Aunty Tanya Day.
NITV News

"It was upsetting to me that I might have missed such an important part of a diagnosis."

The paramedics said they would have treated Ms Day differently if they knew she was at risk of a brain or spinal injury. 

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