• The section of the Swan River where the two teenagers drowned following a foot pursuit by police. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
NITV is bringing you updates from the Swan River drowning inquest in Western Australia as they happen.
By
Sarah Collard, Karen Michelmore

Source:
The Point
16 Mar 2021 - 3:36 PM  UPDATED 16 Mar 2021 - 4:35 PM

The Perth Coroner's Court continued to hear evidence today in relation to the 2018 drowning of two Indigenous teenagers, after they were pursued by police officers. 

The inquest heard that one of two officers, Ella Cutler, then aged 20, was still on her probationary period having graduated from the police academy earlier that year.

She said there was no discussion between the two officers present who was the better swimmer nor how they would apprehend the boys and what to do if they did go into the water.

“No, I wouldn’t know how to do that no,” she said when questioned by Anthony Crocker, who is representing the two deceased boys.

Constable couldn’t 'recall' cultural training

The constable also told the inquest that while he had undergone the compulsory cultural awareness training - she was unable to recall anything from the course.

Ms Cutler also testified she did not know the area well and did not even know the river was in the direction she saw the boys running. 

Earlier, one of the surviving boys told the hearing the group took off running as soon as they saw police with the boys splitting up during the chase. 

The police were walking about 50 metres behind them, and called for them not to move, he said.

Emotional testimony:  'he was gone'

He became emotional, as did the family of the two attending the hearing, as he described what happened to the two teenagers he called 'brothers'. 

He said the boys began running towards the riverbank through the swampy marshland towards the river, with several of the boys removing their clothes and shoes before going into the water.

"We all started jumping in the water, taking our clothes off. I took my  shoes off because they  got stuck in the mud.” he told the inquest.

"We all started jumping in the water, taking our clothes off. I took my  shoes off because they  got stuck in the mud.” Witness N told the inquest.

“Jack was swimming and Jack had it - the phone, in his mouth so it wouldn’t get wet...And Chris was saying I can’t swim and (I) kept saying, what’s wrong bro.” 

“I got back to the other brother and he was gone, and I seen him go under.” 

“Chris said he had head injuries, he couldn't swim, something with his head, he couldn’t swim because he had head injuries" 

Jack Jack - he was gone. I couldn’t see him.”

The inquest has previously heard Trisjack Simpson and Christopher Drage were involved in a major motorcycle accident following a police pursuit a year earlier, which left Christopher Drage with a traumatic brain injury and advice from doctors that he should not swim alone.

The inquest continues. 

'Someone must be accountable': coronial inquest into Indigenous teenagers' deaths begins
The inquest will question whether police had a role in the boys' drowning, after they swam into dangerous conditions to escape pursuit by authorities.

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