• The Father of Raymond Noel Lindsay Thomas, Uncle Ray, (second left) remembered his son as protective of his family and friends. (AAP)Source: AAP
The father of a Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Wiradjuri man who died 21 seconds after the start of a high-speed police chase said his son was 'beautiful, 'kind-hearted' and protective of his family.
Source:
AAP - NITV
2 Jul 2021 - 12:33 PM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2021 - 12:34 PM

Raymond Noel Lindsay Thomas' father has called for changes in Victoria Police pursuit policy before the final day of his son's inquest. 

The Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Wiradjuri man was killed just 21 seconds after the start of a high-speed police chase through suburban Melbourne.

He was thrown from his car after colliding with parked cars and an oncoming vehicle in June 2017.

His father, Ray, said the 30-year-old wasn't drunk or high on drugs - he had been on way his to buy cake mix and some chocolate from the supermarket in an unregistered car.

"We demand justice for Raymond and hope for changes of the police pursuit policies, so this doesn't happen to any other family," Mr Thomas told reporters outside the Coroners Court on Friday.

"We want those responsible to be held accountable and for them to realise the grief and trauma that they have caused through their actions in the pursuit on that night.

"The pain and suffering we are going through, we will go through for the rest of our lives."

Mr Thomas said his son was a "beautiful" and "kind-hearted" man who was protective of his family, friends and community. 

"Whenever he walked into a room he would light it up, because he was six-foot-eight," his father said. 

"He was affectionately referred to around the family and the community as the 'gentle giant'. He is deeply missed by us. This hole in our heart will never heal - it will be there forever."

Mr Thomas' death occurred after Victoria Police introduced a new pursuits policy in 2016, following a series of recommendations from coroner John Olle.

His recommendations followed an inquest into the deaths of teenagers Sarah Booth, 17, in 2006 and Jason Kumar, 15, in 2009.

What unfolded began as a routine registration check on Mr Thomas' car, which passed a police car in Northcote at around 11pm on June 25, 2017.

His car was unregistered and the officers performed a u-turn trying to pull him over.

"What started with a brief encounter quickly became a high-speed police pursuit, with the police vehicle reaching speeds of 156km/h," counsel assisting the coroner, Michael Rivette, said earlier. 

Less than a minute after the registration check, and just 21 seconds after the pursuit was called by the officers in the car, it ended.

Mr Thomas lost control of his car and veered onto the wrong side of the road.

He hit several parked cars before colliding with an oncoming vehicle driven by a man who was physically unharmed.

Mr Thomas was thrown from the car and suffered fatal injuries.

The inquest examined the circumstances and appropriateness of the decision to follow Mr Thomas' vehicle, and of the decision by officers to instigate a pursuit.

It looked at whether the decision, having been made, was in compliance with the 2016 pursuit policy and the adequacy of Victoria Police's methods of ensuring officers involved in pursuits are trained and equipped to comply with the policy.

The court previously heard the two officers involved in the pursuit were experienced and licensed to drive at unlimited speeds.

The sergeant, who was behind the wheel, has terminated high-speed pursuits in the past as a pursuit controller.

The inquest continues. 

Family remember Raymond Noel Lindsay Thomas ahead of fatal pursuit inquest
The Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Wiradjuri man died just 21 seconds after a high-speed police chase through a suburban Melbourne street in 2017.