• Fred Row Row died in custody in 2016. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Fred Row Row died in custody at Capricornia Correctional Centre in 2016. His family say the findings of a coronial inquest into his death have given them "absolutely nothing".
Keira Jenkins

23 Nov 2021 - 5:52 PM  UPDATED 23 Nov 2021 - 5:55 PM

CW: This article discusses themes that may be distressing to some readers, including suicide.  

Queensland State Coroner Terry Ryan handed down his findings on Tuesday into the death of Kullilli and Darumbal man Fred Row Row, finding his death had highlighted a lack of mental health support in prisons.

The coroner noted it had been more than five years since Mr Row Row's death and access to mental health support continues to be "a significant concern for prisoners".

However, he made no further recommendations, saying there were initiatives in place that would help with this.

Mr Row Row's sister Pam Row Row said she was left feeling "angry" when the findings were handed down, knowing her fight for justice wasn't over.

"I felt very sick, disgusted, disappointed," she told NITV News.

"I felt I wasn't heard, I felt like my brother didn't matter to anyone, like he just meant nothing.

"I waited five years to get absolutely nothing."

Mr Row Row died of suicide on August 24, 2016. 

Coroner Ryan found Mr Row Row had experienced "significant and cumulative trauma and grief", but did not meet the criteria for ongoing mental health support in prison.

Mr Row Row was assessed as being at low risk of self-harm on August 23, 2016.

The morning of his death he was distressed, but guards said later his mood seemed to improve considerably.

Pam Row Row had hoped the inquest would make recommendations for greater changes. 

"What I wanted to get out of today was mental health support for all prisoners," she said.

"I think they're lacking this and if that was offered to my brother, he'd still be here right now. 

"I was hoping today would be my closure and I'd be able to move forward in my life. The last five years for me has been absolute hell."

Ms Row Row said she wants her brother to be remembered as the kind man she knew him to be.

"He was a loving father, partner, brother, uncle," she said.

"He was funny, respectful to family. He had the most hideous laugh, that I'll never forget.

"He was just a lovely person, despite where he passed away."

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, visit lifeline.org.au or find an Aboriginal Medical Service here. Resources for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be found at Headspace: Yarn Safe.

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