• Ms Dhu's grandmother, Carol Roe, has opened up about the pain of the aftermath of Ms Dhu's death. (AAP)Source: AAP
Four years after Ms Dhu's death in custody, Nanna Carol Roe speaks to The Point about the traumatic aftermath of her granddaughter's death.
By
Rangi Hirini

Source:
The Point
20 Sep 2018 - 5:33 PM  UPDATED 20 Sep 2018 - 5:56 PM

The family of Ms Dhu say their last goodbyes felt incomplete and a better process should have been facilitated.

The 22-year-old Yamatji woman was being held at WA's South Hedland Police Station over unpaid fines when she died, and her family say the autopsy and investigation should have been handled better.

Ms Dhu’s sister-cousin Kiona Roe and her grandmother Carole Roe say they had requested the autopsy be postponed so they could say their final goodbyes. 

Their requests were denied, and Ms Dhu’s body was sent down to Perth, 1619km south-east of South Hedland.

Ms Dhu’s grandmother says she had asked that no one touch her granddaughter’s body until she got there, and the family was given an assurance.

“They said no we will not do it Mrs Roe, we will not touch her,” Nanna Carol said.

But then the family's appointment was then delayed because the autopsy had been started.

“We wasn’t allowed to touch her or anything or cuddle her. We weren’t allowed to touch her to grieve in the process, we weren’t allowed to cuddle her or nothing,” Nanna Carol said.

RELATED
Coroner: Ms Dhu's death preventable, police 'unprofessional and inhumane'
The West Australian coroner has handed down her findings into the causes of Ms Dhu's death.

Ms Dhu’s cousin, who grew up with her in Geraldton, says not being able to properly say goodbye to her affected the whole family’s grieving process.

“[There were] lumps on her head, bruises everywhere,” Ms Roe says.

Although the pain is still raw for the family, Nanna Carol and Ms Dhu’s uncle Shaun Harris are still continuing to fight for justice. They currently have a Human Rights Complaint filed against the West Australian government. 

“I feel her,” Nanna Carol said.

“Our kid will never rest until we get justice… I hope I get justice before I die.”

The Point airs Thursdays, 8.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34)

RELATED
No more action against officers involved in Ms Dhu case
West Australian police will take no further action against officers, who had adverse findings against them, after an Aboriginal woman died in custody, saying they have already been dealt with.
Justice, respect, dignity: Honouring the memory of Ms Dhu
The principle of ‘open justice’ must override concerns about privacy and dignity. Should the coroner refuse to grant the family’s application to release the footage of Ms Dhu's final hours, this refusal would be an extension of the wall of silence and invisibility around Ms Dhu's death in custody.
CCTV of Ms Dhu's final days released by the WA coroner
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: The WA coroner has decided to release footage of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody, granting her grieving family their wishes. Some people may find this video distressing