Police ‘dismiss’ mother’s calls after killed by ex-partner

NOTICE: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this story contains images of a deceased person.

Coroner Elisabeth Armitage today released her findings following an inquiry into the death of the mother of three, known as Roberta, after she died in Katherine in 2019.

Armitage found that the police, corrections, and triple zero attendants could have done more to save his life.

The inquest found that Roberta asked the police for help days before her death at the hands of her ex-partner Lorenzo Deegan.

Deegan was on probation after he was arrested for a previous assault involving Roberta.

He was released in March 2019 and in rehab until May.

The mother died in June of that year.

Coroner Elisabeth Armitage released the findings of an inquiry into the death of the mother of three, known as Roberta, in Katherine in 2019.
Roberta was killed by her ex-partner after making several calls to the police. Image provided by the family. (Provided)

Deegan’s parole conditions included an ankle monitor and sobriety.

Roberta asked the police for help several times before her death.

Armitage compared what happened to Roberta before she died to “the equivalent of kidnapping”.

“When Roberta finally called the police, they did nothing to help her,” Armitage said.

“On the contrary, the officers were rude to her and dismissed her complaints.”

Northern Territory Police Force Assistant Commissioner Michael White said the members were disciplined for their behavior at the time.

“This was certainly also addressed as part of the coronal (inquiry),” White said.

The coroner’s report said that “if there was better communication by Territory Police and Families, with Community Corrections, there would likely be more investigations by (Deegan’s) parole officer.”

Lorenzo Deegan was on probation after being arrested for a previous assault involving Roberta.
Lorenzo Deegan was on probation after being arrested for a previous assault involving Roberta. (Provided)

White said the police are “working with all agencies to create a better response and information sharing is critical to that.”

As part of the findings, Armitage recommended rapid understanding between police, Corrections and Territory Families to share information specifically related to monitoring devices.

The coroner also said the corrections should provide more comprehensive oversight of violent offenders within the first month of their release.

As Armitage relayed her findings, she noted that despite detailed recommendations made in 2016, the contagion of domestic violence continues unabated in the Northern Territory.

Roberta’s killer will be eligible for parole in four years.

Roberta’s family has given permission for her to be named and photographed.

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