Rocky woman faces charges over alleged hit and run murder
A CORONER has slammed the police investigation into the alleged murder of a cyclist by an ice addict who used a teenage boy as sexual bait for cash and drugs.
Brisbane Coroner John Hutton on Thursday recommended former Rockhampton woman Joanne Marie McCauley be charged over the "deliberate hit and run murder” of cyclist Shui Ki Chan five years ago.
He also recommended Ms McCauley and her acquaintance, Phillip Thow, be charged with "sexual and ancillary” offences against a 15-year-old boy.
In handing down his inquest findings on Thursday, Mr Hutton delivered a scathing assessment of detective Senior Constable David Neumann's investigation into Mr Chan's death.
Mr Chan died sometime between August 22 and 23 in 2012 after Ms McCauley allegedly hit the tourist with her car while he was cycling on the Warrego highway near Gatton.
Mr Chan was left with a broken pelvis, scratches and bruises but Mr Hutton said the 25-year-old would have survived if he had been taken to hospital.
Instead, Ms McCauley allegedly failed to help the Chinese national and he died of hypothermia because he was "left in the ditch overnight”.
Mr Hutton said there were financial transactions and text messages that placed Ms McCauley in the area where the accident occurred.
Mr Hutton said Ms McCauley told 14 people, including Mr Thow and her then boyfriend Robert William "Billy” Allen, that she "purposefully hit” Mr Chan and that she "reversed” over him.
The 14 people, including several from Rockhampton, gave evidence during the inquest, their stories varying "slightly” but all had a "common theme”.
Mr Hutton said the witnesses claimed Ms McCauley was on the "white stuff” (speed and ice); she saw Mr Chan "do the finger to her”; and she didn't like Asians who she called "tomato thieves”.
"She turned her vehicle around after she had passed Mr Chan on his bicycle and deliberately hit him with her vehicle,” Mr Hutton said of the statements.
"She then reversed over him again to make sure he was dead.”
Mr Hutton said Ms McCauley "confessed” to the crime to "scare” off Mr Thow, who was having a "consensual” relationship with a teenage boy she knew.
However, Mr Hutton said Ms McCauley's actions were not those of a concerned person.
"Ms McCauley was in fact using (the teenager) as bait to lure Mr Thow into spending time with (the boy) so that she could get money, drugs, cigarettes, food and transport from Mr Thow in return,” Mr Hutton said.
"Ms McCauley was heavily addicted to drugs and would do anything for her next hit.”
Mr Hutton said Ms McCauley threatened to implicate Mr Thow in Mr Chan's death, but he told police anyway.
She also "attempted to retract her confession” as her children might have thought less of her for allegedly hurting Mr Chan.
Mr Hutton recommended the Director of Public Prosecutions commence criminal proceedings against Ms McCauley about 11 months ago.
However, the Gatton CIB responded in August of this year, saying it "was unable to provide a timeframe as to when a decision would be made” on whether or not Ms McCauley would be charged.
Mr Hutton said Sen-Constable Neumann "cut corners” in his investigation including making no attempt to track Ms McCauley's movements on the evening of the crash and he did not try to locate key witnesses.
"It is my view that his criminal investigation was inadequate,” the Coroner said.
Mr Hutton said he had to "direct” Sen-Constable Neumann to do his job and the inquest had to be delayed because of the officer's "failure to comply with reasonable timeframes that I set for him”.
"Detective Sen-Constable Neumann appeared to struggle following my clear and very detailed directions and to apply investigative skills to this case that would be reasonably be expected of a detective with his 25 years of experience,” he said.
Sen-Constable Neumann did not give evidence at the inquest "due to mental health issues”.
The Queensland Police Service refused to say if it would investigate the officer.
"The QPS acknowledges the findings,” a police media spokesman said in a statement.
"Senior police will review the issues raised and carefully consider recommendations made as part of the findings.
"An investigation into the death of Shui Ki Chan remains ongoing and is being overviewed by the regional crime co-ordinator.” - NewsRegional