'We just didn't want Leonard's death to be in vain'
A STATE coroner has concluded the death in custody of a 22-year-old Bundaberg man, who was killed in a sudden, violent and unprovoked attack by another prisoner, could have been prevented if he was released from prison earlier or moved to another unit.
But today, State Coroner Terry Ryan, who handed down his findings following an inquest into the death of Leonard Gordon, a prisoner at the Maryborough Correctional Centre, also concluded Mr Gordon did not have an address to go to that was acceptable to the Parole Board, nor did he want to or applied to be moved to another unit.
Mr Gordon was killed by Gregory Glebow, who used a loose piece of gym equipment from the exercise yard of the Maryborough Correctional Centre to inflict the fatal head injury.
Mr Ryan also found that it was less than ideal that Mr Gordon, "a slightly built", "young, non-violent prisoner" be "accommodated in the same unit as a prisoner with a known history and violence like Mr Glebow".
The inquest heard that Glebow told a psychologist he chose his victim at random after deciding he needed to kill another prisoner to avoid being sent to a different unit.
At the time of his death on October 9, 2012, Mr Gordon was just two days away from his full-time release date and, despite being eligible for parole for several months, Mr Gordon's parole application was refused as he was unable to identify suitable accommodation to go to post-release.
The corner's report also addressed how Glebow was able to access the metal gym equipment, which he used to bludgeon Mr Gordon.
Yesterday Shine Lawyers Bundaberg branch manager Rebecca Ballantyne issued a statement on behalf of Mr Gordon's family, who said while much had been done to protect prisoners since his death there were clearly failings that contributed to his murder.
"The coroner said the failure to remove a box of gym equipment from the exercise yard could have been a simple oversight, but it has had a catastrophic effect and has left our family devastated," the statement read.
"We are satisfied with the findings and are glad Leonard's legacy has been this review of the prison system and the removal of the gym equipment boxes from poorly supervised prison areas across the state.
"While nothing will bring our son and brother back, we just didn't want Leonard's death to be in vain."
The coroner's findings also supported a recommendation in a report from the Office of the Chief Inspector for Queensland Corrective Services to consult with the Parole Board to find possible solutions to the issue of prisoners who are eligible for release remaining behind bars due to a lack of a suitable address to be released to.
Mr Ryan's report said he was satisfied that recommendations made in the OCI report and subsequent actions by the QCS would contribute to preventing a death in similar circumstances from happening again.