Helen Donaldson (right) speaks to media outside Ipswich Courthouse on the first day of the inquest into her son Andrew Bornen’s death.
Helen Donaldson (right) speaks to media outside Ipswich Courthouse on the first day of the inquest into her son Andrew Bornen’s death. Rob Williams

Court told police weren't to blame

POLICE could not have prevented the death of an Ipswich teenager, who was run over as he lay on a busy road after being handcuffed, a court has been told.

Andrew John Bornen, 16, was killed after being run over by a female driver as he lay face down on Albion Street, Brassall, about 11pm on February 7 last year.

Police had received reports of a man armed with a machete in the area and stopped to apprehend Bornen after seeing him armed with a baseball bat.

Ipswich Coroners Court heard senior constables Anthony Brett and Robert Ward told Bornen to drop the bat and lie on the ground.

But despite Snr Const Brett yelling and waving his hands as the driver approached, the court heard she might not have seen Bornen until it was too late.

Bornen’s mother Helen Donaldson, 40, wept as the investigating police officer said Brett and Ward acted within the law.

Internal investigations Inspector Senior Sergeant Peter Stacey told the court the officers arrested Bornen immediately because they were concerned for the public’s safety.

“I do not believe the police were negligent in their actions and there should be no criminal or disciplinary charges against them,” Snr Sgt Stacey said.

He said there was no police policy in relation to handcuffing or restraining people on the road.

Snr Sgt Stacey said there was also not enough evidence to lay charges against the driver.

A video simulation played to the court showed it may have been impossible for the driver to see Bornen or the police officers until she was mere metres away due to poor visibility.

Snr Sgt Stacey said he was surprised at the lack of visibility on Albion Street, which was lined with street lights.

“The police could not have foreseen the bad visibility for the driver approaching,” he said.

He said the woman was driving about 55kmh, did not receive or send any text messages or phone calls and was not drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Witnesses told the court that an unidentified intoxicated man, believed to be Bornen, approached them holding a bat before the incident but he was not aggressive.

Ms Donaldson, a mother-of-eight, told reporters outside the courthouse she wanted the officers to experience the terror her son felt before his death.

“I’d like to put them on the road in the same situation he was in and I’d like to have a car run at them,” Ms Donaldson said.

“I’d like them to feel what happened to Andrew – not actually get run over, but to be in that situation and be scared.

“But it’s not going to bring my son back.”

Ms Donaldson said the officers had failed in their duty of care but she did not hold the driver of the car responsible.

“They’ve made a mistake and they need to be punished for it,” she said.

Ms Donaldson said her son was a great boy and was fun-loving.

“Not a day goes by where we don’t think about him.”

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said officers Brett and Ward still worked in the Ipswich area and were supported by police.

“This is a tragedy for everyone involved including the police,” Mr Leavers said.

“Police officers, they’re human, they were doing their job on this night... They feel for everyone involved in this. They’re doing it tough as well and they’re caring people.”

The inquest, before Chief Coroner Michael Barnes, is expected to continue for the rest of the week.



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