Darrell Simon (File pic from 2005).Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Darrell Simon (File pic from 2005).Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Michelle Smith

Police slammed over Google Maps search for Laidley man

THE findings of a coronial inquest into the death of Lockyer Valley man Darrell Simon have recommended changes in the way police use maps when conducting land searches.

Mr Simon was ruled to have taken his own life when the inquest into his 2014 death was finalised in December.

An inquest was held because the failure to locate the 48-year-old's body for 18 months led to suggestions of foul play, particularly from Mr Simon's father Lawrence.

The inquest heard that because of police relying on a printed version of a Google map, a significant portion of Mr Simon's Laidley Creek West property was not searched.

The failure to search the entire property was not realised until after remains were discovered by the property's new owners in May, 2016.

In his findings, Deputy State Coroner John Lock said: "The fact the ground search was conducted over only half the property was very regretful and should not have happened.

"The assumptions made about the boundaries of the property was one thing, but the failure to cross-check after the search with the GPS tracking and making sure the whole of the property had been searched, compounded the issue.

"What seems to have been accepted in the retrospective review of the search that the mistake was made due to accepting the property had a fence dividing the eastern and western halves in two approximately equal sized areas."

Mr Lock recommended: "That QPS considers the adequacy of resources, information and training currently provided to its officers for the purpose of coordinating and conducting land searches, to ensure officers are able to and do in fact access high quality map products and GPS tracking data in a timely way."

He also recommended that QPS consider whether improvements can be made in relation to communication between SES and QPS at the conclusion of a land search.

The police service advised the coroner it was taking steps to improve practices.

 

SAD END: Laurie Simon says he is frustrated but has 'exhausted all options' in his search for answers following an inquest into his son's death.
SAD END: Laurie Simon says he is frustrated but has 'exhausted all options' in his search for answers following an inquest into his son's death. Inga Williams

Mr Simon's father Lawrence said he was disappointed in the finding that his son's death was the result of suicide.

He said he would continue to push for answers, despite the ruling, and was now considering all of his options.

Under legislation, the findings of an inquest can be set aside if new evidence is available.

"It hit me harder than I thought it would, but I basically expected it," he said of the findings.

"As far as going down the legal track, I think I have exhausted all those options.

"I'm not sure I have any faith in it anymore."



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