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Inquest exposes information lapses between police before shooting


Officers responding to the shooting of a violent criminal who attacked a police guard at a Queensland hospital didn’t know which room he was in and had trouble accessing the building, a coroner has been told.

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Tyson Jessen, 28, was wanted for armed robbery in Victoria when he was arrested on an extradition warrant in Queensland in November 2018, an inquest was told on Monday.

The first day of the hearing is focusing on how Queensland police share information as shifts change, especially in relation to an offender’s history.

Due to past instances of violence detailed by Victorian police, four officers were sent to confirm Jessen was at World Gym at Ipswich.

Photos included in police documents show him as heavily tattooed and with possession of a handgun, and he was described by Detective Senior Sergeant Daniel Cunningham as an “imposing figure” who spent all his free time in the gym.

Jessen initially tried to flee from officers and threw up before he was arrested and paramedics attended, the hearing was told.

He complained of chest pains and was admitted to Ipswich Hospital under police guard, with officers initially believing he would be transported to the watch house shortly after.

However, it was later determined he needed to be kept in overnight and into the following day.

Senior Constable Leesa Richardson and her partner were on guard duties around 6pm the night of the fatal shooting on November 10.

As Sen Const Richardson allowed her partner to leave the hospital to get dinner and was waiting for a relief officer, Jessen struck, a pre-inquest hearing was told last month.

He was fatally shot in the ensuing struggle.

According to evidence from responding officer Elizabeth Burns-Hutchison, police arrived at the hospital within a minute of receiving the call but had difficulty getting inside.

“We don’t have swipes to get into the hospital (and) we weren’t exactly sure on the evening where Mr Jessen was,” she told Monday’s hearing.

She relied on security to swipe her into the lifts and direct her to the ward.

Senior Sergeant Burns-Hutchison was met by Richardson in a wheelchair and initially thought she had been shot.

“It was very difficult to understand what she was saying, she was very upset, sobbing,” she said.

Richardson was having difficulty breathing and sustained cuts to her lips and a graze and lump on her head, Burns-Hutchison said.

Asked if it surprised her that Richardson didn’t know Jessen’s name when she arrived at the hospital, Burns-Hutchison said it did.

The officers on guard claim they had not been told the full extent of Jessen’s violent history, only that he was wanted on a warrant by Victorian police, the pre-inquest hearing was told.

“Mr Jessen was not handcuffed,” counsel assisting Melinda Zerner told Brisbane Coroners Court in August.

Although still shackled to stop any effort to escape, Jessen was freed from his handcuffs to eat and use the bathroom.

Processes for officers to access the hospital, including swipe cards kept in cars and at the emergency department, have changed following the incident.

The hearing before State Coroner Terry Ryan continues.

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