Frustration at lack of charges over cyclist's death
The family of a South Auckland woman who was killed in a collision with a truck while cycling near Taupo say they are "disgusted" by the way police treated them after her death.
A two-day inquest for Jane Ann Farrelly, 50, was held in Hamilton before coroner Gordon Matenga this week.
Farrelly was struck by an oversized truck and trailer unit driven by Rotorua man Larry James Boulcott, 55, in Poihipi Rd on March 16 last year. Boulcott was never charged by police - a decision that baffled the family.
Each day of the inquest, Farrelly's family, including husband Ian, their two boys, Nick, 18, and Ben, 20, Jane's sisters Tina McCullough and Megan Firkin and their parents Shirley and Peter Cooper, filled up the front row of the public gallery and listened intently to every detail.
Tina McCullough, speaking on behalf of the family, said she could not believe how hard it was to find out why Boulcott was not charged.
"Our family was horrified that the police felt that it was OK to treat a grieving family this way. We . . . haven't been able to get the answers about not prosecuting the driver. That's why we got the lawyer . . ."
Even after getting a lawyer, information was only drip-fed, she said, with the family still hearing answers to their questions until the last witness gave evidence on Tuesday.
McCullough said police were under-resourced at the time of Jane's death and the investigation was not at the appropriate level for a death, as many things were not looked into. These included why the scene did not remain in situ - instead the truck was driven away by the company's managing director before being unloaded - and Boulcott's eyesight.
It was revealed in the inquest that when Boulcott went to sit his truck licence again in August, five months after the crash, he was issued glasses to wear while driving.
"It seems to me that if a cyclist dies it doesn't matter . . . we have been disgusted in the way the police have dealt with us."
The family also couldn't get over the tragic coincidence of another female cyclist - Margaret Mary Pouw, 53, - being killed in Hamilton just hours before Jane Farrelly's inquest was about to start on Monday. "It just made me feel quite sick," McCullough said. The blame appeared to have already been put on Pouw after reporting that she had pulled out in front of a courier van, McCullough said.
As for Farrelly's case, the lack of transparency from police had come at not only a financial cost, but also emotional. "I haven't even started to grieve yet because I have been driving this process . . . now we can start to rebuild our lives."
However, the family had been given some closure, she said.
"It was very useful to have all the evidence and get a much greater understanding to what happened on the day."
Taupo road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor said it wasn't appropriate to comment until the end of the coronial process.
Coroner Matenga reserved his decision.