THE parents of Eliza Wannan and Will Dalton-Brown broke down yesterday when they told a coroner’s inquest how their lives had changed following the death of their children.
Miss Wannan and Mr Dalton-Brown were killed on a Belgravia property on Australia Day 2010 when a ute reversed over the swag they were sleeping in.
Andrew Wannan was first to address Deputy State Coroner Sharon Freund, saying it was his role to shield his family from the horrific consequences of the tragedy. He wanted the driver of the vehicle, Rhys Colefax, to understand what his family had experienced since Eliza died.
“Instead of driving to Wollongong with Eliza the day after Australia Day as she was to start her degree, we were organising her funeral,” he said.
Mr Wannan read a statement from his wife Katrina who did not attend the inquest.
“Katrina has not been able to attend because of the pain. It is too much to bear,” he said.
Mr Dalton-Brown’s mother Lee Dalton was the next to deliver her family statement about her only child, but was initially too distressed to speak.
“He was a young man with everything in front of him and about to go off to university after he was accepted to do science,” she said.
“The joy has gone from my life and I feel empty.”
Gerry Brown, the father of Will Dalton-Brown, told Ms Freund he had prepared a statement, but was unable to express many of the things he wanted to say due to the restrictions of the format of the inquest.
“I lay blame on a number of people and I am told this is not appropriate,” he said.
The inquest into the deaths of the two young people, who were killed when they were reversed over by Mr Colefax, a learner driver, resumed in Orange on Monday.
Yesterday morning, Senior Constable Grant Gannon was cross-examined by solicitor for Rhys Colefax, Mason Manwaring, who put it to the detective his client had complied with all requests by police on the day of the tragedy, including breath testing and blood and urine testing.
The inquest was adjourned in 2011 by Ms Freund who referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who she believed should investigate as charges could be laid against Mr Colefax.
However, the DPP determined no charges would be laid and the inquest was resumed.