Ms Bryant with her husband, former NSW police officer Ashley Bryant, who was suffering PTSD when he took his own life in 2013.
Ms Bryant with her husband, former NSW police officer Ashley Bryant, who was suffering PTSD when he took his own life in 2013.

Byron Bay suicide death inquest: call to play 000 call

THE brave widow of a former detective who killed himself after battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) wanted his chilling triple-0 call played at the inquest into his death.

Ashley Bryant, 44, threw himself off Minyon Falls in the Byron Bay hinterland in December 2013 after he was refused a hurt on duty pension when an insurance company psychiatrist found he could still work.

Nurse Deborah Bryant, who is currently undergoing treatment for stage-three breast cancer, believed listening to her husband's words was the only way to show the level of stress he was under after 23 years in the police, her counsel James Glissan QC told the inquest.

Mr Bryant bought Christmas cards for his three children the day he killed himself, the inquest at Glebe Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday.

Ashley Bryant’s wife Deborah Bryant (left), who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, arrives at the inquest into her husband's suicide. Picture: John Fotiadis
Ashley Bryant’s wife Deborah Bryant (left), who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, arrives at the inquest into her husband's suicide. Picture: John Fotiadis


Alone in the dusk, the former detective dialled triple-0 about 8.35pm on December 16, 2013, because he didn't want other officers and their families to be treated as he and his family had been.

"I'm about to take my own life," Mr Bryant told the operator, his voice breaking.

"I understand that this is being recorded and I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the state coroner.

"There needs to be more done, more things put in place for what happens.

"Listen for partners of those that suffer because I suffer and so do the partners. And there has to be more done for them all right.

"I have no more to say."

 

NSW Police graduation picture of Ashley Bryant.
NSW Police graduation picture of Ashley Bryant.


The operator tried to keep him talking, asking his date of birth and other information but when he urged Mr Bryant to wait until emergency services arrived, he said: "No, I'll be gone before they arrive."

The inquest is expected to focus on the decision made by State Super, which runs the Police Superannuation scheme, to refuse Mr Bryant a hurt-on-duty pension despite his own doctors diagnosing him with extreme PTSD, major depression and alcohol dependence.

It will also look at how the police manage officers suffering from PTSD.

The Bryants on their wedding day.
The Bryants on their wedding day.

Mr Bryant had been medically discharged from the police in December 2012 but the insurance company's psychiatrist believed because he was studying law part time he was not totally incapacitated and should only get a partial pension.

"There was no suicide note but what this man did at the end of his life and at the end of his tether was to make a plea, a very real one, by way of an oral suicide note in the sense he made a 000 call expressly for the purpose of asking his death be investigated," Mr Glissan said.

Minyon Falls near Byron Bay, where Mr Bryant died.
Minyon Falls near Byron Bay, where Mr Bryant died.

The inquest before State Coroner Michael Barnes continues.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 suicidecallbackservice.org.au

beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 beyondblue.org.au

News Corp Australia

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