Report into death challenged

The official investigation into the death of an 87-year-old woman at a Tauranga rest home in 2010 will be challenged at a coroner's court hearing later this month.

Lilian "Lu" Wilson died three days after the hoist that was lifting her into a wheelchair at Cedar Manor collapsed, sending her crashing to the ground.

The coroner will be asked to rule on new evidence obtained through the efforts of her Tauranga daughter, Janice Warren, and grandson, Mathew Warren.

The Warrens pushed for the inquest and are seeking a ruling that will change the way those sorts of hoists get serviced around New Zealand. It could see the actual hoist presented as evidence to help the Warrens prove their case.

Mrs Warren said they were looking for accountability, not compensation.

"All we want is for something good to come out of something so bad."

The family never had the chance to say goodbye to their frail 38kg mother and grandmother, because she never regained consciousness after hitting her head on the leg of the hoist in February 2010.

"We want mum to rest in peace knowing that we have done the best we can for her."

Mr Warren said it took nearly two years to obtain the report of the official investigation from the former Department of Labour.

The family was not satisfied with the report and hired an engineer to examine the hoist, in order to compare his findings with the official investigation. Mr Warren said their engineer found some glaring differences.

"It is an accident that should never have happened. We want to make sure this does not happen again," he said. Mr Warren said the department's investigation said that the bolt unwound and the hoist fell apart. It said the bolt and locking nut were not visible without dismantling the hoist, something disputed by the engineer hired by the family.

The department's investigation found that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute and that the bolt, which appeared to have been shortened, was not an obvious hazard and could not have been spotted.

The coroner's hearing is scheduled for April 15.


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