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Coroner: Death of woman after power cut could have been prevented

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An 'upset' driver  deliberately crashed into power poles, knocking out the electricity supply to sick woman's home. Photo / File
An 'upset' driver deliberately crashed into power poles, knocking out the electricity supply to sick woman's home. Photo / File

The death of a woman whose home and oxygen machine lost power after a car hit a power pole could have been prevented, says a coroner.

But Coroner Michael Robb has also concluded any steps taken to help the woman could have been too late given her already failing health.

Fai Monoarii Deane, 50, died on January 30, 2016, when her Taupo flat lost power, switching off the oxygen concentration machine she relied on.

The power failed when farm hand Jade Rolfe drove into a power pole near where Deane lived.

Deane was in the final stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Robb said in his findings that had the power company been informed of her dependence on electricity for the oxygen machine, steps may have been taken to contact her during the outage.

However, Robb added, "In the state of health that Fai was in it may well be that rapid contact with occupants of the flat by the power company would have been too late for Fai".

Robb acknowledged a loss of oxygen supply because of a power outage was likely to have affected Deane and may have been a factor in her death, but found her cause of death to be from cor pulmonale antecedent to cystic bronchiectasis.

Rolfe was sentenced last August on a criminal nuisance charge, after admitting he deliberately crashed into a series of Taupo power poles, cutting the supply to 630 homes, because he was upset and depressed his partner was moving overseas.

He was sentenced to 120 hours' community work and disqualified from driving for five months.

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