WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
A 14-year-old boy who lived with one of New Zealand's youngest killers died tragically after suffering mental health issues.
Dontay West, cousin of Bailey Junior Kurariki, took his own life and died on December 18, 2017, after kissing his aunt goodnight for the last time, a coroner's report, released today, found.
The teen - described by a family friend as a "good boy" - had been under Oranga Tamariki's watch since birth after concerns about him being under the care of his aunt Lorraine West, Kurariki's mum.
Kurariki - who was released from prison in May 2008 after being convicted of the manslaughter of pizza delivery man Michael Choy in 2002 - also lived at the property.
The coroner's report said Dontay had a difficult childhood, with a history of mental health issues that required a stable home life and long-term mental health treatment.
On several occasions since February 2017, Dontay had disclosed to mental health professionals that he heard voices that commanded him to hurt himself or warned him that others would get hurt if he did not follow commands.
He also said the voices told him to fight others and that he enjoyed the adrenaline rush of fighting.
Dontay also reported problems with sleep and it was later discovered he would be out until early hours of the morning three or four nights a week.
Coroner Debra Bell was critical of Oranga Tamariki (OT) for not following up after reports on November 22, 2017, that Dontay had threatened to kill himself.
The social worker had tried to locate Dontay at home and school but was unsuccessful. There was no recorded information that OT attempted to contact or follow up with Dontay after that, the report said.
OT told the coroner it was difficult to implement a plan after being made aware of the young person's suicidal intent without being able to locate Dontay.
"I still think some greater efforts/urgency may have been warranted given OT was aware of Dontay's suicidal threat," Bell said in response.
Throughout 2017, Dontay had been switching between living under his sister's care in Ngaruawahia, in the Waikato, and West's house in Auckland.
In October 2017, he moved back to Auckland but had been calling his sister daily and during one of those calls admitted he had not been taking his medication for the past three weeks.
"Ultimately it is a real shame Dontay returned to Auckland, but I don't think much
could have been done to prevent that," Bell said.
The day before Dontay took his own life, his behaviour did not seem out of the ordinary. He had spent the day at the swimming pools and had McDonald's for dinner at home, before kissing his aunt goodnight on the cheek.
Later that night he was taken to Middlemore Hospital in an ambulance before being transferred to Starship Children's Hospital. Despite full medical interventions, Dontay died the following afternoon.
The coroner gave her condolences to Dontay's friends and family and acknowledged the efforts and care provided by Hauora Waikato and Whirinaki in their dealings with the teen's care.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.