Australia: Inquest into death of the 'Porsche kid' hears mental health services were 'non-existent' at Hakea Prison - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Inquest into death of the 'Porsche kid' hears mental health services were 'non-existent' at Hakea Prison

10:11  08 october  2019
10:11  08 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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An inquest into the death of a notorious Perth criminal once dubbed the "Porsche kid" has been told a prison guard was overheard saying she "didn't care if he died" during a standoff that ended with him trying to take his own life.

Bret Lindsay Capper died in Fiona Stanley Hospital two days after barricading himself inside a day room at Hakea Prison in January 2016 and trying to kill himself.

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The inquest heard Capper had been in custody since October 2015 when he was arrested on charges of armed robbery, burglary, assault and stealing.

Fellow inmate Gavin Russell was in the same unit as Capper and testified that the 43-year-old, whom he had known for about nine years, told him in the days before that "stuff was going to go down soon" and to "stay away from it".

Russell, who gave evidence via video link from Karnet Prison Farm, said he had no idea what Capper was planning but thought he may have been going to stir up trouble so he could be transferred to another prison.

He said on the day of the incident Capper used two tables to barricade himself in the day room and then taped plastic bags across the windows.

About 20 seconds later the prison was placed into lockdown and inmates had to go into their cells, but he said he could hear the commotion outside, including officers trying to break the windows to get into Capper's room.

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Russell estimated the stand-off lasted about 40 minutes. During that time he said he overheard a conversation between two female guards in which one of them said she "didn't care if he died or not because all it was was a little bit of paperwork".

"It was pretty hard to hear from someone who is supposed to be looking after you," he said.

Inmate 'begged' for psychological help

Russell told the inquest after the incident he fell into a "very dark place" because he felt in some way responsible.

"I literally absolutely begged for help but I got to see the prison counselling service once," he said.

But because he, like Capper, was not diagnosed with a severe mental illness, he said he was not given further help.

"I begged and begged and begged and for 12 months I got absolutely nothing," he said.

Russell said it was not until he police came to interview him about Capper's death that any support was offered.

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"I think the detectives sent an email to the prison and said 'you need to look after this guy' … and I got some counselling," he said.

"Mental health care in Hakea is non-existent."

Sad loss of a 'good person'

Another inmate who witnessed the events, Grant Rapley, became emotional when talking about Capper, whom he said he had known all his life and was a close friend.

Rapley fought back tears as described Capper as a good bloke who was full of life.

Russell also described Capper as a "good guy" who had helped a lot of people who had come to prison.

"Don't even think he's not a good person," he said. "He was one that actually stood out."

The inquest heard Capper spent most of his adult life in jail for various offences and when he was teenager he was dubbed "the Porsche kid" for his record of stealing luxury cars.

The inquest is examining the quality of the supervision, treatment and care given to Capper while he was in custody.

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