Monday, November 29, 2010

NSW police investigation of cruise ship death 'amateur'

THE initial police response to the cruise ship death of Dianne Brimble was amateur and unprofessional, an inquest has heard. Mark Brimble said his former wife's death was investigated by NSW Water Police, who were "not equipped" to handle the investigation.

He said investigators "had no experience in homicide investigations", even failing to take sufficient tapes for interviews and perform background checks on persons of interest.

Ms Brimble, 42, died on board a P&O cruise ship in September 2002 after consuming a toxic mix of alcohol and the drug fantasy.

In the final day of the inquest into Ms Brimble's death, Mr Brimble told the inquest his family believed NSW Police had failed to communicate with them and conduct the investigation in an acceptable manner.

In a moving submission, Mr Brimble told Balmain local court in Sydney's inner west that he felt like Michael Caton from iconic Australian movie The Castle. "I stand here just like any other Australian citizen... Prepared to fight for what's right," he told coroner Jacqueline Milledge. "All we're looking for is the truth... It seems the facts have been hindered along the way", he said.

As vice president of the Australian arm of the International Cruise Victims organisation, Mr Brimble called for greater security and an internationally recognised police presence to be aboard all cruise ships. "Cruise ships are like floating cities... and the key thing missing is a police force," he said.

Three men were charged over Ms Brimble's death, including Mark Wilhelm, in whose cabin her naked body was found and with whom she had sex. Earlier this year, Wilhelm was convicted of supplying the drug fantasy after a manslaughter charge was dropped.


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