Disabled man had 23 broken ribs

MYSTERY surrounds the death of a disabled Ipswich man who was found with almost every rib in his body fractured.

Stuart Lambert was just 31 years old when he collapsed and died on June 4 last year.

But unknown to police at the time, Mr Lambert suffered 23 fractured ribs, his body covered in bruises and scratches.

His carer Michelle Stitt, who had looked after Mr Lambert at her Tarampa home for six years, told police her ward had a seizure.

She said she discovered the autistic man outside and dragged him inside the house where she performed CPR and called emergency services.

The investigation was at first deemed non-suspicious, as Mr Lambert was known to have epilepsy.

But when autopsy reports were returned to police six months later, foul play was suspected as the cause of death was put down to flail chest.

Pathologist Dr Beng Ong told an inquest at Ipswich last week that he did not expect Mr Lambert to have so many fractured ribs before beginning the autopsy.

Dr Ong conceded Mr Lambert’s fall onto a terracotta pot and resuscitation may have caused some of his injuries.

But he said the force required to fracture so many ribs would be the equivalent of a traffic crash or a fall from a two-storey building.

Dr Ong said he could not rule out the possibility that Mr Lambert’s injuries were deliberately caused by a person.

Ipswich District Criminal Investigation Branch Detective Senior Constable Michael Emery gave evidence at the inquest that the case was considered non- suspicious by police until the autopsy was returned.

“But I found it was surprising that someone in her (Ms Stitt’s) position would not have a current first aid qualification given she was caring for someone who was known to have epilepsy,” he said.

Ms Stitt and Disability Services Queensland employees are due to give evidence when the inquest continues next year.

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