Mum wins inquest into son's death after suicide doubts

A MOTHER has secured a coronial inquest into her son's death after highlighting flaws in the police investigation and casting doubt over a suicide theory.

Connon Kenneth Press, a notorious Rockhampton burglar who once told police he was addicted to stealing, died last April after being shot in the head at his Mount Morgan home.

A police and coronial investigation tied the death to suicide after finding Mr Press, 33, was mentally unwell, had speed in his system when he died and based on the accounts of his girlfriend and friend.

But Mr Press's mother, Janet Beatrice Brighton, thought otherwise.

Ms Brighton applied to the Rockhampton District Court for a coronial inquest into her son's death.

She claimed neighbours heard two gun shots around the time her son died, highlighted the absence of gun powder residue on her son's body and the fact he was predominantly left handed.

Mr Press's gunshot wound was to his right temple.

Citing those same reasons, Judge Paul Smith found on Wednesday it was in the public interest to hold an inquest.

"It appears to me to be in the public interest for a coroner to inquire whether, in this case, the investigation by the police was an adequate one," he stated in a written judgment.

A coroner conducted an investigation into Mr Press's death and found he suffered from bipolar and schizophrenia and had a history of drug abuse.

According to the coroner's findings, referred to in Judge Smith's judgment, Mr Press and his girlfriend, Amanda Marsh, had a fight about 10am on April 28, 2012.

Ms Marsh claimed Mr Press grabbed a firearm and asked "do you think this works?"

Ms Marsh told police she saw the father of her two children hold the gun against the right side of his head and pull the trigger.

When Mr Press fell to the ground, Ms Marsh grabbed her friend, Kara Hare, who performed CPR.

Police found Ms Hare and Ms Marsh's statements corroborated.

It was said in the coroner's report the police conducted extensive investigations and no-one, including neighbours, heard any gunshots.

But during the application for an inquest, two neighbours, through an affidavit and a statement, claimed to have heard two gun shots on April, 28, 2012 and told police so.

Ms Brighton also alleged Ms Marsh removed a packet of cannabis from Mr Press's body after he died and moved the gun before police arrived.

In ordering an inquest be held, Judge Smith highlighted the family's right to know of Mr Press's demise, confidence issues in the police investigation and the possibility of third-party involvement.

An inquest date is yet to be fixed.



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