Police didn't break news of death to Yasmin's family

- Yasmin Duncan's family wants others spared the grief

EDITORIAL: A matter of timing

POLICE did not break the news of Yasmin Duncan’s death to her family.

That task ended up with the mother of Daniel Shiels, the man driving the car in which the 18-year-old Albury girl died.

Coroner Tony Murray said NSW protocols for informing victims’ next-of-kin should be reviewed, given the speed of technology today.

Yasmin’s sister Blair told the inquest her sister Jade had learned of the crash from one of Yasmin’s friends, although she could provide no further details.

Jade tried to call her sister, then Mr Shiels’ mother, who told her her sister had died.

“The driver’s family had been informed, the accident had been reported on the news, yet my family had not received notification,” Blair read.

“Jade had the agonising task of telling our family Yasmin had passed away.”

Blair, who was 15 in 2010, said police visited their home later that night to inform them.

Sgt Gary Rowe, assisting the coroner, said police had followed the protocols but it was “common with the technology available, that people find out before police can notify them”.

Sgt Rowe said he believed the issue had arisen in another inquest but was unsure if the protocols had been changed.

Mr Murray said parties to this inquest could make submissions on the issue by January 24.

“Perhaps the instructions need to be amended to take into account the new technology, to ensure what happened to this family is not repeated in the future,” he said.

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