‘Wife’ silent over death

Woman de­clines to an­swer ques­tions over fa­tal crash


A CORO­NIAL in­quest into the death of an Amer­i­can liv­ing at Wa­gait Beach came to a dra­matic halt yes­ter­day morn­ing when the woman who ran him over with her four-wheeldrive ve­hi­cle de­clined to an­swer ques­tions be­cause do­ing so might in­crim­i­nate her in his “un­law­ful killing”.

Jonathan Wil­liam Hem­pel, 62, was run over while open­ing a gate into the Wa­gait Beach prop­erty he was liv­ing at with Cathy Lin on the night of June 4 this year, shortly be­fore he was to due to re­turn to the US.

The pre­cise re­la­tion­ship be­tween Mr Hem­pel and Ms Lin – the owner of Cathy’s Place at Cullen Bay – re­mains un­clear.

The in­quest heard Ms Lin, also known as Yuk Chu Lin, told a neigh­bour her Toy­ota LandCruiser had “rolled over” Mr Hem­pel.

In his open­ing ad­dress, coun­sel as­sist­ing the coro­ner Kelvin Cur­rie said Ms Lin told a po­lice of­fi­cer at the scene the 4WD was in drive rather than re­verse when she ran Mr Hem­pel over.

“She then said that he would have been un­der the ve­hi­cle and so to make it eas­ier to re­move him she drove over him so he was at the rear of the ve­hi­cle,” Mr Cur­rie said.

Mr Cur­rie said there was some ev­i­dence Ms Lin wanted Mr Hem­pel to put money into her cafe – Cathy’s Place at Cullen Bay.

Ms Lin has ex­er­cised her right to si­lence with po­lice and, through her lawyers, re­neged on an agree­ment to pro­vide a writ­ten state­ment of her ver­sion of events on the night.

Mr Cur­rie briefly ques­tioned Ms Lin over her fi­nan­cial af­fairs yes­ter­day, be­fore her bar­ris­ter, Peter Bel­lach, made a se­ries of ob­jec­tions.

Coro­ner Greg Ca­vanagh re­fused the first – in which Mr Bel­lach said he had not been given copies of po­lice records – say­ing: “We are able to, and of­ten do, take wit­nesses by sur­prise.”

But Mr Ca­vanagh al­lowed the sec­ond ob­jec­tion, when Mr Bel­lach said Ms Lin’s con­tin­ued co-op­er­a­tion with the in­quest might in­crim­i­nate her­self.

When pushed to de­scribe what kind of of­fence Ms Lin might in­crim­i­nate her­self in, Mr Bel­lach said he was re­fer­ring to an “un­law­ful killing” rather than a traf­fic of­fence.

Mr Ca­vanagh said he could not force Ms Lin to an­swer, and would only con­sider is­su­ing a cer­tifi­cate against self-in­crim­i­na­tion af­ter po­lice had fin­ished in­ves­ti­ga­tions. He ad­journed the in­quest in­def­i­nitely for in­ves­ti­ga­tions to con­tinue. see her

Pic­ture: NT PO­LICE

Po­lice are seek­ing help from the pub­lic to iden­tify this man who may be able to as­sist of­fi­cers with their in­quiries into an al­leged as­sault in Nhu­lun­buy.

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