Death probe con­tin­ues

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

FAM­ILY and friends of a North Ward woman killed in a freak mower ac­ci­dent a year ago are stunned it is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mu­raka ‘‘ Jenny’’ Vearn­combe was killed in­stantly while walk­ing to work on March 3 last year, struck in the head by a piece of pipe flung up by a slasher op­er­at­ing in long grass across the road.

Ms Vearn­combe’s for­mer em­ployer, friend and African Bazaar owner Harry Martin said this week he was shocked to hear the in­ves­ti­ga­tion had taken so long, de­scrib­ing it as a ‘‘ long, drawn out pro- cess’’. He said he hoped the even­tual out­come would stop a sim­i­lar tragedy from oc­cur­ring again.

‘‘ There have to be clear guide­lines as to the man­ner in which equip­ment which can pos­si­bly put peo­ple’s lives in dan­ger should be used,’’ he said.

Mr Martin said the in­ci­dent still played heav­ily on the minds of Ms Vearn­combe’s friends and fam­ily.

‘‘ We still think of her of­ten and haven’t com­pletely come to terms with the na­ture of the event and the way it hap­pened,’’ he said.

‘‘ It leaves one for­ever with the sense of un­cer­tainty as to what life holds ahead.’’

A Work­place Health and Safety spokesman this week con­firmed in­ves­ti­ga­tions were on­go­ing and was un­able to pro­vide a time frame as to when the or­gan­i­sa­tion would have an out­come.

Ms Vearn­combe

Ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions sug­gested the in­ci­dent was an ac­ci­dent and the piece of pipe was hid­den in long grass be­ing slashed by the trac­tor in­volved, but Work­place Health and Safety in­quiries would de­ter­mine ex­actly what hap­pened and what rec­om­men­da­tions for rel-

The trac­tor-slasher evant busi­nesses, if any, arise from the tragedy.

Mr Martin said while the tragic cir­cum­stances still haunted her l o v e d o n e s o n e y e a r o n , Ms Vearn­combe’s car­ing and gen­tle na­ture was the mem­ory which over­rode all oth­ers.

would

‘‘ You won­der about how peo­ple who are in­trin­si­cally good go, while peo­ple who do mon­strous and hor­ri­ble things of­ten live very long lives,’’ he said.

‘‘ That’s how peo­ple re­mem­ber Jenny, as a good per­son.’’

The same sen­ti­ments were said im­me­di­ately af­ter the tragic ac­ci­dent last year, with fi­ance Peter Pyne say­ing Ms Vearn­combe meant the world to him.

‘‘ She was out of the or­di­nary and that’s what at­tracted me to her,’’ he said.

‘‘ Jenny was the sort of per­son ev­ery­one made friends with. ‘‘ She was my ev­ery­thing.’’ Jenny was born in Pa­pua New Guinea but moved to Aus­tralia 15 years ago, liv­ing in var­i­ous parts of the state in­clud­ing Cairns and Rock­hamp­ton, where she met Peter five years ago.

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