Warning: This story contains the name and image of a deceased Indigenous person.
Tracey Brown was working at Dame Phyllis Frost women’s prison over New Years in December 2019 when Veronica Nelson was taken into custody after being refused bail over shoplifting charges.
Nelson, 37, was suffering an undiagnosed medical condition and withdrawing from heroin.
The inquest into Nelson’s death was today played distressing audio recordings of Nelson seemingly begging Brown to help her.
The recording revealed that when Nelson asked, “When is the doctor coming to see me?”, Brown responded: “It’s not an emergency. Stop asking.”
The audio revealed that Brown further told Nelson: “Ms Nelson you need to try and stop screaming because you are keeping other prisoners awake. I can’t give you anything else.”
Officer Brown admitted to the inquest that she failed in her duty of care.
It heard that when Nelson became unresponsive on the intercom, Brown did not walk 30 metres from her office to physically check on her.
However, Brown also pointed blame at nurse Atheana George.
At one stage, George had to prise open Nelson’s hands to give her medication.
However, instead of following up on Nelson’s welfare or making any notes, the nurse sat down to watch a movie on YouTube for hours.
Brown ended her shift without providing a proper handover to her colleagues, who then found Nelson’s body on the floor of her jail cell.