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Eddie Murray (Cont’d)

PHILIPPA McDONALD: Why don’t you think the police took him home to your place, if you were so close by?

ARTHUR MURRAY: Well, that’s a good question. We are also asking that question. Why didn’t they bring him home? There was no need whatsoever to detain him and lock him in the cell.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: Just over an hour after being placed in custody, Eddie Murray was dead. He was found by station officers, hanging from the cell’s bars.

ARTHUR MURRAY: They didn’t worry. They didn’t think that we would pursue it further, which we did.

LEILA MURRAY: I think the police got a shock when we wanted an investigation into our son’s death, because we knew that our son wouldn’t take his own life.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: It’s been a long fight for answers for Leila and Arthur Murray.

Unhappy with the coroner’s open finding, they left Wee Waa and campaigned in earnest for a royal commission into black deaths in custody. But they believe even a royal commission failed to answer their questions. So determined in their quest, the Murray’s went against Aboriginal tradition and 16 years after Eddie’s death, his remains were exhumed. It seemed finally the Murray’s had a breakthrough. The exhumation delivered startling new evidence.

ROBERT CAVANAGH, BARRISTER: Eddie Murray had a fractured sternum and that was not identified at the time of either the inquest or the royal commission.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: What possible conclusions would you draw from the fact that Eddie Murray had a fractured sternum?

ROBERT CAVANAGH: He had a significant injury which was not identified. How that injury occurred is very important to know. It’s most likely caused by a blow.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: Couldn’t that injury have been caused by resuscitation?

ROBERT CAVANAGH: I suppose that’s a remote possibility, but the royal commissioner cast doubt on whether resuscitation efforts occurred at all.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: Barrister Robert Cavanagh is one of the authors of a report which documents new forensic evidence following the exhumation of Eddie’s remains.

DR JOHAN DUFLOU, NSW INSTITUTE OF FORENSIC MEDICINE:
The most likely cause of the fracture of the sternum is one or more blows to the chest some time prior to death. I cannot state with any degree of certainty whether this blow was inflicted by a person or as a result of Mr Murray falling onto a protruding surface.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: Today the Murray family arrived at the public launch of yet another report into their son’s death, but this time they were hopeful. They’re calling for his case to be reopened in light of questions being asked that, with a broken sternum, how Eddie Murray could have hanged himself.

PROFESSOR NIKOLAI BOGDUK, PROFESSOR OF ANATOMY AND MUSCULOSKELETAL MEDICINE: An individual with a fractured sternum would have their chest pain strongly aggravated by movements such as lifting the arms above the head to hold or pull objects. What we take for granted when reaching up, in terms of being able to balance the upper limb as we reach up or out, would be impaired.

DR BILL JONES, SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMISSIONER: I would say that the Murray family have been very brave in pursuing justice and in pursuing the truth, which, given this report and what this report says, probably still has somewhere to go before we actually get to the truth.

PHILIPPA McDONALD: The NSW Police Minister and Attorney-General say they will both seriously consider the report and its recommendations. A spokesman for the NSW Police Service says it’s a matter for the coroner and others in the criminal justice system. Would you accept it if even a new investigation found that your son had committed suicide? Would you finally accept that?

ARTHUR MURRAY: No, no way in the world. No way in the world that I would accept Eddie died by his own hands.

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Follow-up News:

Summer Series 9 – Leila Murray

Death of Eddie Murray Inquiry

Wikipedia – Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

Eddie’s Country – Book

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