Wife sues police for allegedly leaving behind dead husband’s foot
The grief-stricken family of a man who died in a highway crash are suing NSW Police after allegedly finding his foot at the scene of the accident eight months after it happened.
Truck driver Keith Arthur Wilson, 62, was killed in collision on the Pacific Highway south of Taree on 18 June, 2013 after his vehicle slammed into the back of another truck and caught on fire. The other driver escaped with minor injuries.
Mr Wilson's wife Elizabeth Ann Fuller-Wilson and daughters Nicole Fuller and Brea Skillen are claiming they found "part of a foot and ankle and clothing containing the deceased's melted remains" at the scene when they went to pay their respects eight months after the tragedy in early 2014.
The original crash scene had been attended by police, who arranged for Mr Wilson's body to be removed and taken to Manning Base Hospital in Taree.
Mr Wilson's family are claiming the police had been negligent in its duty in "failing to remove all parts of the deceased's body and personal effects from the scene of the accident" and failing to warn them "of the possibility that some body parts had been left at the scene of the accident".
The family are arguing it was "foreseeable" that the family members would visit the scene to pay their respects and the discovery of the remains would be distressing. They are seeking damages for the psychological harm caused by seeing their loved one's body parts.
Court documents state the family knew it was Mr Wilson's body parts as they recognised the clothing.
The case was originally dismissed without trial in the District Court in November 2017 after Judge John Hatzistergos found that imposing a duty on officers to scan the area and remove all debris from the scene of the accident would "divert police from their statutory duties".
However, this week Mr Wilson's family won the right to appeal the decision in the NSW Supreme Court.
They will be allowed to resubmit their statements of claim and the case will return to the District Court.
NSW Police was also ordered to pay the plaintiff's Supreme Court costs.