Coronial inquest: police had ‘no alternative’ but to shoot Hamilton Hill man Daniel Adwent

Stock image.
Stock image.

A POLICE officer who shot a man armed with a knife during a domestic violence incident said at an inquest into the man’s death that he had “no other alternative”.

Daniel Josef Adwent (44), died in hospital in March 2015 after he was shot by police at his Hamilton Hill home and may have had undiscovered internal injuries.

The WA Coroners Court is now examining the actions of police, paramedics and staff at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Sergeant Matthew Edmunds gave evidence on Monday that Mr Adwent was holding a knife, and he had “no other alternative” but to shoot.

“I was under no doubt there was an imminent risk to me and my colleague,” Sgt Edmunds said.

“He came (towards me) with a purpose … he was closing the gap extremely quickly.

“I believe his intention was to stab me.”

Counsel assisting the coroner Toby Bishop said a post-mortem examination found hospital records failed to note injuries to Mr Adwent’s gallbladder, pancreas, the duodenum and a perforation causing a tear of the inferior vena cava.

“This inquest will examine whether those injuries were discovered by the treating doctors … and if they were not discovered, inquire into the reason … and any significance of that to Mr Adwent’s death,” he said.

The court heard the incident was sparked after Mr Adwent’s partner called police from a neighbour’s house saying her husband had tried to choke her.

When Sgt Edmunds and Constable Jon Henshaw arrived, she told them her husband had also threatened to kill her.

The officers approached the house and confronted Mr Adwent but he “lunged” at Sgt Edmunds.

“It was as if he was trying to punch me,” the officer said.

Constable Henshaw’s taser failed to deploy and, because Sgt Edmunds was initially unaware Mr Adwent was armed, the officer used OC spray but it had no effect on Mr Adwent.

During Const Henshaw’s second attempt to use the taser, there was an insufficient connection of the barbs so it was ineffective, the court heard.

Sgt Edmunds then drew his gun and, when Mr Adwent continued to ignore demands to drop his weapon, fired a shot in his abdomen.

A nurse from a nearby home helped the officers administer first aid until paramedics arrived.

Paramedics spent 25 minutes with Mr Adwent, who went into cardiac arrest, then rushed him to hospital where his condition worsened during treatment and he died the following morning.

Investigations by police internal affairs and the major crime squad both exonerated Sgt Edmunds but an inquest is mandatory.

Medical evidence is expected to be heard later in the inquest.

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