Thursday, April 24, 2008


Justin Berkhout's family unable to farewell him

By Kate Sikora, dtm

April 24, 2008 12:00am

HOSPITAL staff have been accused of derailing a police investigation into the death of a patient, whose parents are still waiting to scatter his ashes.

Justin Berkhout, 29, committed suicide last July after being left alone in a room despite concerns over his mental health.

His parents Yvonne and Adrian Berkhout, of Wagga Wagga, have been waiting for 10 months, unable to scatter their son's ashes while a coroner awaits a report from police.

The Daily Telegraph understands some staff at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital have not given statements to police. Only 12 of 24 requested statements had been received by police who told the family they were frustrated with the delays.

A lawyer acting for the family said it was insulting no one had been held accountable over the death.

"The family are incredibly disappointed at the lack of progress of the investigation undertaken by the hospital," Robert Mooy said.

The Greater Southern Area Health Service, in charge of Wagga Wagga Hospital, refused to comment on the matter.