An agonising 13-month wait for a coroner’s finding into the death of her eldest son has sent a mum to the brink of mental breakdown.
An agonising 13-month wait for a coroner’s finding into the death of her eldest son has sent a mum to the brink of mental breakdown.

Agonising wait for closure sends mum to brink of breakdown

THE life of Carol Toombs has been punctuated by tragedy but an agonising 13-month wait for a coroner's finding into the death of her eldest son Aaron has sent the Manoora mum to the brink of mental breakdown.

Mr Toombs led a troubled life before his death at aged 42, in bed at his Manoora home on June 5, 2019.

Knocked by a hit-and-run driver on Reservoir Rd a few years ago and severely bashed, robbed for $10 and left for dead in 2009, Mr Toombs also struggled with alcoholism.

But he was always the apple of his mum's eye.

"He had been to hell and back. And we are here waiting and waiting," she said.

Ms Toombs lost a baby boy aged five weeks as a younger woman and in the space of four months last year was forced to deal with the death of son Joshua, aged 30 in September, three months after burying her eldest son Aaron.

But the pain of not knowing what caused her son's death has pushed Ms Toombs to the edge.

"I have had two massive breakdowns this week. I found Aaron dead in his bed but it was not nice," she said.

"It was like a nightmare, I miss him so much and to not even know what your son died from. And there would be other people out there, too, still waiting if there is only one pathologist for the Cairns and Townsville area."

On August 2009 Aaron Toombs was walking home in Manoora when he was bashed by a gang of four or five men. Police never found his attackers.
On August 2009 Aaron Toombs was walking home in Manoora when he was bashed by a gang of four or five men. Police never found his attackers.

A spokesman for the Coroners Court of Queensland said Mr Toombs' body was released to his family four days after a post mortem examination but the Northern Coroner, Nerida Wilson, was still waiting for a completed autopsy report from Forensic and Scientific Services.

"The coronial investigation cannot be concluded without the autopsy report and any other information requested by the coroner," he said.

"There are a number of factors involved in Mr Toombs' matter that can only be resolved by full assessment of the pathology results, including results of histology and toxicology testing."

The spokesman said it was "not unusual" for autopsy reports to take "12 months or more" to reach the Coroner but he wouldn't be drawn on whether the situation was considered acceptable.

Despite the family being kept updated by the coroner's office, Ms Toombs believed the wait for closure was too long.

LNP attorney-general spokesman David Janetzki said families deserved timely answers to give closure.

Queensland Health was contacted regarding pathology staffing in the North Queensland region but did not respond before publication.

Originally published as Agonising wait for closure sends mum to the brink of breakdown


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