Tyson wants truth told at inquest

The intersection of James and Kitchener Sts where Donna and Jordan Rice were swept to their deaths in January’s flash flood.
The intersection of James and Kitchener Sts where Donna and Jordan Rice were swept to their deaths in January’s flash flood. Adam Davies

NO FATHER should be subjected to the pain and emotion John Tyson has felt over the past three days.

He has been sitting in a Brisbane courtroom listening to the horrific details surrounding the death of his wife, Donna Rice, and son, Jordan Rice, on January 10.

However, despite all the graphic details, video footage and photographs, Mr Tyson had one goal at the coroner's inquest into their deaths, and that was to ensure the truth was told.

"Ultimately, my wife and son were the victims of circumstance and that was certainly highlighted and accepted by the coroner," Mr Tyson said.

With the event surrounding their deaths on January 10 laid bare on the table for Queensland State Coroner Michael Barnes, Mr Tyson said he was relieved that finally the truth had surfaced.

"What did come out, and the coroner agreed, was how much the system failed Donna and Jordan.

"They were victims of a natural disaster and a very poor disaster management system that fell apart at the highest level," Mr Tyson said.

However, there were aspects of the inquest that Mr Tyson struggled through and the painful emotions returned.

"It was horrible to sit there and watch video footage of my son struggling for his life in the water.

"Strangely, out of all the deaths the coroner was investigating, only the picture of my wife in situ was shown to the court, which was very hard to see," Mr Tyson said.

Coroner Michael Barnes is expected to hand down his findings later this year into the circumstances surrounding the 25 deaths as a result of the flood event of January 10.

"It is just a waiting game now and it's a relief that I have been able to assist in putting my family's story before the coroner," he said.

Mr Tyson believes that there will be a nervous wait for people who were highlighted at the inquest for the ultimate failure of their duty.

"Two high-ranking Toowoomba police officers drove to the intersection on January 10 and saw my wife and son on the roof of the car and for whatever reason decided to drive off again.

"The coroner stated that it was his intention to refer them to the police integrity commission," Mr Tyson said.

Topics:  coronial inquest donna rice floods jordan rice

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