Tracy Beale died in 2013.
Tracy Beale died in 2013.

Urgent need to break DV epidemic, coroner says

A MOTHER'S death at the hands of her husband shows the law must be reviewed urgently to address a domestic violence epidemic, a coroner says.

More than five years after Tracy Ann Beale's death, Coroner David O'Connell has found the Gladstone woman died because her husband James Andrew Beale choked her.

And Mr O'Connell, in findings delivered on Wednesday, said Mrs Beale's death showed the law around choking and strangulation could be deficient.

"Mrs Beale died ... when restrained by her husband in a chokehold in a domestic violence setting," the coroner found.

Mr O'Connell found Mrs Beale died from neck compression, which led to asphyxia.

She then likely suffered a "vasovagal attack" which could happen when a person's brain was deprived of oxygen and a fainting episode occurred.

The coroner said police had told the inquest two people were charged every day in Queensland for "choking and strangulation" domestic violence offences.

"Circumstances such as seen in this inquest are occurring weekly and legislative change is required, and promptly," Mr O'Connell added.

The coroner referred to how awareness was raised with the "One punch can kill" campaign around coward punches.

A similar initiative should be considered to educate the public about the fatal dangers of choking and strangulation, Mr O'Connell said.

Mrs Beale died at a Philip St address on January 21, 2013.

Mr Beale restrained his wife, "firmly squeezing her neck until she became limp," the coroner said.

"She was noticed to be unresponsive but he did not provide CPR."

The coroner said alcohol consumption that night and the heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy both likely "contributed" to Mrs Beale's death but did not contribute "directly".

Michael Anderson, counsel for Mrs Beale's family, told the inquest Mrs Beale was struggling and "thrashing around" before she lost consciousness.

Mr Beale was charged with murder but acquitted in 2013.

Then he faced a manslaughter charge but prosecutors withdrew that charge. -NewsRegional 


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