Please note, this story contains reference to someone who has died.
An inquest into the 2018 death of Anaiwan-Gamilaraay man Nathan Reynolds began in NSW Coroner’s Court on Monday.
Reynolds was serving a four-month sentence at John Morony Correctional Centre, now known as Francis Greenway Correction Complex, near South Windsor NSW.
One week before he was due to be released, the 36-year-old father suffered an asthma attack which led to his death.
The inquest has heard that on August 31, Reynolds called for assistance at 11:27pm. Prison officers arrived 12 minutes later.
When questioned on Tuesday regarding the reasoning for delayed response prison officer Matthew Fawzy said: “I can’t think of anything.”
Fawzy said the officers walked to Reynolds, saying officers “were taught never to run unless it’s an officer actually getting assaulted”.
On Tuesday the inquest heard from inmate Aaron Robinson who gave an emotional recount of Reynolds’ last moments.
“I needed to keep him calm. He was in a panic, couldn’t exhale—he was a man begging for help with his eyes and he couldn’t say a word,” he told the inquest.
“What little breath he had was just gasping for help. I just asked him to look at me and concentrate on me … to try and relax so he could breathe.”
Prison nurse Casey Wright was called at 11:40pm—13 minutes after Reynolds’ call for help.
Another inmate, Jeremy Preo, told the inquest on Monday that Wright had slapped Reynolds in the face and told a prison officer he was suffering a drug overdose.
“The next thing I remember is her bent over the top of Nathan, slapping him, and shaking him and telling him to wake up,” Preo told the inquest.
“I believe that she just thought he overdosed on drugs, because he was a criminal. He was in jail; he was a junkie.”
Lawyers representing Reynolds’ family told the inquest an autopsy found traces of Naloxone – a drug commonly given to those suffering an opioid overdose.
Paramedics arrived on-site at 12:14am. Half an hour after they arrived, Reynolds was declared dead.
Reynolds’ family have been present at the inquest.
“We’re here today because we want to know the truth and we want justice for our brother—we want to make sure that no other family should have to go through this pain,” said Taleah and Makayla Reynolds in a statement.
“Nathan died on the cold floor of a prison, with no loved ones around him. He was just 36 years old—he died far too young.”
The inquest is expected to continue into next week.
By Rachael Knowles