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Coroner Releases Report on Livingstone Filicides-Suicide

June 25, 2015 at 8:24 AM

*From the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse*

Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall has released her report into the Livingstone double murder-suicide.

The inquest into the deaths of Bradley, Ellen and Edward Livingstone was held in April 2015. Bradley, 9, and Ellen, 6, were shot by their father, Edward Livingstone, in Dunedin on 15 January 2014.

In her report, the Coroner said "valuable lessons" for the future could be taken from the tragic deaths. These would enable agencies to better assess risk and take specific actions to reduce it. She commented on the need for health professionals to take care when providing letters to a court. She recommended that Police:

  • Institute family violence training for all frontline officers and family violence specialists
  • Review how family violence is recorded to ensure there is a central information repository that Police can access
  • Audit the new Adult Sexual Assault regime implemented in the Southern District and review whether the changes should be implemented nationally
  • Institute regular audits of Family Violence Interagency Response System (FVIARS) processes

Lawyer Ann Stevens, who represented the children's mother Katharine Webb, was interviewed about the findings on Radio New Zealand. She said Ms Webb did not accept the Coroner's suggestion that "best practice" by the agencies involved might not have altered the tragic outcome.

"That's probably the most important finding to Katharine and and myself, and the most distressing finding, because that implies there's an inevitability about this that we just can't accept. Inevitability comes with tides and with the sun rising but it doesn't come with human behaviour, in our view. As the report makes clear ... these were choices that Mr Livingstone made, choices to murder his children and those choices would be different, in our view, given different factors."

Other responses and further information are available in the media coverage below.

Background information

Background information, including media coverage from January 2014 to January 2015 and links to relevant research, is available in the previous Clearinghouse news story on the filicides.


For links to related media articles visit the NZFVC website