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Family of policewoman who committed suicide suing N.S.W.

The police force failed to look after the mother of two when she developed PTSD, the suit alleges

On July 3, 2013, Sergeant Gabrielle McDonald took her own life. A mother of two from Newcastle, Sergeant McDonald had developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after attending a series of harrowing incidents during her career, including a double road fatality in 2010 and a drowning death of a 17-year-old boy.

Now, her husband Andrew McDonald is suing the N.S.W. State government, with the statement of claim alleging that the Police Force failed to provide his wife with adequate training and had put “her in a position of peril”, the ABC reports. The suit also alleges that after Sergeant McDonald attempted suicide at the Newcastle police station, however the incident was not investigated. 

Mr McDonald, who was also a police officer, told the ABC, “It’s investigation 101,”

“That’s what police do and it’s appalling that it was never done.”

He recounted the last phone conversation he had with his wife.

“She said I can’t go on any more. I’m not getting better. I’m such a burden…” he said.

“And I said: ‘You can’t do this’. I pleaded with her and begged her not to.

“She said I love you and the kids. We talked about all the things we’d done together, but nothing I said would make sense to her, she was just that determined to do it”.

The N.S.W. Police told the ABC they continue “to improve its practices and procedures, having made significant advances over many years to minimise the psychological impact of policing duties on our officers, who frequently undertake stressful and difficult work,” the statement said.

“It is well understood that every officer’s circumstances are unique and most often extremely complex with regard to the impacts of psychological injury.”

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