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Coronial inquest examines ‘very troubling’ death of Charli Powell in Queanbeyan | The Canberra Times


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An inquest is examining the death of a “very loving and bubbly” Queanbeyan girl, who died after being found in a public toilet in what a coroner says were “very troubling” circumstances. The NSW Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday that Aboriginal girl Charli Powell, described by her mother as a “Wiradjuri warrior”, had died “in the context of domestic violence” in February 2019. Jake Harris, counsel assisting the coroner, told the court in his opening statement that Charli, 17, had “a troubled early life”. Mr Harris said the KFC employee had formed a relationship with Rohan Rosewarne in April 2017. He told the court he expected evidence would show Rosewarne had been violent towards Charli, with authorities informed in December 2018 that Rosewarne had “bashed the shit out of Charli”. Mr Harris detailed a series of “nasty” messages between the couple in the days leading up to Charli’s death, telling the court Rosewarne had abused the 17-year-old in texts. “Swear to God … I’ll stab ya in your throat,” Rosewarne said in one message. Rosewarne also taunted Charli about having had a miscarriage, writing: “F— you and your dead baby.” Mr Harris told the court that, amid talk of the relationship ending, Rosewarne was ringing Charli incessantly, making 97 unanswered calls to her one day and 77 the next. He said the evidence suggested Charli and Rosewarne were together at the latter’s home until not long before the 17-year-old girl was found, unresponsive, in a toilet block at Freebody Oval. According to Rosewarne, he said, Charli had “become stroppy” and left the home without warning. Phone records showed there were then multiple calls between the pair, with Rosewarne later telling police Charli had told him she was going to kill herself and that she was in a toilet. Rosewarne claimed he went looking and found her in a male toilet at the oval. He said he had then gone to find help and returned with a stranger, David Worth. Mr Worth gave evidence on Tuesday, telling the court he had taken turns unsuccessfully performing CPR with Rosewarne, who had needed help because he was “in shock [and] genuine grief”. The court heard the account Rosewarne had given police contained inconsistencies, with one topic of controversy being at which stage of the incident he had phoned triple zero. Michael Bartlett, a lawyer representing Charli’s mother, described aspects of Rosewarne’s version of events as “quite confusing”. Mr Harris indicated Rosewarne, who is appearing via audio-visual link from prison, having been jailed over unrelated matters, would be asked about the inconsistencies during his evidence. MORE COURT AND CRIME NEWS The counsel assisting told NSW deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame some of the main issues to be considered in the inquest were the circumstances of Charli’s death, and whether it was self-inflicted or “caused by a known person”. Ms Grahame, who is conducting the inquest in Queanbeyan, offered her personal condolences to the many family and friends of Charli who attended the first day of the inquest. She described the circumstances of the 17-year-old’s death as “very troubling” and said she hoped she would be able to provide more clarity around what had happened. “My heart is with you in these proceedings,” Ms Grahame told Charli’s mother, Sharon Moore. Outside court, Ms Moore described her daughter as loyal, friendly, loving and very bubbly. She said it had been “a big fight” to convince authorities to conduct the inquest, at which she would have her last chance to fight for Charli. “I want justice for Charli,” she said, adding that she was still trying to learn to live without her more than three years after her death. Charli’s best friend, Kaitlin Sanderson, called her “the life of the party” and said life would never be the same without her. She said the whole community had been shattered by the death of Charli, whose funeral had been “packed”. Ms Sanderson also described Charli as very loyal and said the teenager was “truly loved to this day”. “She was really one of a kind,” Ms Sanderson said. The inquest is expected to run until Thursday. Those who may be distressed can seek support by phoning: Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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