Yorta Yorta woman dies in custody in Victoria
Please note, this article contains the name and photo of someone who has died.
Another coronial inquiry is underway after an Aboriginal woman died in a maximum security Victorian prison in the early new year.
On January 2, Veronica Marie Nelson Walker died while withdrawing from drugs at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre on the outskirts of Melbourne.
Victoria’s Department of Justice and Community Safety confirmed Nelson Walker, 37, was found in her cell.
The Yorta Yorta woman had been on a Community Corrections Order and was arrested and charged on December 30 for shoplifting.
Nelson Walker was refused bail when she appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, representing herself, on December 31 and was remanded at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.
Two days later, she was dead.
It remains unclear whether Nelson Walker requested and was refused help.
Family members have since been told Nelson Walker was placed in an observation room where she was meant to be checked on hourly.
A spokesperson from the Department of Justice and Community Safety said “it would be inappropriate to comment” as the coronial investigation is ongoing.
“As with all deaths in custody, the Coroner will investigate and formally determine the cause of death,” the spokesperson said.
This death comes less than two months after the final hearing that wrapped up the coronial inquest into the death of Tanya Day.
Also a Yorta Yorta woman, Day was arrested in December 2017 for public drunkenness and was left unattended in a Victorian police station holding cell.
The 55-year-old fell and hit her head multiple times in the cell, resulting in her eventual death from brain haemorrhage.
Day’s family have been vocal in advocating for the decriminalisation of public drunkenness, with their campaigning resulting in the Victorian Government announcing they will decriminalise the offence.
By Hannah Cross