Yarraville triple-0 caller 'quite vague'
Triple-0 caller who reported seeing through blinds a woman lying on her apartment floor, was "vague", according to Ambulance Victoria.PT3M18S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-25fs0 620 349 September 6, 2012
A triple-0 caller who alerted authorities about a woman lying in a Yarraville flat was "very vague" and provided conflicting information to that observed by paramedics when they arrived at the scene, according to Ambulance Victoria.
Paramedics were called to Jemma Burton's flat at 1.49pm on Monday but, when they arrived seven minutes later, no one answered the door and the blinds were drawn, in contrast to claims by the triple-0 caller that her body was visible through the window.
Ambulance Victoria's acting MICA group manager Greg Gibson said when the communications centre called the triple-0 caller back, the person was very vague and "basically they said 'Don't worry about it'."
Tragic scene ... Paramedics say the triple-0 caller's account changed after they knocked on the dead woman's door. Photo: Penny Stephens
The person also had not waited at the apartment block on Tongue Street to guide paramedics, who spent a "considerable amount" of time at the flat, knocking on the door and trying to see through the window.
It wasn't until 9pm on Tuesday - 31 hours later - that police forced their way into the unit and discovered the 25-year-old's body, alongside her distraught and severely dehydrated 15-month-old son Toby, who had been forced to fend for himself.
"It wasn't as if this person [the triple-0 caller] was quite specific," Mr Gibson told radio station 3AW.
Now in state care ... The toddler found near the body of his dead mother spent at least 30 hours by himself. Photo: Paul Rovere
"The actual information was very vague and there wasn't a lot to act on in terms of what our crew were seeing and what they were presented with.
"If we had a view ... in through the window of seeing someone lying on the floor, then we would have forced entry into the property."
He said paramedics sometimes received hoax calls that were similar to what occurred on Monday.
"To put it into context, not to say that this was a hoax call, but we do get hoax calls that are very similar to these sorts of situations," Mr Gibson said.
"I spoke to the paramedics and they're quite upset at the outcome of this. They're obviously thinking 'Could I have done something more?'. I think our paramedics managed the case appropriately but, you know, in the context of what the outcome is, it's a very sad case for the family."
Toby was found near his dead mother on the lounge room floor of their flat about 9pm on Tuesday when a passer-by noticed the woman's body through a rear window and contacted an off-duty police officer.
Police believe the woman died on Monday. Homicide squad detectives launched an investigation but yesterday police said her death was not being treated as suspicious.
It was also revealed yesterday that police and community services workers visited the flat on Monday morning, but left when there was no response.
Police Sergeant Mark Anderson said the toddler just wanted to be held by officers when he was found.
"He was very clingy, he didn't want to be let go," he said.
The boy was taken to the Royal Children's Hospital to be treated for dehydration.
A hospital spokeswoman said he was discharged in a "satisfactory condition".
It is understood the toddler is now in the care of the Department of Human Services.
It is believed the apartment was tidy, there were no signs of injury to the woman and no drug paraphernalia was found nearby.
Sergeant Anderson said police had visited the property before, but he did not believe those visits were connected to the death.
A Department of Human Services spokesman said community support for people was delivered by either a government department or support agency, depending on what sort of issues the client faced.
Neighbours said the boy had just begun walking and his mother adored him.
With Nino Bucci and Adam Cooper