28 Jun 2012

Coroner checks Kawerau death cluster

3:45 pm on 28 June 2012

Four young men aged between 16 and 18 and a woman aged 20 died - apparently from self-inflicted injuries - between October 2010 and February last year.

A suicide expert, Dr Candy Cookson Cox, told the joint inquest on Thursday there were similarities between the deaths but no direct link.

Dr Cookson Cox said all five appeared to have had fractured family relationships and suffered from emotional fragility, and were likely to have had undiagnosed mental health issues.

She said her research into mill towns globally had found that when a place such as Kawerau - based on a single industry - declines, there can be community dysfunction.