A schizophrenic indigenous man who died after being restrained in a southeast Queensland hospital was placid and well-managed before his death, his family says.
Bradley Karl Coolwell died in September 2011 after he was admitted to Logan Hospital, some four years before his brother Shaun also died after being restrained by police.
Family members attending a Coroner’s Court hearing in Brisbane on Monday wore t-shirts bearing the Aboriginal flag and text reading: Shaun Coolwell Our Land Is Where We Stand.
Outside court, Mr Coolwell’s sister Sonya Coghill said in some ways the hearing was harder to sit through than Bradley’s funeral.
“I’m just gutted because he was so well-managed,” she said.
“Everyone who knew him knew he was non-violent. He did have episodes but they weren’t extreme.”
In evidence, another sister Shontay accepted counsel assisting Anthony Marinac’s suggestion Bradley sometimes took on a superhero personality but insisted he was never aggressive and loved the police.
“He loved superman. That was it. It was like if you have a favourite singer,” she said.
“Bradley loved Superman but he wasn’t like `okay I’m going to fly off a building’.”
The court heard detectives attending the scene of Mr Coolwell’s death observed marks on his body – such as chest and arm bruising and a small amount of blood on his nose and cheek – as it lay on the floor of a seclusion room.
Dr David Storey conducted an autopsy and said he found evidence of mild to moderate force being used but nothing that could be attributed as a cause of death in its own right.
He said a condition known as extreme delirium syndrome – in which a person suddenly dies after being in a state of heightened agitation – was of “limited relevance” in his opinion.
The controversial condition has been linked to deaths involving multiple police officers restraining an agitated person but is not formally recognised by many high-ranking medical bodies.
But he did note Mr Coolwell was suffering from acute bronchitis.
The hearing continues before Coroner James McDougall.