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Lachlan Jones inquest: Pathologist who performed autopsy was reluctant

The Southland App

Reporting by RNZ

13 May 2024, 5:47 AM

Lachlan Jones inquest: Pathologist who performed autopsy was reluctant

The pathologist who determined Gore child Lachlan Jones died from drowning says he saw no signs that the boy had been put in a freezer.


The three-year-old was found face-up in a council sewage pond just over a kilometre from his mother's home in January 2019.


Two police investigations found Lachlan accidentally drowned, but his father, Paul Jones, disagreed.



Lachlan's half-brother has been accused of putting his body in a freezer hours before he was found at the sewage oxidation pond.


The pathologist, who has name suppression, told the inquest that it would have been easy to identify if he had been put in a freezer and Lachlan's body showed no signs of that.


He said he found nothing suspicious or surprising during his autopsy, including no external trauma, and he stood by his conclusion.



He would have asked for a more thorough forensic autopsy if he found anything surprising, and did not agree with two forensic pathologists who said that drowning could not safely be concluded.


But the pathologist said he was unaware there were concerns about Lachlan's death, or that a more thorough forensic autopsy had initially been requested, but then withdrawn.


A forensic pathologist should have performed the autopsy, as Southland was not set up to autopsy children, he said.



The form he received before the autopsy noted the death was not suspicious.


He noted a family member had opposed the autopsy, and thought it might get cancelled.


He told his lawyer Adam Holloway he chose to proceed with the autopsy once he was told to avoid the delay for Lachlan's mother.


Reproduced with permission



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