Mystery still surrounds jail death

MYSTERY continues to surround the death of Woolgoolga man Ian Klum who suffered massive head injuries in his cell at the Grafton Jail almost two weeks ago, on Thursday, June 10.

Mr Klum, 53, who was serving time for repeated drink driving offences, died on Monday of last week in Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane.

Mr Klum's 50-year-old cellmate, a fellow traffic offender, was questioned over the incident but no charges relating to the death have been laid.

Information has been difficult to obtain from police and Corrective Services alike and as investigations continue it is understood the prisoner culture in which ‘no one sees anything' is in full effect.

A Corrective Services source said yesterday that the prison officer stood down on full pay in the days after the incident had not followed procedure correctly on the night of the incident, failing to lodge a report.

The spokesman said prison cells did not normally have CCTV cameras and even ‘safe cells', which were reserved for prisoners ‘at risk', did not usually have cameras but were placed within view of guards on duty.

Other sources understand there was only one other prisoner in the cell with Mr Klum at the time of the incident; the man questioned by police.

A spokesman for the NSW State Coroner said Mr Klum's post mortem examination was performed in Queensland and the report forwarded to the NSW Coroner.

He said a mandatory inquest into the death in custody would be conducted at some stage down the track.

Meanwhile Coffs Harbour visiting magistrate Darryl Pearce, who sentenced Mr Klum, came under scrutiny in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend, the paper labelling him ‘Fierce Pearce'.

Mr Klum was due to appeal his six-month sentence for disqualified driving in the district court prior to his death.

The SMH referred to a psychiatric report, which recommended Mr Klum should not be jailed.

When the District Court returns to Coffs Harbour on July 26, it is expected that six of Magistrate Pearce's sentences will be appealed.

Labelled an habitual traffic offender by the court, Mr Klum was ordered off the roads until 2030.

Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos said the government made no apology for its tough approach in sentencing.

Read more: Investigation continues into death

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