Grafton Jail where the alleged assault took place last Thursday.
Grafton Jail where the alleged assault took place last Thursday.

Mystery surrounds prisoner's death

MYSTERY surrounds the violent death of a man whose family believes he should not have been imprisoned in the first place.

Ian Klum had been in Grafton Jail for just four weeks for driving while unlicensed – his eighth offence – and was due to appeal his sentence today.

The Woolgoolga 53-year-old died in a Brisbane hospital on Monday after he was allegedly bashed in his cell by another inmate in maximum security last Thursday. He had suffered bleeding to his head and swelling to his brain.

The mystery deepened further late yesterday with news a senior correctional officer had been suspended while Corrective Services undertakes an internal investigation.

“He didn’t deserve to be in jail. I know he was assaulted in his cell but I don’t know what else happened,” said Ian’s daughter, Jaimie Klum, 17.

Ian’s sister, Gail Baker, is also searching for answers.

“He was supposed to be in protective custody. It shouldn’t have happened,” Gail said. “The family is unhappy and we are dealing with grief at the moment.

“He was my brother. I loved him. He was a good person.”

Jaimie and her family including his step-daughter Jerri-Ellen were by Ian’s bedside in the final moments of his life when they played him a Frank Sinatra CD and the guitar.

“This is devastating,” Jaimie said.

“A lot of people love him and we’ve been getting message upon message from all his friends.

“He loved his family and he liked to teach me about everything in the world and about the beauty of the world and about love for your family and for each other.

“He taught me how important it was to keep relationships.

“He loved his kids. He took me everywhere and did a lot of things with me like motorbike riding and skiing and he took me overseas to Bali.”

Jaimie said her father was an adventurer who had travelled the world and loved surfing and diving, but a paragliding accident in Bali several years ago had left him badly injured.

“He broke his ribs and his legs and shattered his lower back and pelvis and he was on strong pain killers, but he could still walk,” Jaimie said.

Ian was also a refrigeration mechanic and horticulturist and he built the family home at Woolgoolga with its stunning ocean views.

“He would say how lucky we were to live there,” Jaimie said.

Gail Baker said her brother was an individual character with a strong personality.

“He was a very loveable man and he was very creative,” Gail said.

“We will sadly miss him.”

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