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Parents' call for action after couple's tragic deaths in Australia

By Sue Austin | News | Published:

The parents of a young woman who killed herself hours after her fiance died in a road accident in Australia, have called on the police and the hospital there to change their procedures after she was left alone to deal with her grief.

Jason Francis and Alice Robinson

Alice Robinson, 26, took tablets and alcohol within hours of being told Jason Francis, 29, had died Perth last December. She sent a text to his phone saying she loved him and expressing her intention to join him.

The couple had moved to Australia from the Bridgnorth area.

Speaking after today's inquests into the deaths of the devoted couple, her parents, Leigh and Dawn Robinson, from Much Wenlock said they believed both the police and the Royal Perth Hospital were accountable.

Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Coroner, John Ellery recorded that Jason had died of a road traffic collision and Alice from suicide.

He said their deaths, a double tragedy, were inextricably linked.

Mr Robinson said: "The circumstances contributing to Alice's death, we believe were avoidable. When Alice was informed by a police officer at the scene of the accident that Jason had been seriously injured and taken to hospital she collapsed and was clearly distraught.

"Yet the police officer allowed her to drive herself and find her way to the hospital alone. In our opinion the police failed in their duty of care.

"At the hospital in the interview room alone, Alice was informed that Jason had died. Stunned, overcome and in shock she asked for some air and was shown outside. When she was outside, at her request, she was left alone and she ran to her car and left the hospital. In our opinion this should never have happened."

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Procedures

"It is our belief that both the police and the Royal Perth Hospital are accountable. We have asked that they reflect on this incident and consider reviewing their practices.

"We have been told the police and the hospital staff followed their standard operating procedures. However we believe those need to be amended.

"More awareness that individuals in shock and distraught should not be left alone, in any circumstances. We need to feel we have done what we can to reduce the chance of this happening again."

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They stressed they did not blame any individual but rather the procedures.

The coroner read out statements provided by the deputy coroner for Western Australia who carried out investigations into the couple's death, before passing his own decision based on those investigations.

The families said Alice and Jason had been very much in love and had been due to announce their engagement at Christmas, days after their died.

Couple could not live without each other

They had started a new life in Australia but just three days before Christmas last year two families in Shropshire were torn apart when a devoted couple died within hours of each other.

Jason Francis, a talented sportsman died after being hit by a vehicle driven by a teenage pizza delivery driver outside his flat in Stanley Street, Scarborough, Perth.

The 29-year-old, who used to play for Bridgnorth, Newport and Market Drayton, died later of his injuries at the Royal Perth Hospital.

His girlfriend Alice Robinson had been waiting for him to return home from a day’s drinking with friends when the accident happened.

Hearing sirens in the street, she walked outside to see what was going on but when she found Mr Francis injured she collapsed to the ground in grief.

Less than 24 hours later she was found dead in her car in ‘non-suspicious circumstances’ in the nearby suburb of Mount Hawthorn.

‘Lovebirds’

She had been at Mr Francis’s side when he died in hospital but then disappeared, leaving her friends concerned when they could not reach her by phone.

Friends of the couple, who had also been travelling the world together described them as ‘lovebirds’ who had been together for eight years.

Mr Francis was a keen rugby player both in the UK and while living in Australia.

Cottesloe Rugby Union Football Club, a club which Mr Francis played for in Australia started a Gofundme page to help the families with any costs involved in bringing the couple back to the UK.

Bridgnorth Rugby Club held a special match in January and raised £16,000.

The rugby tournament was attended by 1,000 people in memory of the couple.

Described as ‘a loving, bubbly, happy couple’, the pair had integrated well in Australia and settled in to a life of sport and friendship.

Ms Robinson was a talented artist known for her ‘infectious laugh’. She was described as a gentle soul with an eye for exquisite detail and her graphite drawings not only revealed an extraordinary talent in photorealism but a soft, loving nature that never failed to enchant the hardest of hearts.

Her devastated mother, Dawn, took to social media at the time of her death and paid tribute to her daughter.

She wrote: “I am devastated to let everyone know that my beautiful daughter was so distraught she could not bear to live without her beloved Jase and chose to take her own life.

“My husband and I now grieve for the loss of two wonderful people that brought light to everyone’s life.”

Their funeral, which was held at Telford Crematorium in February, was a joint service of ‘celebration and thanksgiving’ and was attended by many close friends and family.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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