'We've got nobody': Mother who lost son seven years ago continues to fight for justice

Ross Taylor.
Ross Taylor. Photo credit: Change.org/Corinda Taylor

This article discusses mental health and suicide.

A Dunedin mother who tragically lost her son to a suspected suicide is calling for change in the justice system, as she bears the pain of a coronial inquest into her boy's death.

For the past six years, Corinda Taylor, founder of the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust, has worked to spark conversations about the country's worsening suicide statistics and mental health support systems, after her son Ross died in 2013.

But the lead up to a coronial inquest into Ross' death has been a long and painful process. Corinda told Newshub there have been big expectations placed on them. 

"There's no butter between the families and the coronial system," she said.

"I think we need to have a special system set up - whether it's in the community or in the coronial system - that has a better butter between us and the coronial system.

"We're trembling with fear basically - we have to speak in legal language, and honestly I can't follow the conversation."

Last week, Corinda started a petition calling for this change; for more support for those bereaved families, including hers. The title of that petition; "It is not fair".

"Right now we are facing six lawyers - top QC barristers some of them - that are not on our side," Corinda told Newshub. "We've got nobody."

Her petition calls to ensure all bereaved families get the best legal representation.

Taylor tragically experienced first-hand the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, after her son Ross died in 2013.
Taylor tragically experienced first-hand the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, after her son Ross died in 2013. Photo credit: File/Corinda Taylor

"It's rough on us, we'll put it that way," Corinda said.

"We're fairly tough people - we've survived all of this so far, but right now we are taking a strain.

"I don't think we'll ever get closure over this - I really want to see a system change, ultimately I want to take this up to parliament."

Justice Minister Andrew Little told Newshub while he couldn't comment on specific cases before the Coroner, he said the investment made by the Government in this year's budget includes better support for those affected by suicide.

"I am very sorry to hear the Taylor family, whole grieving for the loss of their son, are now also faced with the stress of the impending coroner's inquest.

"It should be noted that the primary source of evidence in an inquest is the police investigation - On this basis, the Taylor family might want to find out whether the police will be represented through a lawyer and whether police will defend their conclusions."

For now, the message from Corinda is simple; "This is not fair,'' as she writes in her petition.

She'll continue to fight for justice for Ross, and fight to prevent other families from going through the same gruelling process. An inquest into Ross' death will be held in the coming months.

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