Villawood detention centre detainee died with ice in his system, inquest hears

Villawood detention centre detainee died with ice in his system, inquest hears

Villawood detention centre detainee died with ice in his system, inquest hears

Updated 18 September 2017, 16:40 AEST

A detainee at Sydney's Villawood Immigration Detention Centre had the drug ice in his system and a serious heart condition when he died last year, an inquest hears.

A detainee at Sydney's Villawood Immigration Detention Centre had the drug ice in his system and a serious heart condition when he died last year, an inquest has heard.

New Zealander Robert Peihopa, 42, had been in the centre for almost 10 months awaiting deportation on character grounds, after multiple criminal convictions.

He was transferred to the facility after serving a jail term for reckless driving under the influence of drugs.

A coronial inquest into his death, which began in Sydney today, was told Mr Peihopa was a long-time user of ice and had used it in jail and at the detention centre.

An autopsy found he died on April 4, 2016 from methamphetamine toxicity complicating ischaemic heart disease, and a pathologist is expected to give evidence at the inquest.

The inquest heard there was focal narrowing of 80 to 90 per cent in his coronary artery.

A cardiologist will also give evidence on whether the narrowing, a physical fight prior to his death and/or the ingestion of methamphetamine may have played a role in his demise.

Mr Peihopa's mother Hera was told by authorities soon after his death that he died of a heart attack after a sparring session in the gym.

His family do not believe he died of a heart attack because he had bruising and cuts on his face and a gash in the back of his head.

They suspect a cover-up by the Immigration Department.

Today, the inquest heard from two men who were detainees at the time Mr Peihopa was at Villawood.

Both gave evidence about hearing loud noises coming from unit three, which they believed was the sound of a fight, on the night Mr Peihopa died.

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