18 Jul 2012

Father gives emotional evidence at Asher inquest

8:53 pm on 18 July 2012

Ireana Asher's father cried as he told the inquest into her disappearance in 2004 about the last time he saw her alive.

Michael Asher is giving evidence at the inquest in Auckland, which is trying to determine what happened to her when she went missing in Piha in October 2004.

Mr Asher paused several times while giving his evidence on Wednesday, to catch his breath and recover.

He described her bi-polar disorder and said she could become emotional and highly sensitive.

He said the last time he saw her, she seemed fine, but she was good at hiding her real feelings.

The couple who looked after her in the hours before her disappearance told the court that they thought she was on drugs, as she was erratic and volatile.

Mr Asher also said the hearing was meaningless because nothing would bring her back.

Half a dozen family members were at the second day of the hearing, bringing with them a framed photo of Ms Asher, who was 25.

The inquest began on Tuesday on what would have been her 33rd birthday.

Police blamed

One of the last to see Ms Asher alive says it was the police who failed her, not them.

Police were criticised at the time for not taking her call for help seriously, and sending her a taxi instead of a patrol car.

On Tuesday, Detective Senior Sergeant John Sutton said one of the contributing factors to Ms Asher's presumed death was that the family who took her in when she was distressed didn't call the police.

But in court on Wednesday Julia Woodhouse, who along with her son and partner looked after Ms Asher for four hours before she disappeared, responded to this comment.

Ms Woodhouse said she and her son considered calling the police at least twice while looking after Ms Asher, but she had told them not to bother because the police were not interested.

Her partner Bobby Carroll said the police suggestion Ms Asher may still be alive if they'd called emergency services was despicable.

Ms Carroll said they considered calling police, but feared she would leave if they did.

The last witness was heard on Wednesday.