21 Jul 2012

'Good Samaritan' stung by coroner's criticism

5:15 am on 21 July 2012

One of the two Piha women who took Auckland woman Iraena Asher into their home and looked after her the night she disappeared is questioning why they were singled out in a coroners findings.

Ms Asher was 25 when she disappeared at Piha Beach in October 2004.

On Thursday, coroner Peter Ryan ruled that Ms Asher was swept out to sea and drowned.

Bobbie Carroll and Julia Woodhouse took in Ms Asher after her 111 calls to police went unheeded.

Mr Ryan agreed with police that the women should have called them.

Ms Carroll says questions why they were singled out among the seven people who interacted with Ms Asher in the 12 to 15 hours before she is presumed to have died.

She says the women are now considering their legal options.

The coroner found Ms Asher's death may have been prevented if police had responded properly to her 111 call for help.

Mr Ryan said the failure of the police to properly assess Ms Asher's condition the night she disappeared, and their decision to send a taxi instead of a patrol car, was a contributing factor in her death.

He acknowledged the family who looked after Ms Asher before she went missing, saying their actions epitomised those of a good Samaritan, but said their decision not to call police was also a contributing factor in her death.

The women said on Wednesday they had offered to call the police but Ms Asher told them not to bother because they weren't interested.