24 May 2024

Gloriavale inquest: Family pays tribute to son, brother in court

8:25 pm on 24 May 2024
Sincere Standtrue, pictured grinning while picking blackberries. The image is one of three his family have placed in the courtroom on the first day of the inquest into his death.

An inquest into the death of Gloriavale man Sincere Standtrue has concluded its first week in the Coroners Court. Photo: Joanne Naish/The Press

The final video played in the inquest into a Gloriavale man's death was a tribute to his life, compiled by his family.

Sincere Standtrue died in Christchurch Hospital in November 2018, after being found unresponsive in the paint shop at Gloriavale Christian Community 10 days prior.

An inquest into his death and its circumstances has been heard this week at Greymouth.

Videos played to the Coroner's Court on Friday afternoon included videos of Standtrue riding in a horse and cart at the community, clips of various Gloriavale members speaking at his funeral and a video tribute to his life.

Senior Gloriavale leaders speculated on the circumstances of his death and described their views on what had happened in the excerpts of their funeral speeches.

"I cannot force my conclusion upon you... I want to ask you to leave Sincere in God's hands," one said.

A community member spoke of the youthful joy the 20-year-old had and described singing with him just a few weeks prior.

"I started singing along to it, and he joined in with me. I don't think I've seen a young man enjoy himself so much singing the songs of the Lord," they said.

They then gave their opinion on Standtrue's death, and said it was "tragic" and "sad".

Standtrue's sister Rose had earlier told the court she was angry that her brother's funeral became a place where others passed judgement on his death, instead of being a celebration of his life.

A witness statement from another Gloriavale member also detailed Standtrue's love of music, and outlined a concept he shared with them about hiding pieces of paper with scripture verses and song titles around the community, to encourage people in their expression of faith.

The final video featured a montage of family photos showing Standtrue's childhood depicting him playing, fishing, on holiday and being baptised, often grinning and surrounded by friends and family.

"He really was always smiling, wasn't he?" Coroner Alexandra Cunninghame remarked after watching it.

"We've heard some difficult evidence, I'm conscious for Hannah, Caleb and Rose that this is your Sincere, this is your loved one that we're talking about, and of the great loss that you feel when we talk about him," she said.

The coroner then adjourned proceedings until August, when another two weeks of hearings were set down to hear further evidence and statements from the remaining 33 witnesses.

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