An inquest into the 2016 death of 20-year-old Melbourne woman, Elly Warren, has unveiled key details surrounding her tragic death on Tofo Beach in Mozambique. Discovered behind a toilet block early in the morning on November 9, her death has been surrounded by speculation and calls for justice.
Ms. Warren’s family has been consistently vocal about their belief that her death was a result of foul play. Their claims have been bolstered by the disturbing discovery of sand in her lungs, as revealed by three separate autopsies. The initial autopsy in Mozambique attributed her death to asphyxiation, sand inhalation, and suffocation, classifying it as a homicide. While a later examination in South Africa negated claims of sexual assault, an Australian review termed the cause of death as “undetermined”.
At the inquest, Elly’s friend, Jade O’Shea, testified from New Zealand, recounting the events leading to the fateful night. O’Shea emphasized that Ms. Warren had been in high spirits, describing her as “outgoing, loud, and curious”. Refuting speculations, O’Shea denied alcohol’s role in her friend’s demise and clarified earlier statements suggesting a potential assault on Ms. Warren.
O’Shea, who had known Warren for a short period before her death, depicted her as someone with an insatiable curiosity and an ever-present zest for life. The last time O’Shea and her friends saw Warren alive was at 11pm at a local bar. O’Shea also recounted communication issues with local police, expressing concerns about translations of her statements and the police’s apparent disinterest in obtaining a comprehensive account from her.
Further complicating the narrative, a previous altercation involving one of O’Shea’s acquaintances was discussed, with O’Shea dismissing any potential romantic interests in Ms. Warren.
Outside the courtroom, Paul Warren, Elly’s father, chastised the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for their limited involvement, advocating for more comprehensive support for families of Australians who pass away overseas. The inquest is set to further question the AFP about its capacity to intervene in such international incidents.