Son’s relief and frustration

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The son of a Queenstown man missing for more than a decade says he’s relieved the ordeal is finally over – but he’s frustrated at how long it took to get answers.

Adam Hamill was just 10 when his father, Matthew Alexander Hamill, went missing in Queenstown on October 29, 2008.

He has not been seen since, and this month Coroner Anna Tutton ruled he took his own life.

Adam Hamill says after six months with no sign of his dad, the family knew what had happened.

“The coroner’s finding was expected, we expected that this was gonna happen, nothing less, nothing more. The investigation the police carried out was somewhat pointless in my eyes,” he tells Mountain Scene.

“The fact that it took more than 10 years to solve this is a bit of a joke really.”

He moved to Germany following the coronial inquest.

“It sucks, it really does, that for 10 years of my life, that this has lingered over me and my family, my mum is trying to move on but can’t because she is still tied to a dead man.

“After all this time we are happy that it’s over, we can just put this to rest.”

His comments follow criticism from the family of American Tyler Nii, who is presumed drowned following a skydiving incident in January 2018.

Nii’s family told Scene last month they’re frustrated by the length of time it’s taking to determine what happened, which has left them grieving and in limbo.

A coronial services spokesman says the average case length from the coroner taking jurisdiction to findings being completed was 345 days in the 2017/18 year. He says it’s hard to predict how long an inquiry will take, and every death reported to the coroner is different.

“Accordingly, coroners must consider evidence from a range of sources. While a coroner will typically seek medical information, a coroner may put their inquiry on hold pending the outcome of another agency’s investigation, such as the police or the Health and Disability Commission.

“Coronial case managers support families during this time by keeping them informed of progress.”

daisy.hudson@scene.co.nz