Police probe nanny’s death after husband’s plea

Homicide detectives are assisting with a review of a Chinese national’s death more than a decade after she was found in the home where she was a live-in nanny.

Tian Shuqing was apparently found unconscious in the Sutherland Shire home of her employer at about 5pm on August 7, 2002.

But an ambulance was not called for more than four hours, while her employer and family tried to revive her. She was admitted to hospital after 10pm that night, and staff alerted police to the ”bilateral bruises on neck”. But it appears no investigation was carried out.

Earlier this year, lawyers for Tian’s husband, Han Chao, sent a brief of evidence to Police Minister Mike Gallacher, arguing ”the simplest of investigative procedures” was not followed at the time of her death. The material was forwarded to detectives for review.

”Parramatta Local Area Command is conducting additional inquiries into Tian Shuqing’s death and the Homicide Squad will provide assistance to the command,” a spokeswoman for Mr Gallacher said.

Solicitor Patrick Conaghan said Mr Han was pleased the case had been reopened.

Tian was working for a Chinese national (whom Fairfax Media has declined to name), his wife, his two children and his parents at the time of her death.

When she was admitted to hospital, Tian was noted to be suffering some serious bruising to her neck, which her employer told hospital workers had been caused by his mother ”squeezing the neck with her fingers to wake [her] up”.

Earlier this year, Mr Conaghan said in the months before her death, Tian made many complaints to her husband about physical and sexual harassment directed towards her by her employer’s father.

Mr Han’s visa had expired and he was back in China when he received news that his wife had been found unconscious. Medical records reveal the timeline and the admissions regarding her injuries, which prompted nursing staff to contact a social worker and police.

The registrar of the intensive care unit at Westmead Hospital contacted Parramatta police, who came the day after Tian’s admission. However, it appears Tian’s case was pursued no further, with notes recording Tian could be ”washed and linen changed … as police are not intending to have a criminal investigation into patient’s neck bruises [therefore] not for forensic [review]”.

Mr Conaghan, a former detective in the NSW Police Force, said the circumstances of Tian’s death should have raised questions.

”Who found her, and in what circumstances? Why she wasn’t taken to hospital for five hours? Why was the employer and his mother not questioned about the neck injuries? And, if it is to be accepted that the deceased was home alone from 9am to 5pm on the day she collapsed, why was that the case when she was supposed to be looking after the children? Where was the rest of the family – including [her employer’s] parents?”

Tian did not regain consciousness and died on August 16. A death certificate states she died of a brainstem infarction, a large subdural haemorrhage, an intracerebral haemorrhage and hypertension. But Mr Han said his wife never had hypertension, and he did not know how it came to be in her records.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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