Police ‘should have seen red flags’ to save Olga
MURDER victim Olga Neubert - who was refused a restraining order in the weeks before her estranged husband executed her at New Town - was a victim of a "system gap", Tasmania Police claim.
The 37-year-old was shot dead in her car by her controlling, obsessive husband while she waited at traffic lights at Risdon Road during May 2015.
On Wednesday, five years after Klaus Dieter Neubert, 72, took the life of his Philippines-born wife, Coroner Simon Cooper criticised the inaction of a system that was designed to protect her.
He noted Olga, who was being stalked by Klaus after she'd left him a year earlier, had asked her lawyers and police for a family violence order, but her requests fell on deaf ears.
Mr Cooper said the police officer she spoke to didn't identify who Mrs Neubert was, didn't record any details of their interaction with her, and didn't take steps to look up her history.
Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard said Tasmania Police conducted an internal review after Olga's murder and identified a system gap that meant some reported events "didn't fall within the legislative definition of family violence".
But that explanation didn't wash with domestic violence spokesperson and Engender Equality CEO Alina Thomas, who said legislation had covered emotional abuse and intimidation since 2004.
She also pointed out that police should have easily spotted the "red flags".
"There would have been so many red flags in that relationship that anyone with insight into family violence would have been able to see multiple instances of power imbalance, which would have been a sign for anyone wanting to protect Olga's safety," Ms Thomas said.
Deputy Commissioner Tilyard said the system gap in Tasmania Police's processes had since been fixed with new processes to ensure any information given to police about intimate relationships was "captured in the one system".
Unfortunately, that review came too late for Olga.
As the Mercury reported earlier, Olga had pleaded with police and lawyers to help her in the weeks before her estranged husband murdered her in her car at New Town.
Both turned her away.
Now, five years after Klaus Dieter Neubert selfishly took the life of his Philippines-born wife, a coroner has criticised the inaction of a system that was designed to protect vulnerable people like her.
On Wednesday, Coroner Simon Cooper released his findings into the 37-year-old's death on May 14, 2015, as she waited at traffic lights on Risdon Road.
Olga's wealthy, controlling 72-year-old husband had been hunting her for months after she'd left him and their expansive property at Lymington in the Huon Valley the year before.
But even though Klaus had been stalking and threatening her - saying he would kill himself and didn't care if he took Olga with him - she had been unable to secure a protection order despite her repeated requests.
Mr Cooper said while her death wasn't caused by inaction from police and lawyers, Olga had been left unprotected by a system that was designed to keep her safe.
On the day of her death, Olga had been grocery shopping with her friend Josephine Cooper in Glenorchy and were driving home when Klaus spotted them.
Klaus drove his vehicle across the centre dividing line, overtaking cars in front of him, before turning onto an angle in front of Olga's Peugeot - blocking her from moving forward.
He got out of his black Mercedes four-wheel-drive with a rifle and fired at close range through Mrs Neubert's window, with a bullet shattering the window and striking his wife.
But Olga didn't die straight away.
She moved the car forward a little, but Klaus followed and shot again - and this time fired a bullet through her head.
Klaus then pointed the rifle underneath his chin and pulled the trigger, but the firearm misfired and was wrenched away and thrown into the creek by a brave onlooker.
Josephine was also seriously injured and lost two of her fingers from the horror attack.
Klaus was later jailed for 28 years for murdering Olga, who he'd met in her home country when she was about 18, and causing grievous bodily harm to Josephine.
Mr Cooper said in 2014, after Olga had left her husband and the pair was in the United States, local authorities made an Abuse Prevention Order after Klaus had started stalking her.
Then in April 2015, Klaus turned up uninvited to a Sandy Bay birthday party for one of Olga's friends - standing in front of her car and spread himself over her bonnet to stop her leaving, sliding off the vehicle as she drove away.
Two days later, Olga asked her lawyer for a Family Violence Order but was advised it would take months and she should ask the police if she wanted immediate protection.
Following advice, Olga went to the Bellerive police station the same day, but was unable to convince officers to make a Police Family Violence Order.
Mr Cooper noted the officer she spoke to didn't identify who Mrs Neubert was, didn't record any details of his interaction with her, and didn't take steps to look up her history.
"No-one should overlook that Mrs Neubert was an extremely vulnerable person by reason of her gender and ethnicity," Mr Cooper said.
"I consider it appropriate to comment that solicitors acting in the field of family law must ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to protect, where necessary, clients from physical harm, particularly vulnerable clients such as Mrs Neubert.
"She …(was) instead sent to the police. Police actually had extra evidence, but the officer involved chose not to look for it."
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call triple-0. For sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling services call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for 24/7 phone services.
Originally published as Police 'should have seen red flags' to save Olga