Top cop’s disgust at theft from dead woman
THE theft of a handbag from a woman who lay dead in a Cairns public toilet has horrified and outraged community leaders who have slammed the alleged offender's actions as "despicable".
The alleged act has emotionally affected even the most experienced police in the Far North.
It is alleged the 50-year-old Lockhart River man entered the Lake St facility early last Saturday, September 7, and took the bag before leaving.
The woman's body was located by authorities a short time later and identified as Gordonvale woman Paulina Kolber who had been missing since the day before.
Her death is not being treated as suspicious.
Far North police Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley said the alleged incident had horrified the entire local police service.
"Experienced police are sickened by the despicable behaviour of a person who is alleged to have taken the opportunity to steal this lady's property," he said.
"It shows no dignity to this person."
"It paints such an awful picture of a total lack of humanity to take advantage of someone in those circumstances.
"It just beggars belief what this person was thinking at the time."
Chief Supt Huxley said police had to break the news of the theft to the family of Ms Kolber when they were already grieving her death.
"Our thoughts are with the family," he said.
"All this does is add to an enormous amount of grief that is totally unnecessary.
"Police are still investigating the full circumstances of the case, but it is something I hope we never see again."
Division 1 councillor Brett Moller said he was horrified.
"The community would be just mortified to think anyone could stoop that low," Mr Moller said.
"This is just total disregard for human kindness and decency and the community won't be tolerant of that.
"We're just thinking of the family at this time."
The man is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court for the first time on September 24.
He was arrested during the week with police using the CBD's CitySafe camera network as part of their investigation.