Key witness named in hotel death inquest

 

A WITNESS who was in a hotel room with a Mareeba man before he plunged seven storeys to his death is set to give evidence at an inquest in November.

At a pre-inquest hearing on Tuesday, Cairns Coroner's Court heard the main focus of the inquest would be on the circumstances leading up to Seth James Luhrs falling from the seventh floor of Rydges Esplanade Hotel.

The court heard the 24-year-old fell about 15m before hitting steel awnings on the first floor about 1.30am on April 1, 2018.

An employee heard the impact then called emergency services after seeing Mr Luhrs' body.

An ambulance arrived about 1.38am, with police shortly afterwards.

Seth Luhrs’ family said the 24-year-old was passionate and driven. He died in April 2018 after falling from a balcony at Rydges Esplanade.
Seth Luhrs’ family said the 24-year-old was passionate and driven. He died in April 2018 after falling from a balcony at Rydges Esplanade.


On Tuesday, Joseph Crawfoot, counsel assisting northern coroner Nerida Wilson, said another man, 21-year-old Sean Clift, was in the room at the time of the fall and would be called as a witness.

"What remains unknown, and the focus of the inquest, were Seth's initial movements in the hotel apartment," Mr Crawfoot said.

The court also heard the "mechanics of the fall has been calculated" and would be detailed during the inquest.

A draft witness list and brief of evidence have been provided to the relevant parties in the matter.

The parents of Mr Luhrs travelled from the Tablelands to be in court on Tuesday.

Coroner Nerida Wilson said the court offered its sincerest condolences to the family.

Rydges hotel on the Cairns Esplanade. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Rydges hotel on the Cairns Esplanade. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"The death of your son at such young age in such circumstances in no doubt impacts your lives and always will," she said.

"The purpose of an inquest is to try to better understand the circumstances in which Seth died, particularly those moments leading up immediately to the fall.

"The great value of an inquest is to acknowledge all human life."

Ms Wilson said oral submissions might also be made after the inquest as it was important "to go beyond the legalese".

The inquest is scheduled for November 3-5.

It was initially set for April but postponed due to the impact of coronavirus.

Following the incident, Mr Luhrs' older brother, Zeb Lhurs, said Seth was a "shining beacon of light for me".

"He was always there for his family. He's helped us through so much and that's the hardest thing because he's gone and we have to get on without him," he said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ed Kinbacher at the time said Seth was part of a larger group celebrating the long weekend in Cairns.

Originally published as Key witness named in hotel death inquest


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