Police admit mistake in paddy wagon quarantine ordeal

Jetstar’s first flight from Melbourne landing at Townsville Airport on Sunday. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Jetstar’s first flight from Melbourne landing at Townsville Airport on Sunday. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Senior Townsville police officers have apologised to a group of people who were carted from Townsville Airport in a paddy wagon to mandatory hotel quarantine.

The apology comes after conversations with Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, who today assured the community that it wouldn't happen again,

Her response comes after Mount Low woman, Lee Develyn claims she felt like a criminal when police escorted her from a Melbourne flight to Hotel Grand Chancellor in the back of a foul smelling wagon.

The 53-year-old flew to Geelong last week after her daughter was taken to hospital, and came back to Townsville earlier than planned on Tuesday as outbreaks increased and a state lockdown loomed.

Ms Develyn landed about 5.40pm and was handed a quarantine notice charging her $2800 for her stay at a hotel. She was one of six people taken to mandatory quarantine on Tuesday.

Lee Develyn filmed herself as she was being escorted to a hotel in the back of paddy wagon.
Lee Develyn filmed herself as she was being escorted to a hotel in the back of paddy wagon.


"When he locked it and I heard the click of the key and the chain … I had no seatbelt in there, nothing to hold on to.

"The stench was overwhelming of urine and the stains on the walls, it wasn't cleaned out because there was gravel from someone else's shoes on the floor."

Commissioner Carroll said her police thought it was the right thing to do.

"That won't occur again," she said.

"I understand that lady is obviously upset because she was escorted in our van to the hotel, but that was the first time we'd used that process in Townsville.

"My senior officers have sought out those people to explain why it happened and apologise on that occasion, but once again I got back to the community safety issue here, there was no malice in that it was done in good faith to protect our community.

"My people in good faith were doing what they thought was the right thing … however there is a transport plan in place because we're expecting more flights form Melbourne in the next couple of days."

QLD Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said her force would have better plans in place to transport quarantine passengers to a hotel. Picture: Jerad Williams
QLD Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said her force would have better plans in place to transport quarantine passengers to a hotel. Picture: Jerad Williams

These incoming flights have been put in limbo after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Victorians will be locked out of the state from midday Friday.

As the outbreak worsens in the south, Victorians will even be banned from going into quarantine here and returning Queenslanders will be forced to pay for 14-days quarantine in a hotel.

The news threatens the future of eight direct Melbourne to Townsville flights scheduled this month.

The Townsville Bulletin understands a Jetstar flight landing tomorrow night will be carrying more than 100 people.

Jetstar flight from Melbourne landing at Townsville Airport. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Jetstar flight from Melbourne landing at Townsville Airport. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Commissioner Carroll said police will have strict measures in place and urged people to be honest or cop a fine.

"We have a full transport plan in place, we will have police at the airport meeting everyone and asking those questions that need to be asked of them.," she said.

"So please, for the people of Townsville, there are a lot of people coming in from Melbourne in the next few days … we will make sure they go into quarantine where they have to, but please make sure you're truthful in those declarations and ultimately it's about keeping all of us safe."

Jetstar has been contacted for comment.

Originally published as Police admit mistake in paddy wagon quarantine ordeal



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