MILITARY MAN: Australian Military Police Investigator, Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Parker, during an investigation at Liquica Police Station while he was on deployment. The Queensland Coroner is set to investigate his death in a bus fire near Atkinson Dam.
MILITARY MAN: Australian Military Police Investigator, Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Parker, during an investigation at Liquica Police Station while he was on deployment. The Queensland Coroner is set to investigate his death in a bus fire near Atkinson Dam. Australian War Memorial

Suspicious bus death to be examined in inquest

THE death of a former Australian Army military police officer in a bus fire at Atkinsons Dam in 2016 will be examined by the Queensland Coroner with an inquest to begin today.

The body of Lee Edward Parker, 47, was found inside the burnt-out shell of a bus at the Atkinson Dam Waterfront Caravan Park on August 19, three years ago.

Deputy State Coroner John Lock will today open the inquest into Mr Parker's death, with the scope to investigate the chain of events leading up to the blaze.

Detectives reported the fire as suspicious, but the cause was never revealed.
Detectives reported the fire as suspicious, but the cause was never revealed. Rob Williams

Mr Parker was identified early as a missing person, presumed trapped, inside the converted vehicle when the fire took hold about 3am that Friday morning.

Despite best efforts, the four responding Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews were unable to douse the flames and search the vehicle until it was fully extinguished.

The cause of the fire has never been revealed, but detectives reported it as suspicious.

Mr Parker was believed to have been staying nearby but was not the owner of the bus which caught alight.

Investigators at the scene said they'd spoken with the woman who lived in the bus, but she was never named as a suspect.

The human remains found inside the vehicle were later confirmed by forensic examination as those of Mr Parker.

Australian records show Mr Parker joined the Australian Reserve Army in 1987, and rose to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2, and served with the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police by 1989.

In November 1999, he was deployed under the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor taskforce following the April 1999 genocide by Indonesian forces.

His team was tasked with the exhumation of human remains in the Liquica area where, in April 1999, up to 200 East Timorese were murdered by pro-Indonesian militia and Indonesian soldiers.

Mr Parker was medically discharged from the army in 2004.

The inquest into his death, due to begin at 9am, will seek to establish how he died and the circumstances surrounding his death.

It will also seek to establish the chain of events leading up to the fatal fire, the cause of the blaze, and any factors which may have prevented him from escaping the bus.

The inquest is scheduled to run for five days.



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