Witness Says Digging Up Boy's Body Will Give Answers To His
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 23, 2004
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND--Whether the true cause of Clement "Clem" Matthews' 1968 death will be known may depend on the boy's mother.
Stephen Lindsay, 51, the man who claims that the 11-year-old was killed by a nurse at Kingseat Hospital, met recently with Clement's mother, Rebecca Matthews. The meeting was arranged by the New Zealand Herald, which has been closely following the case.
Matthews had been admitted to the institution because of "mental subnormality associated with disturbed behaviour of an aggressive nature". He died on April 28, 1968. The official coroner's report stated that the boy died of pneumonia, even though it noted that his health before he died "had caused no undue concern."
Lindsay, who was 14 years of age when his friend died, claims that a nurse assaulted the boy the day before he died, for stealing a piece of bread from the dining room. According to Lindsay, the nurse grabbed Matthews by the neck, twisted him to the floor, then kicked him solidly in the back causing it to snap "like a branch breaking".
In June of this year, police responded to Lindsay's allegations by reopening their investigation into Matthews' death. Lindsay claims that the only way to be certain of the true cause of death is to exhume the boy's body and examine the ribs and spine for fractures.
One forensic pathologist said there is a small chance that doing so would reveal new clues in the case.
Mrs. Matthews said she is hesitant about allowing her son's remains to be dug up.
"You can't go disturbing the dead," she said.
The investigation was reopened at a time when hundreds of complains have been filed by people who were patients of New Zealand's psychiatric institutions in the 1960s and 1970s. The complainants, most of whom were between 8 and 16 years of age at the time, allege that they were physically and sexually abused by staff members and other residents. Some claim they were over-medicated, unwillingly subjected to experiments in electro-shock treatment, and placed in isolation for long periods of time -- sometimes for months.
Dozens of legal claims have been filed in the High Court, each asking for as much as $500,000 in compensation and up to $50,000 in exemplary damages.
Most of the facilities either are closed or no longer operate as mental institutions.
"Former Kingseat patient meets tragic boy's family" (New Zealand Herald)
"Culture Of Abuse At Former New Zealand Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)