20-year bid for answers

The Herald Sun, Australia/April 14, 2009

The brother of a woman found dead in Toorak Village wants the coronial inquest reopened 20 years later, amid claims a cult was involved.

Cypra Helmer's naked and bloodied body was found on a busy street in 1988, while her clothes were in a car park two storeys above the scene.

The musician had spent the day with her parents, and told them she was going home to feed her cats.

No one saw the 37-year-old fall, but she left a note and investigating police concluded it was suicide.

A coroner ruled in 1989 that Ms Helmer - the niece of former governor-general Sir Zelman Cowen - had jumped.

But later this week her brother, Moscow-based journalist Dr John Helmer, will take the unusual step of asking a Supreme Court judge to reopen the inquest.

Dr Helmer claims to have new evidence that could point to investigative failures and, possibly, foul play. He has hired a legal team including solicitor Zarah Garde-Wilson.

Dr Helmer claims to have uncovered links between his sister and the notorious religious cult The Family.

Dr Helmer is concerned the original inquest was rushed, and claims investigators:

FAILED to check her body for signs she'd been pushed or resisted before the fall.

NEGLECTED to analyse the trajectory of her fall.

DIDN'T examine medical files or speak to Ms Helmer's psychiatrist about her mood.

INTERVIEWED only a few witnesses and made no effort to find anyone who may have seen her death.

Dr Helmer said a purported suicide note warranted analysis of who wrote it and when.

He believes a line in the note about "Their Will" is a reference to pressure from members of The Family.

Dr Helmer's application to have the inquest reopened is listed for hearing in the Supreme Court this Friday.

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