The boyfriend of a woman whose sudden death was ruled a suicide by police has admitted he injected her with meth in the lead-up to her death – years after police told her mother they could not prove the allegation.

He says he feels responsible for her death, but denies killing her.

Sue Nowland was told by police that her daughter, 39-year-old Lyla Nettle, had taken her own life in May 2019, but she felt that they had not properly investigated and feared she would never get to the bottom of what happened.

That was until The Advertiser’s Dying Rose podcast tracked down her ex-boyfriend Jason (a pseudonym) – and got answers.

The pathologist said there was no finding that would indicate the involvement of another person in Lyla’s death – but also could not “exclude the actions of another party” which may not have left a mark. Ultimately, her death was ruled to be self-inflicted.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this story contains images and voices of people who have died.

DYING ROSE PODCAST

Listen to the podcast here, or find Dying Rose on the Apple Podcasts app

Jason, now 52 and still using drugs, said he still “feels responsible” for Lyla’s death – but adamantly denied having any involvement in her final moments.

He admitted that he expected he would be under more scrutiny following her death.

“You know when a partner, wife goes missing or dies the cameras are there and the next thing you know everyone’s saying, ‘This bloke’s guilty’,” Jason said.

“That’s what I was picturing, I was picturing that I was going to have cameras in my face any minute.”

Lyla is one of six Aboriginal women whose cases are being investigated by The Advertiser in Dying Rose, a podcast in which their families ask whether police properly responded to their deaths.

An autopsy report on Lyla’s death said Jason got in the car parked on the side of Port Wakefield Rd, north of Adelaide, to go to sleep between 7pm and 8pm – and did not see Lyla alive after that.

It was about 8:30am when Jason woke and discovered Lyla’s body. She was just five metres from the car.

The autopsy report found “a relatively high level of methylamphetamine” in Lyla’s system – high enough to cause an overdose in some cases but it had not caused her death, which was determined to be hanging.

Sue said that Lyla had been introduced to the illicit drug ice by Jason, who told her that it would enhance the couple’s sex life.

Lyla had been upfront to Sue about her drug use and said that, because she was scared of needles, Jason would inject her.

Sue feared that there was more to her daughter’s final moments than police had discovered and laid out her concerns in a series of emails to an SA Police detective, seen by The Advertiser.

After first emailing police in late 2019, Sue was often left waiting weeks or months for a reply to her pleas for information.

“We weren’t being listened to. I gave them so much information,” Sue said.

Police told Sue that Jason had told them he had no knowledge of Lyla taking drugs and that they “couldn’t prove on this occasion” that he had injected her with methylamphetamine.

Speaking to The Advertiser, Jason claimed Lyla had been smoking and drinking ice before they met, but acknowledged that he had introduced her to the needle and admitted that he would have injected her the week of her death, “for sure”.

He could not remember if he injected her on the day she died.

Even Jason was shocked that police never drug tested him, saying he thought he would have been under more scrutiny after Lyla‘s death.

When asked if he had told police that he did not know Lyla was taking drugs, Jason said he “wouldn’t have told (them) that.”

“I know damn well she is. Why would I say that? It’s a stupid thing to say,” he said.

Jason said he and Lyla had been going without sleep “all week” – explaining how he was unaware that she had taken her own life, just metres away.

“I got in the back of the car and virtually as soon as I laid down I was out cold,” he said.

“I … woke up in the morning. I walked over to the fence, took a piss and then I just happened to look down – and there she was on the ground.

“I yelled and yelled, she didn’t move. I raced down there, I grabbed her and she was so stiff … I still have flashbacks.”

He admitted introducing Lyla to drugs and injecting her with ice, on a number of occasions, was “probably the catalyst that pushed her over the edge” and said he “didn’t want her to die”

“I should have never done that, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life,” he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s a suicide, that’s all it was.”

DYING ROSE PODCAST

Listen to all the episodes here, or find them on the Apple Podcasts app



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By Rahul

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