Daily Telegraph

Article

Hate mail for 'bully' ambos

By Justin Vallejo

January 02, 2009 12:00am

AMBULANCE officers have received hate mail and abuse after a co-worker killed herself following alleged bullying.

Well-liked Cowra ambulance officer Christine Hodder's death led to a backlash against the station from the tight-knit community.

Ms Hodder was allegedly victimised and harassed by male colleagues before taking her life in April 2005, leaving behind her husband Jason and daughter Brittany.

Cowra Ambulance Station staff have referred the mail, some sent from as far as Ireland, to police for investigation.

One letter, obtained by The Daily Telegraphread: "I hope the men involved in her bullying are disgusted to walk around in their own skin.

"You helped be the cause of what she did. Your actions contributed to at least 1 per cent (probably heaps higher) of her thought processes.

"That small or significant percentage led directly to her mental state being so fragile she took her own life. Her daughter has no mother now forever. Do you have children?''

Ambulance officers have borne the brunt of the community's abuse for Ms Hodder's death. Station staff, speaking on condition of anonymity, believe the responsibility for the bullying is not as clear as former station manager Phil Roxburgh told a recent inquiry.

There has been in-fighting and finger-pointing since Ms Hodder's death. Mr Roxburgh told the inquiry he left Cowra on stress leave after he was bullied for supporting Ms Hodder - a claim rejected by current staff.

The inquiry found that Ms Hodder suffered bullying that included taunts, insults, ostracism, sexual discrimination, degrading treatment and being discredited in front of patients.

The ambulance service recently delivered letters to Cowra staff, by hand, requesting interviews with an external company to work through "tensions between people''