Breathless: the death of David Dungay Jr – a new podcast series

Press Release, 13July 2018

A podcast series launched today by Guardian Australia and 2SER tells the story of David Dungay Jr, a young Indigenous man who died in Long Bay jail in 2015 after a disagreement about a packet of biscuits.

Breathless: the death of David Dungay Jr follows David’s family in their wait for answers leading up to a coronial inquest and raises questions about the use of medical restraint and tranquillisers in Australia’s prison system.

Episode 1: Just a Breath Away listen here
We meet David’s mother Leetona, and the family tell us what they saw on the video footage the day he died.

Episode 2: Brothers
As the men in the family prepare to lay David to rest, we find out more about the use of the sedative midazolam.

Episode 3: Life Inside
After the funeral, David’s sisters try and rebuild their family and themselves; we discover more about the use of chemical restraint in detention.

Background to David Dungay Jr’s story
Four days after Christmas in 2015, 26-year-old Dunghutti man David Dungay Jr died in Sydney’s Long Bay jail. David was three weeks away from release after serving almost eight years. Prison officers stormed his cell after he refused to stop eating a packet of biscuits. He was restrained and administered a sedative, midazolam, and died.

His family have seen the footage of what happened.

On seeing the footage, David’s mother Leetona Dungay said: “I’d like them to replay that and put them in my shoes. It’s their son, how would they feel?”

The team behind Breathless
The team overseeing Breathless are Guardian Australia’s Indigenous affairs editor, Lorena Allam, and Guardian Australia/2SER’s award-winning podcast producer, Miles Martignoni. 2SER’s Taylor Fuller and Miles Herbert host the episodes.

Carly Earl, Guardian Australia’s picture editor, visited Kempsey on New South Wales’ mid-north coast to speak with David’s family on the eve of the coronial inquest, publishing a photo essay with memories of David’s life.

In April, Guardian Australia’s Helen Davidson, alongside Fuller and Herbert, reported on the results from David’s autopsy.
Breathless: the death of David Dungay Jr will run over three weeks and be available to listen to on the Guardian’s podcast section, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast services.

This series is funded by The Balnaves Foundation through the Guardian Civic Journalism Trust. The grant supports Indigenous affairs reporting over three years.