Carley Metcalfe, 41, was found dead in the river near Mullumbimby on November 29, 2017.
Carley Metcalfe, 41, was found dead in the river near Mullumbimby on November 29, 2017.

Mum was ‘extremely vulnerable’ before her mysterious death

WITNESSES who saw Carley Metcalfe, the woman whose body was found in Brunswick River in 2017, have told an inquest into her death about how she seemed disconnected in her final days.

Carley, 41, was found dead on November 29, 2017 on the banks the Brunswick River near Mullumbimby, three weeks after she was reported missing by her parents to police.

The NSW Coroner's Inquest into her death heard from three witnesses on Tuesday about her movements in those final weeks of her life.

Northern NSW Health District's drug and alcohol clinical nurse specialist Michael Burgess had been working with Carley for most of 2017 to help with her rehabilitation.

He told the court he'd spoken with Carley a week before she was found in a "catatonic state" while sleeping outside Lismore Courthouse on October 31, 2017, after a possible relapse.

But Mr Burgess said Carley had recognised her actions had led to paranoia and was determined to get her life back on track.

When he spoke to Carley on the phone again after being called by the courthouse staff on October 31, Dr Burgess said he was only "concerned about her mental health" and didn't have any impression she'd partaken in drugs.

The inquest heard Carley had been prescribed medication for her mental health conditions and there was concern she might have stopped taking her medication, after her mother reported to Dr Burgess that Carley had told her she hadn't taken anything for "eight months".

But Dr Burgess said from his interactions with Carley, up until late October, she seemed to have been responding well to the mediation and didn't suspect she'd stopped taking it.

While Dr Burgess said he wasn't concerned Carley might have been suicidal on October 31, he did have "very serious concerns about her mental health".

"She was in an extremely vulnerable state and could have been suffering from some delirium," he said.

Meanwhile, two Mullumbimby residents recalled seeing Carley in the small town sometime between November 18 and 24.

Carley was last seen on CCTV footage leaving Lismore Transit Centre by bus heading towards Mullumbimby on November 3.

Having known Carley through her work at a pharmacy Kym Henson said she was confident it was Carley she had seen on two occasions walking around Mullumbimby.

Another retailer, Sally Bell, told the court she was also confident she'd seen Carley sitting on a bench outside the IGA a few days after the Mullumbimby Music Festival ended on November 19, 2017.

"She wasn't engaging with anyone or anybody," Ms Bell said.

The inquest continues.

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