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'People Need To See What Happened': Footage Of Tanya Day's Cell Fall Released

WARNING: Graphic images may cause distress for some readers.

The family of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day want the world to see footage of her final conscious hours in a police cell, to reveal the "objective truth" of her death.

Coroner Caitlin English on Friday released selected footage of Day's time spent in a holding cell at the Castlemaine police station after she was arrested for being drunk in public in December 2017.

The harrowing CCTV footage shows Day inside holding cell one where she fell and hit her head five times over a two-and-a-half hour period.

At one point, she is seen getting up off her bed, stumbling and hitting her head into a wall, causing a brain haemorrhage which killed her.

Tanya Day fell five times while being held in a Castlemaine police cell. Photo: Supplied

The footage has been played in court during an inquest into Day's death, which the Coroner decided to publicly release at the request of the woman's family.

"It is in the public interest to release the CCTV footage that has been played in court," she said on Friday, explaining the family's wishes override privacy concerns.

"The privacy of Ms Day, regarding trauma and stress, is not an issue here because unusually Ms Day's family are advocating strongly for the release of the footage. In fact they are advocating for the very opposite of the protection of privacy, and reject invisibility."

While confronting to watch, the Day family said the footage was a necessary part of the coronial process to start addressing the "systemic racism" plaguing the police force and the justice system.

READ MORE: 'Our Mum Would Still Be Here': Calls To Abolish Law Around Being Drunk In Public 

Tanya Day's daughter Apryl Watson holds a photo of her mother. Photo: AAP

Day, a mother and grandmother, was removed from a V/Line train at Castlemaine station and arrested for being drunk in a public place on December 5, 2017.

The inquest has previously heard police put Day in a cell to "sober up". They did not enter her cell from 3:56pm until 8:03pm, when they noticed a bruise on her forehead and called an ambulance.

The 55-year-old woman died 17 days later from a brain haemorrhage caused by the fall inside the cell at 4:51pm.

"This CCTV footage shows the last few hours that our mum was conscious," the family said outside court on Friday.

"It shows her being denied her basic humanity and dignity. Imagine having to watch your mum die in this way, with nobody held responsible.

"We want the world to see this footage because it is what our mum would have wanted."

Day's daughter, Belinda Day, said the footage gave her mother a voice.

"This is the truth as to what happened to our mum. Her voice was taken from her, and people need to see what happened," she said. 

Family members, including Tanya's daughter Apryl Watson (centre), march to the Coroners Court after a smoking ceremony. Photo: AAP

A three-week inquest into Day's death is investigating whether racism was a factor in her treatment and death.

At one point, the footage shows a police officer -- who has given evidence in court -- briefly looking through the cell window at Day before walking away.

Leading senior constable Danny Wolters, the watch house keeper that afternoon, told the inquest he spent three seconds looking through the window because Day was in a "very undignified position" and he "didn't want to get caught leering at her".

READ MORE: 'Racism Played A Part' In Tanya Day's Death

The Day family said there is "no question in [their] minds" that Victoria Police should be held accountable.

'We want the world to see this'. Tanya Day's family pushed for the release of this CCTV footage. Image: Supplied.

"No police officer has ever been held criminally responsible for an Aboriginal death in custody in Australian legal history," the family said.

"Only accountability will ensure that the full truth of the deaths of our People is exposed and ended."

The inquest continues.

With AAP. 

Contact the author ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au