Australian woman high on ice also locked up in Sydney as parent says she asked to be put down during clash
“Y’all going to kill me?”
It was January 2016 and Ladena Polden and her 28-year-old son, Aston Anderton, were about to attend court for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver.
Both felt they were being unfairly treated by the justice system and wanted the drug ice on which they were reliant, Polden’s mother, Charlotte Edwards, told Guardian Australia.
Their lives had plunged into chaos a few years earlier, when the 29-year-old Polden was on ice, addicted to methamphetamines, and Aston spent years in and out of jail.
It all started with a break-in. Then a fight over a stolen piece of fruit … Nothing. Aston didn’t understand why they were in trouble. But he wanted ice.
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“They became violent with each other, it escalated from there,” Edwards said.
In an application for bail, Polden told the court: “I’m not a bad person, I’m a kind and gentle soul. I want to turn my life around.”
Polden died in May this year of a heroin overdose – six days after the alleged assault – just months after Christmas, after being locked up in the same Sydney jail, Goulburn jail, multiple times over his extended drug problem.
Aston was in Goulburn after having a warrant put out for his arrest. One of his alleged customers from the airport is accused of shooting at police. But the alleged shooter was a friend of Aston’s.
Aston was able to contact his mother and pass her and his siblings a call, but left a message.
“She said: ‘I’m about to go to jail, tell your nanna and uncle if you see us, let them know I love them,’” Edwards said.
A mother’s goodbye
Police released a “violence incident report” on Friday that sheds light on how the mother and son were detained in Goulburn jail.
“On 17 December 2016 Mrs Polden Polden and Aston Anderton approached police,” the document says.
“Mrs Polden Polden and Aston Anderton then began assaulting officers. Aston Anderton put his arms around a police officer’s neck and held his head to the officer’s throat. Aston Anderton was eventually subdued and taken into custody.”
When police finally checked on Aston, he was “unresponsive” and later died.
“At this stage in the investigation it does not appear that Mr Anderton administered any drugs to his mother or others,” the report says.
Following Aston’s death, Edwards wrote to the office of the coroner to complain to police and the coroner about the restraint.
The family has since filed a claim with the RMS seeking compensation for Aston’s death.
“It sounds like a film script, but it’s a real thing,” Edwards said.
During the fight on the evening of Wednesday 17 December, Aston was found to be under the influence of ice. A GP had also prescribed methadone to him the night before.
Edwards told Guardian Australia she tried to help in the days after Aston’s death.
“I’m not going to sit here and get depressed, I’m not going to sit here and cry. I’m going to live on,” she said.
“I said, ‘I want justice, I want something done, I’m a mother.’”
She said there was one telltale thing that could have prevented Aston’s death. “When [Aston] told me: ‘My mum wants me to kill her’.
“I tried to stop it. I tried to do my bit, but sometimes you can’t.”
Axon’s funeral is expected to be held next week.