A NSW man shot dead by police a day after he had tied up and fatally stabbed the mother of his daughter 16 times needed intensive psychiatric treatment from the age of two-and-a-half after his father had abused him, an inquest has been told.
Tafari Walton was described as having been a very damaged child who began committing a string of knife-related crimes, including threatening to stab a neighbour at the age of 10 and becoming a heavy ice user by the age of 15.
Walton, 22, was shot in the head and chest in March 2019 after telling police, “Come on, f***ing shoot me” and charging with a knife towards a detective.
In his opening address on Monday at the Newcastle inquest into the deaths of Walton and his ex-partner, Gabriella Thompson, 27, Jake Harris, counsel assisting State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, said Walton had had a traumatic childhood and spent a total of four years in jail from the age of 16 to 22.
Mr Harris said Walton, who suffered from a mixed anti-social and borderline personality disorder, was high on cocaine and ice when shot dead by two police officers in the backyard of his mother’s house, west of Newcastle.
One officer had earlier tried to use capsicum spray on Walton with no effect before he was shot once in the head and once in the chest by the officers standing one to two metres away.
Walton had been on the run since fatally stabbing Ms Thompson at her Glendale home on March 13, 2019.
Mr Harris said Walton had been in a toxic relationship with Ms Thompson since 2014 involving prolonged domestic violence because of his intense jealousy and controlling behaviour, and he had regularly threatened to kill her.
He said Walton’s mother claimed Ms Thompson had been psychologically abusive towards Walton, often demeaning him.
There was one incident when Walton was in jail and called Ms Thompson in April 2016 to tell her his mother was going to pick him up when he was released.
The taped phone call revealed Walton became angry when Ms Thompson accused him of being “mummy’s little boy”. He threatened to kill her and her family, and cut her tongue out.
On the day Ms Thompson was killed, Walton, who had been released on parole seven weeks earlier and given strict conditional bail after being charged with stabbing another inmate at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, told a friend he would kill himself if he ever faced being imprisoned again.
Mr Harris said Ms Thompson was apprehensive about Walton’s release and had moved into a new home and changed her phone number, but also wanted him to see their daughter.
It was 11.02am when Walton’s mother and stepfather visited Ms Thompson with her three-year-old daughter in the car as well as Walton’s brother’s son.
When the stepfather heard Ms Thompson cry out for help, he walked into the house and saw she had blood on her face and rope around her ankles.
The stepfather struggled with Walton who had a “vacant look” on his face before he broke free and began choking Ms Thompson.
Fearing Walton had a weapon, the stepfather went outside to get Walton’s mother to try to calm him down but she had left with the children.
As the stepfather went back to the house, Walton walked out and told him “she thinks she’s dying”, before driving off in her car.
The stepfather saw Ms Thompson was holding her neck and there was a lot of blood. She had suffered 16 stab wounds, including a laceration to her throat.
The inquest continues on Tuesday.
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