A NSW parole officer has admitted failing to see the “red flags” before a man he was supervising fatally stabbed his ex-partner 16 times and then was shot dead by police the next day.
Geoffrey Brady told an inquest in Newcastle on Tuesday he could not put the missing pieces of the puzzle together to see Gabriella Thompson had been at serious risk of harm.
Mr Brady told how he visited the killer Tafari Walton the day before he tied up and fatally stabbed Ms Thompson, and did not realise he had been on a four-day drug bender using cocaine and ice.
He said Walton told him he believed Ms Thompson had cheated on him when he was in jail and he was jealous, but did not make any derogatory comments about her.
“I didn’t see any red flags the way he was speaking to me. He was acting reasonably with me,” Mr Brady told the inquest into the deaths of Ms Thompson, 27, and Walton, 22.
Mr Brady became Walton’s parole supervisor in January 2019 following his release after serving more than two years’ jail for a siege and firearms offences, and was on bail on charges of stabbing another inmate at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre.
The first time he met Walton on January 24, 2019, Mr Brady noted he was “engaging and polite” despite his history of aggression and violent behaviour exacerbated by drug or alcohol abuse.
And when Walton told him on February 6 he had relapsed and taken ecstasy and ice, breaching his strict bail conditions not to use drugs, Mr Brady did not report him to police.
The parole officer said he believed Walton was doing his best to address his drug and mental health issues, and just told him not to take drugs again.
Questioned by Jake Harris, counsel assisting State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, Mr Brady said it was not his role to report Walton’s drug use to police
He said it was a complex situation and would have been counter-productive to the relationship he was building with Walton.
But Mr Brady admitted not including random drug tests in Walton’s case plan had been an oversight.
The inquest had earlier been told NSW police were warned hours before Walton killed Ms Thompson on March 13, 2019, that he was “knife happy”.
Emma Russell, a close friend of Ms Thompson’s, claimed she told two police officers of her concerns that Walton could stab and possibly kill Ms Thompson after she had failed to turn up for work and was not answering her phone.
Senior Constable Jamie Grime told the inquest that when he phoned Ms Thompson she told him she was fine, had only just woken up and noticed all her missed calls. She had been at her mother’s house.
The officer said Ms Thompson appeared “chirpy and happy” and there was no need for police to see her in person.
Ms Thompson was fatally stabbed 16 times by Walton a few hours later after he had tied her up at her Glendale home.
Walton was shot in the head and chest by police the next day after telling officers, “Come on, f***ing shoot me”, before taking a step back when armed with a knife and charging towards one detective in the backyard of his mother’s home.
The inquest continues on Wednesday.
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