Tele: Tafari Walton – Inquest hears of delay calling police after man fatally stabbed his partner

A man who intervened in the domestic dispute that saw his step son fatally stab a woman has been grilled on why he didn’t call police sooner.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was questioned on Wednesday as part of the coronial inquest in the murder of Gabriella Thompson and police shooting of Tafari Walton.

Walton stabbed Ms Thompson, his partner and the mother of their then three-year-old daughter, 16 times at her home in Glendale on March 13, 2019.

What followed was a 24-hour manhunt that ended with Walton being shot dead after lunging at police with a knife.

The inquest previously heard Walton, 22, and Ms Thompson, 27, had a “toxic” five-year relationship, and police had checked on Ms Thompson’s welfare on the morning she was killed, after a concerned phone call from a friend.

Walton’s stepfather was on Wednesday questioned about what happened on the day he interrupted the assault that ultimately led to the couple’s deaths.

The man told the inquest Walton had discovered the day before the murder that Ms Thompson had been cheating on him, and had plans to break up with her.

The stepfather said he planned to go to Ms Thompson’s home the following morning, March 13, to repair a hole Walton had punched in a wall.

He told the inquest his partner, the child of Walton and Ms Thompson, and another grandchild waited in the car at the end of the driveway, while he went to size up the hole in the wall, before they could go and buy supplies for the repair.

But things quickly spiralled out of control after he knocked on the door.

The man told the inquest Walton initially declined to answer the door, telling his stepfather he and Ms Thompson were in the shower.

When Walton did open the door the man heard Ms Thompson call out “help me”.

The man chased Walton through the house to a bedroom, where he was met with a confronting scene.

“Gabby was lying on the floor, there was blood on her face and her hair was matted in it, her legs were loosely tied up,” he said.

“It looked like she’d been hit or something.”

The man said Walton punched Ms Thompson again before he pulled him off her, wrestled and put him in a headlock.

Walton was able to break free and grab Ms Thompson by the neck.

The man said Walton looked at what “might have been a knife or screwdriver”, then looked at him with a “really, really ferocious look in his eyes”.

He told the inquest he decided to leave the house and have Walton’s mother come in to “diffuse” the situation while he called police as he waited by the car with the children.

But when he returned to the driveway, the car was gone.

A call to his partner confirmed she had heard the violence coming from the house and dropped the children to a nearby family member’s home, and would return right away.

It was at this time he said Walton left the house, appearing “calm” as he remarked about Ms Thompson, “she thinks she’s dying”.

As Walton left in Ms Thompson’s car the man said she appeared at the door, holding her neck and covered in blood.

“Help me, I’m dying,” she pleaded with him.

The man found a towel to put on Ms Thompson’s neck and told her to apply pressure, before calling triple-0.

Asked by State Coroner, Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan why he didn’t call emergency services immediately after exiting the house, the man said his first concern was “swapping” with his partner, to stay with the children.

“Don’t you think leaving the children alone in the car for a short time would pale in comparison to what was happening inside the house?” Ms O’Sullivan asked.

“No,” the man responded.

He said it “felt like forever” waiting for paramedics to arrive at the scene.

Police arrived at the property a short time after the ambulance.

Ms Thompson died at John Hunter Hospital about an hour after being stabbed.

The man said he and his partner were aware of Walton assaulting Ms Thompson throughout the course of their five year relationship, but while they had seen bruises, they had never witnessed the violence first-hand.

The inquest continues on Thursday.

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