A man with schizophrenia who stabbed a beloved shopkeeper to death in Hobart had been granted an early release from prison the previous day despite his history of violence and untreated mental illness.
Voula Delios, 68, died on July 23, 2016 after being attacked by Daryl Royston Wayne Cook in broad daylight at her suburban grocery store.
In inquest findings published on Friday, coroner Simon Cooper said Cook’s behaviour in jail was deeply problematic in the year prior.
Prison records show he often threatened to stab officers and inmates, destroyed things in his cell, sharpened a ruler and plastic cutlery into knives and at one point screamed abuse for two hours.
A prison report considered as part of the decision to give Cook remission, or early release, rated his behaviour as « poor » in all criteria.
« Given his extremely challenging behaviours in prison, with actual and threatened violence to staff and other inmates, why he was granted any remission at all is far from clear to me, » Mr Cooper wrote, adding « poor » was the lowest possible score.
« There was no evidence at the inquest which cast any light on the decision to grant Mr Cook remission of sentence. »
Mr Cooper noted remission was given to prisoners « as an incentive to, or reward for, good conduct » but Cook’s behaviour had been the antithesis of good.
Ms Delios, a grandmother and mother of four, was working alone when Cook repeatedly stabbed her upper body.
Cook was in 2018 found not guilty of murdering Ms Delios by reason of insanity and is being detained indefinitely in a secure mental health unit.
The trial heard Cook was in the grip of a psychotic episode and believed he was waging a holy war and Ms Delios was a heathen whom God wanted dead.
He was medicated with an antipsychotic drug in August 2015 while in jail but he only took it for a few months and refused to in early 2016.
Mr Cooper said Cook was relied on to take the drug voluntarily as there was no legal requirement for him to do so.
Mr Cooper made no formal recommendations but urged authorities to consider a suite of suggestions made by counsel around the treatment of prisoners’ mental health and post-release support.
Cook had a troubled childhood and lengthy criminal history, which included prison time in Victoria, and had been serving jail time for aggravated burglary, stealing and destroying property.
Actu monde – AU – Tas killer released despite violent past