THE parole officer tasked with supervising Tafari Walton said the 22-year-old admitted to using ecstasy and "a couple of smokes of ice" two weeks after his release from jail but he did not notify police or require him to undergo drug testing despite drug use being a breach of his bail and a risk directly related to him re-offending, a coronial inquest has heard.
Geoffrey Brady, a community corrections officer who supervised Walton for about seven weeks between his release in January 2019 and when he murdered Gabriella Thompson and was subsequently shot dead by police at Glendale, gave evidence during the inquest on Tuesday, defending using his discretion not to report Walton's admitted drug use to police.
That was despite Mr Brady acknowledging he was aware from the outset of his time overseeing Walton's return to the community that drug use was likely to exacerbate his mental health issues and could lead to "explosive behaviour". "Because his bail conditions were not being supervised by myself or community corrections and I was managing him as per our policy and procedures," Mr Brady said when asked by counsel assisting Jake Harris why he didn't report Walton's apparent breach of bail to police.
Mr Brady said it was not the role of parole officers to report drug use to police and said Walton otherwise appeared engaged in remaining abstinent and eager to address his mental health issues. The inquest has previously heard that Walton went on an ice binge before he murdered Ms Thompson and hadn't slept for up to six days before he stabbed her at her home on March 13, 2019.
The final time Mr Brady saw Walton was during a home visit the day before the murder.
He said Ms Thompson was at the home and Walton had raised with him concerns that Ms Thompson was potentially being unfaithful.
Despite Walton's concerns and his history, Mr Brady said he didn't "observe anything of relevance to domestic violence".
"He was acting quite reasonably," Mr Brady said of Walton. "I didn't see any red flags from that interaction. "I was missing pieces to the puzzle. I couldn't put it together to generate that there was a serious risk to Gabby."
The inquests in Newcastle Coroner's Court are examining a number of issues relating to the murder of Ms Thompson and subsequent police shooting of Walton, including the adequacy of mental health treatment provided to Walton, the decision to grant Walton bail despite him being charged with stabbing another inmate while in jail and whether police took appropriate action in shooting Walton as he charged at them with a knife in the backyard of a home at Glendale on March 14, 2019.
As well as Walton's parole officer, the inquest on Tuesday heard from a number of police officers who responded to a "concern for welfare" raised by one of Ms Thompson's friends early on the morning of the day she was killed.
The police officer who received the call denied Ms Thompson's friend had told him she was worried Ms Thompson was going to be "stabbed or killed" by Walton.
He also refuted claims he should have listed the job for responding police as a "domestic" incident and not a "concern for welfare", with Mr Harris outlining police guidelines that state police had to prioritise domestic violence calls.
That initial classification, it appears, could have been significant with another officer giving evidence on Tuesday that he spoke to Ms Thompson over the phone on the morning she was killed but was not required to see her face to face because the job was not listed as a "domestic".
Instead, Ms Thompson told police she was "OK" and did not need to see them.
Two-and-a-half hours later she was dead.
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