Five days after a police woman called a sheriff's officer to ask him to stop harassing his ex-girlfriend, he went to her home and killed a man before turning the gun on himself, a court has heard.
Senior Constable Jodi Anne Harmer, who failed to investigate a domestic violence report about the gunman, Warren Browne, or do a firearms licence check, has pleaded guilty to neglect of duty.
Harmer, 29, was due to be sentenced in the Newcastle Local Court on Friday but the case was delayed because of confusion over COVD-19 travel restrictions.
Magistrate Ron Maiden agreed to adjourn sentencing to August 13 after being told Harmer's lawyer was uncertain she could travel from Sydney to Newcastle on Friday because of the restrictions.
According to the statement of facts tendered to the court, a woman, 20, went to Belmont police station on March 9 last year to make a complaint about Browne, 42, who she had met on a fetish website called Fetlife about six months earlier.
Harmer spoke to the woman across the counter in reception and did not take her into an interview room.
The woman asked Harmer to phone Browne and warn him to stop contacting and harassing her, and that their relationship was over, telling the officer she had 33 missed calls from him just that afternoon.
The woman talked about how Browne, who worked as a sheriff's officer at NSW Central Coast courts, had become more controlling during their tumultuous relationship before Harmer agreed to call Browne in front of her.
Harmer then told the woman Browne had agreed to leave her alone.
She told Harmer she had only intended to have a one-night stand with Browne but the relationship had continued for six months.
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She said on one occasion Browne had arrived at her house uninvited, walked in and given her a bear hug.
The woman said Browne initially refused to leave, telling her, "I love you, I want to talk."
Browne eventually left but sat briefly in his car outside before walking back to the front door in tears. The woman spoke to him through the window and he left.
The woman spent about half an hour with Harmer detailing her concerns but did not want her complaint to adversely affect his job.
The statement of facts revealed Harmer failed to assess the risk of any future harm to the woman and did not refer her to a specialist support service or offer her the opportunity to record a domestic violence evidence statement.
She also failed to conduct firearms checks, apply for a provisional apprehended domestic violence order or identify and investigate alleged criminal offences.
Five days later Browne went to her home and shot and killed a man who was there with her before shooting and killing himself.
"The prosecution cannot establish (and does not assert as its case) that the subsequent actions of Mr Browne would not have occurred had Senior Constable Harmer acted in accordance with the duty she neglected," the statement of facts says.
A police statement last September said the officer's duty status was under review.
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