Tweed Daily News

QPS scrutinised at inquest

THE public needs to be more aware that stalking and harassment can be linked to homicide, an inquest has heard.

The comments follow a three-day inquest in to the triple-murder suicide of a controlling ex, a mother of two, her new boyfriend and a five-year-old child.

The inquest is investigating the links between homicide and domestic violence and the police response to the tragic deaths on the Gold Coast and in Northern NSW last May.

Paul Rogers went to his ex-fiancé Tania Simpson's Robina unit on May 15 2011 and stabbed her new boyfriend, Antony Way, before murdering Ms Simpson.

He then snatched his and Ms Simpson's five-year-old daughter from her bed, drove down to Piora, west of Casino, and gassed himself and Kyla in his car.

Rogers and Ms Simpson broke-up in October 2010 and Rogers proceeded to stalk Ms Simpson and harass her through relentless phone calls and texts.

In his final submissions on Wednesday, counsel assisting the coroner Peter Johns said there needed to be a greater understanding that behaviour like Rogers displayed could lead to violence.

"Stalking and disturbing behaviour needs to be highly publicised as behaviour linked to homicide even if there has been no history of physical violence," he said.

Ms Simpson called Broadbeach Police Station and spoke to Sergeant Robert Smithson about her ex-fiancé's behaviour three months before she was killed.

Sgt Smithson said based on what Ms Simpson told him about Rogers's behaviour, it did not constitute domestic violence.

Counsel for Sgt Smithson, Craig Pratt, said Ms Simpson withheld details of Rogers's behaviour but if she didn't, Sgt Smithson would have responded differently.

Ms Simpson did not even tell her own father the totality of her situation as she wanted to keep things "simple", Mr Pratt said.

The Queensland Police Service was also scrutinised for delaying a child abduction alert after they discovered Kyla missing on May 16 2011.

Police searching for Kyla and Rogers on that day were provided with a mobile phone triangulation which led them to a rural road near Casino.

Mr Johns revealed how police matched up a white ute on the rural road with the description of a vehicle linked to Rogers but later discovered the information was incorrect.

Queensland Police had to wait until those investigations were finalised before they could issue an abduction alert, Mr Johns said.

But "very sadly" it is almost certain Rogers and Kyla were dead before police investigators had a chance to locate them, Mr Johns conceded.

The coroner will deliver his findings on Friday.



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