A coroner has supported sweeping changes at a prison after the stabbing death of beloved shopkeeper Voula Delios at the hands of a violent and erratic man.
A coroner has supported sweeping changes at a prison after the stabbing death of beloved shopkeeper Voula Delios at the hands of a violent and erratic man.

Beloved shopkeeper killed by mentally-ill man set free

A PAPER trail shows the man who killed beloved Greek grandmother Voula Delios was violent, erratic, seriously mentally-unwell and had a history of refusing his antipsychotic medication.

But nevertheless, Daryl Royston Wayne Cook was released from Risdon Prison after spending 12 months in maximum security back into the Hobart community with "no support at all" and no legal requirement to take his medication.

Tragically, Mrs Delios - a much loved "yiayia" and North Hobart shopkeeper - died after Cook brutally stabbed her 22 times on July 23, 2016 - the day after he was released from jail.

Voula Delios pictured in 2003 with son Michael.
Voula Delios pictured in 2003 with son Michael.

In his findings released Friday, Coroner Simon Cooper said the day before, Cook was directed to attend a meeting with Community Corrections - the body responsible for people on probation.

But Cook never showed up.

"There seemed to be no policy of notifying police of a failure of an offender to attend an induction appointment," Mr Cooper said.

"Policy notwithstanding, no-one appears to have given any thought to notifying Tasmania Police of the fact that Mr Cook did not keep his appointment … nonetheless, it is very clear that staff at Community Corrections, with very good reason, held serious concerns in relation to the threat to Mr Cook posted to them and others."

Daughter, Maria, left, and sister, Rosa Warner, of murdered North Hobart shopkeeper Voula Delios leave the Supreme Court in Hobart. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE.
Daughter, Maria, left, and sister, Rosa Warner, of murdered North Hobart shopkeeper Voula Delios leave the Supreme Court in Hobart. Picture: SAM ROSEWARNE.

However, Mr Cooper stopped short of blaming Mrs Delios' death on the failure of Community Corrections to notify police - but said the two events were "sufficiently connected".

He said Cook's failure to keep his Community Corrections order and the fact he was released without support for his mental illness contributed to Mrs Delios' "shocking, tragic and needless death".

He said there was "no meaningful ability to monitor a person's compliance" with conditions after their release from prison, and there was no power on the part of Community Corrections or Tasmania Police to immediately detain or arrest a person who fails to comply with their reporting obligations.

I consider that Mr Cook was released into the community suffering from a serious, but untreated mental illness, and while suffering from that illness killed Mrs Delios," he said.

"He was released early, having been granted a remission for good behaviour, when his behaviour had been the antithesis of 'good'. He was released with, in effect, no support at all."

Tributes lay near where Voula Delios was murdered. Picture: KIM EISZELE
Tributes lay near where Voula Delios was murdered. Picture: KIM EISZELE

Mr Cooper supported suggestions to increase infrastructure and accommodation for prisoners with mental health needs, and for those detainees to receive a comprehensive mental health plan upon their release.

He also supported suggestions that Risdon Prison staff undergo mental health training, and for a review of powers to arrest former inmates for failing to comply with reporting obligations.

Cook was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in 2018.

 

 

amber.wilson@news.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published as Beloved shopkeeper killed by mentally-ill man set free


GREAT WALL FALLS: QLD border to reopen on Dec 1

Premium Content GREAT WALL FALLS: QLD border to reopen on Dec 1

Queensland to open to NSW from December 1, with decision on Victoria yet to be...

NAMED: 89 people facing Dalby court today

Premium Content NAMED: 89 people facing Dalby court today

THESE are the names of the 89 people facing Dalby Magistrates Court today.

Southwest woman runs over man with his own car

Premium Content Southwest woman runs over man with his own car

A St George mum ran over her victim and pinned him against a set of stairs while...