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Nurse's killing prompts safety review

WORK safety in NSW psychiatric wards will be reviewed after an experienced mental health nurse died yesterday. The nurse died after being stabbed with a knife by a patient who was classified as "low risk".
Bob Fenwick, 63, who had a long career in mental and community health, was stabbed in the chest and arms, allegedly by a patient, on Wednesday afternoon at Bloomfield Hospital in Orange. Mr Fenwick was flown to Sydney but died early yesterday.
Another nurse, Emily Pritchard, 20, sustained injuries to her hands and was treated at Orange Base Hospital.
Matthew Peter Loughrey, 33, a voluntary patient, was charged yesterday with murder and attempted murder and denied bail in Orange Local Court. He will appear in court again on Tuesday.
NSW Health will undertake a full review of the incident, the first alleged murder of a nurse on duty since the death of Sandra Hoare in 1994 at Walgett District Hospital, in the state's north-central region.
Hoare, 21, was on her second paid shift when she was abducted from the geriatric ward by cousins Brendan and Vester Fernando, raped and murdered.
NSW Nurses Association assistant general secretary Judith Kiejda said the union was continually working to improve safety in the workplace, and this was "a very rare" incident.
"As sad and devastating as it is, it is a very rare event -- not that that is any comfort in this situation," she said. "We will wait for a full investigation to be done to see if anything needs to be improved but certainly, after the Sandra Hoare case, huge changes were made to the health system, and all those changes are in place now and have been updated as time has gone on."
Ms Kiejda said assaults in mental health wards were not common. "There are areas of vulnerability in health, and obviously the nature of what they are dealing with in mental health and emergency departments does expose people to more incidents than other areas," she said.

The Australian (7-1-2011)
Jodie Minus

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Murderer gets 30 years for stabbing

A man jailed for life for the rape and murder of Walgett nurse Sandra Hoare was yesterday sentenced to 30 years for stabbing his cousin to death.
Vester Fernando, 31, pleaded guilty to murdering Brendan Fernando, his accomplice in the murder of Ms Hoare, at Lithgow jail on September 22, 1999.
Both men had been sentenced to life in prison for murdering the 21-year-old nurse after she had finished a shift at Walgett Hospital on December 9, 1994.
The NSW Supreme Court heard Vester became angry with Brendan following the revelation that he had lied in statements to police implicating him in Ms Hoare’s murder.
Vester denied he had anything to do with the crime and blamed Brendan for his conviction and subsequent life sentence.
He used a blade from a pair of scissors to stab Brendan in the face and chest, piercing his heart, during a music lesson in the prison’s auditorium.
Justice Rod Howie said sentencing Vester for the murder of his cousin was academic considering he was never to be released for the murder of Ms Hoare.
However, he sentenced Vester to a maximum 30 years in jail with a minimum term of 22 years, beginning from September 22, 1999.
Had Vester not been serving a life sentence he would have been eligible for parole in 2021.
Outside court Ms Hoare’s mother, Pauline Hoare, said she attended yesterday’s sentencing to bring closure for her.
“Just to put a closure on the whole thing and to see if he was really sorry,” she said.

The Northern Daily Leader (20-4-2001)

Killer Slain In Prison

Murderer Brendon Fernando, 27, serving a life sentence for the rape and brutal slaying of Walgett nurse Ms Sandra Hoare, was stabbed and bashed to death in Lithgow maximum security prison yesterday.
Police last night were questioning his cousin, Vester Fernando, 29, also serving life for what the sentencing judge described as the "worst category killing".
Bad feelings had existed between the Aboriginal cousins since Brendon Fernando gave police an account of the murder of Ms Hoare, 21, who was abducted from Walgett Hospital, where she was alone on duty on the night of December 9, 1994.
Since their arrests a month later, the cousins have been kept in different jails. But Vester, who has a record of violence in prison, was moved to Lithgow last June from Goulburn jail.
Another Aborigine was being questioned about Fernando's killing, along with a number of other prisoners.
His body was found in the education block by prison staff about 2 pm. He had been stabbed in the neck and bashed. No weapon was found.
Brendon Fernando was found guilty of Ms Hoare's murder and aggravated sexual assault, while Vester Fernando was found guilty of murder and assault with intent to have sexual intercourse without consent in circumstances of aggravation.
Brendon Fernando told police he held Ms Hoare down while Vester raped her. They then dragged her 400 metres to a paddock, where Vester almost decapitated her with a machete.

Sydney Morning Herald (23-9-1999)
Philip Cornford

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