NSW Health executive sends email praising Lismore child killer as ‘wonderful and beloved’ colleague

The Nightly
A NSW Halth executive has sent an email praising James Harrison, the Lismore father who killed himself and his two-year-old son.
A NSW Halth executive has sent an email praising James Harrison, the Lismore father who killed himself and his two-year-old son. Credit: James Harrison/Facebook

A NSW Health executive has praised a Lismore father who murdered his two-year-old son before killing himself as a “wonderful colleague and beloved friend” in an email to staff.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the email was circulated to NSW Health Clinical Excellence Commission staff on Wednesday — two days after 38-year-old James Harrison poisoned himself and his toddler son during a planned custody visit.

The email was sent by CEC director of information management Andre Jenkins following a staff meeting on Wednesday morning to inform colleagues that “support services” would be available.

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“It is with indescribable sadness that I find myself letting you know that James Harrison and his son Rowan died on Sunday,” Mr Jenkins said in the email, which was leaked to The Telegraph.

“There are no words to adequately describe the loss of a wonderful colleague and beloved friend.”

The email reportedly made no mention of the circumstances surrounding Harrison or his son Rowan’s death.

It also praised Harrison as “generous with his time”.

“Many of you also shared and memories of Rowan popping up in meetings with his proud dad.”

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park immediately distanced himself from the email, saying it was “completely unacceptable”.

“I want to make clear that it does not reflect the views of NSW Health, and that it was not in any way endorsed or authorised by Health,” he said.

“This is an extremely difficult time for local health staff, and I want to reiterate that support is being made available to them.”

It was revealed on Tuesday night that Dr Sophie Roome, the mother of young Rowan and Harrison’s ex-partner, had taken an apprehended violence order out against him last year but was still required to take her son for access visits.

When her son did not return from an access visit by 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon, she raised the alarm with local police.

Officers went to Harrison’s house in College Street but no one answered the door.

They returned to the police station to make further enquiries before rushing back to the house around 9.30pm.

When they forced their way into the home, they found the bodies of Harrison and Rowan.

Police believe Harrison, who studied biochemistry in WA before moving east, rigged up a deadly poisoning system using carbon monoxide.

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