NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb sacks senior media adviser

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
3 Min Read
In today’s episode, we unpack why embattled NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb fired media adviser Liz Deegan.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb has sacked her chief media adviser weeks after she faced sustained criticism over her handling of the alleged murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

Ms Webb on Wednesday told Liz Deegan, pictured inset, that her services as executive director of public affairs were no longer required, firing her third media adviser after taking the job of top cop just over two years ago.

Ms Deegan began her role at NSW Police in April last year and has a long career in media, including stints at News Corp as an editor and with the NRL as chief corporate affairs officer.

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A NSW Police spokesperson confirmed Ms Deegan finished as director of public affairs on Wednesday.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to wish her all the best in her future endeavours and thank her for her contribution to the NSWPF,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Webb, pictured top, was criticised for taking days to hold a media conference on the shock deaths of Mr Baird, a television presenter, and his partner Mr Davies, a Qantas attendant.

NSW Police Const. Beau Lamarre-Condon allegedly murdered the couple with his police-issued Glock pistol at Mr Baird’s terrace share house in Paddington in the eastern suburbs.

When Ms Webb did face reporters, her deputy, Dave Hudson, did most of the talking.

Ms Webb was also criticised for describing the alleged murders as “a crime of passion” and making reference to pop singer Taylor Swift when defending her handling of the case. “There will always be haters. Haters like to hate. Isn’t that what Taylor says?” Ms Webb told Sunrise.

Ms Webb later backtracked and blamed her comments on “Taylor fever”.

“We’ve just had Taylor Swift in the city, it was Taylor fever here,” she told Channel Nine.

“Certainly, my efforts have been on the investigation.”

The top cop also faced allegations police tried to cover up the death of Clare Nowland at an aged-care home in Cooma after police took 36 hours to disclose a taser had been discharged at the 95-year-old grandmother.

Police first claimed the delay was because officers needed to notify the family of Ms Nowland, who had dementia and weighed 43kg, but internal police documents revealed the grandmother’s next of kin had been notified by midday on May 17. The investigation team met with her family at midday on May 18 but it later emerged police removed any mention of paramedics, a knife and a taser from the first media release issued on May 17.

The Police Commissioner, who was appointed by former NSW premier Dominic Perrottet in February 2022, has faced a whispering campaign since taking on the job.

Incumbent public affairs executive director Grant Williams left soon after Ms Webb took the top job while former television producer Alex Hodgkinson held the role for less than a year.

The Nightly approached Ms Deegan for comment.

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