Nurse murder inquiry begins
An inquest into the rape and murder of a nurse in 2016 could lead to new measures for the safety of medical personnel in remote SA communities.
The body of nurse Gayle Woodford was found buried just days after she went missing from her Fregon home in SA's north in 2016.
Dudley Davey pleaded guilty to her rape and murder and is currently serving a minimum 32-year jail term.
It is believed that Davey tricked Ms Woodford into opening a security cage and overpowered her as she walked to her ambulance.
Ms Woodford's colleague in Fregon, fellow nurse Belinda Schultz, said it was not practical or safe for nurses to make assessments from behind the cage. She also said the cage was sometimes opened as a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
The inquest into her death this week will hear from former colleagues at the Nganampa Health Council.
Opening the inquiry on Monday, counsel assisting Ahura Kalali said a “catalogue of blunders” meant Davey “slipped through the cracks” and was unsupervised at the time of the murder.
Ms Woodford's husband, Keith, said management was repeatedly warned about safety issues, but nurses were told; “If you don't like it, leave”.
Mr Kalali said that Davey qualified for the national child offender register, and if he had been on the list, police would be able to monitor and share information about him.
The probe will look into various aspects of the safety of remote area nurses and the presence of police in such communities.
Ms Woodford’s death has already led to policy changes designed to protect nurses from similar violent attacks, known as Gayle’s Law.
The inquest is expected to run for two weeks.