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Father who killed toddler son and himself was subject to an AVO

Written by on May 21, 2024

The father who killed his toddler son and himself after rigging up a complicated gas poisoning system in his NSW home had an AVO taken out against him, it can be revealed.

Dr Sophie Roome took an apprehended violence order out against her ex-partner James Harrison in August.

The couple had moved to Lismore with their two year old son Rowan last year but split shortly after.

They shared custody of Rowan and Dr Roome, an intensive care specialist, took the toddler to Harrison’s home on Sunday for a custody visit while she worked a shift at Lismore Base Hospital.

When Harrison failed to drop Rowan back at 4.30pm, Dr Roome called the police.

Police did a welfare check at around 5.30pm before leaving and returning again to Harrison’s home at around 9.45pm.

On the second visit they forced entry and found Harrison and Rowan dead.

It can now be revealed that Harrison had a history of domestic violence and had an AVO taken out against him to protect Dr Roome.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Harrison’s behaviour towards his former partner became concerning after they split and she went to Lismore Local Court in August to seek out an AVO against him.

In March that AVO was extended banning Harrison from assaulting, stalking or intimidating Dr Roome.

Police believe Harrison had planned the horrific crime and had rigged up a deadly gas poisoning system in his rental property.

Harrison, 38, was a business analyst with NSW Health. His social media profile shows him hiking and camping but also include rants about Covid-19 and other issues.

Dr Roome’s family have travelled from Tasmania, where she is from, to comfort her.

“It’s devastating, we are all devastated,” a family member told the Telegraph.

News of the tragic murder suicide broke on Monday with police revealing that there was no weapon involved in the pair’s death.

“The father has created a system where both he and the child have passed away as a result of the system he set up,” Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Thurtell said..

“A more tragic event you wouldn’t come across.

“Any of these issues are difficult for the police, but they are well-trained.

“Our welfare systems in place look after our officers. Our focus should be on the poor mother who has lost a child.”

The tragic deaths come in the wake of a number of domestic violence-related deaths across Australia including the alleged murder of tragic mum Molly Ticehurst.

A post-mortem will be held this week to determine the cause of the deaths.