Leonard Fraser.
Leonard Fraser.

Three doctors misdiagnose Fraser

THREE doctors who visited Rockhampton serial killer Leonard John Fraser in jail misdiagnosed his heart condition.

Counsel assisting the coroner Peter Johns yesterday told a pre-inquest conference at the Coroner’s Court in Brisbane that three doctors visited Fraser at Brisbane’s Wolston Correctional Centre on December 14, 16 and 18, 2006, but failed to pick up his heart problems.

They instead diagnosed him with a virus and bronchitis, the court was told.

The coronial hearing into the death in custody of Fraser was yesterday adjourned to give police more time to collect vital evidence.

Fraser, 55, died from a heart attack in a secure unit of Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital on New Year’s Day, 2007.

At the time, he was serving four indefinite life sentences for killing three Rockhampton women and a nine-year-old schoolgirl between December, 1998, and April, 1999.

His victims were Sylvia Benedettie, 19, Beverley Leggo, 36, Julie Turner, 39, and Keyra Steinhardt, nine, who he abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered as she walked home from school.

A coronial inquest will investigate the circumstances of his death and the adequacy and appropriateness of his medical treatment at Wolston, where he was jailed in 2003.

“The treatment and the medical care that he received at the Wolston Correctional Centre between the 7th of December, 2006, and the 26th of December, 2006, therefore becomes, in my submission, the only issue,” Mr Johns said.

Nurses at the jail raised the alarm about Fraser’s deteriorating health. He was taken by ambulance to the Princess Alexandra Hospital on December 26, where it was determined he’d likely had a heart attack.

While at the hospital, he suffered another heart attack and was declared dead on New Year’s Day.

Mr Johns sought an adjournment from state coroner Michael Barnes to enable Detective Sergeant Gavin Pascoe, of the QPS Corrective Services Investigation Unit, to collect statements from the three visiting medical officers who treated Fraser at Wolston.

The matter has been adjourned to a date yet to be set.