Police cleared of Beck interference
QUEENSLAND'S coroner has rejected claims police interfered to keep a notorious child killer alive against her wishes following a heart attack.
In his findings into the death of convicted murderer Valmae Beck, also known as Fay Cramb, Coroner Michael Barnes ruled there was no evidence of police interference in the inmate's treatment.
Beck's sole friend and next of kin Stephanie Gunton this week told the inquest medical staff at Townsville Hospital told her they had been ordered to keep her alive so she could be interviewed by police in relation to a number of unsolved crimes.
However, Mr Barnes said he was confident after hearing evidence from doctors and police that no such order was given.
"[Also] I am confident that had there been any attempt to influence the course of Ms Cramb's treatment by police, it would have been met, properly, with an indignant refusal and complaint," he said.
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Convicted murderer Valmae Beck was admitted to Townsville Hospital suffering from heart failure on May 5, 2008, but was stabilised by medical staff even though the inmate had told her next of kin she did not want to be resuscitated.
Beck, who changed her name to Fay Cramb during her 20-year stint in Queensland prisons, was convicted along with her then husband Barrie Watts over the 1987 rape and murder of 12-year-old Sunshine Coast girl Sian Kingi.
Lawyer Catherine Cuthbert, representing prisoner rights group Sisters Inside, told the court Beck was a hated and reviled prisoner who "faced abuse on a daily basis".
Beck died in hospital on May 27 after her sole friend and next of kin Stephanie Gunton was able to outline her wishes to doctors.
Coroner Michael Barnes on Thursday told the inquest he intended to make a finding that staff at Townsville prison had failed in their responsibility to ensure Ms Gunton was part of any decision-making regarding the inmate's treatment.
"It's clear that corrective services authorities failed to comply with their own policies and probably with the law," Mr Barnes said.
Ms Gunton was not contacted until a day after Beck was admitted to hospital, by which time doctors had inserted a wire into her pacemaker to keep her alive.