A general practitioner working in NSW with a special interest in palliative care has been charged with murder and is facing extradition to Tasmania, where police want to question him in relation to the death of his elderly mother.
The 61-year-old doctor, Stephen Edwards, has also been suspended from practising as a doctor by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). NSW police raided his home in Umina on the central coast and allegedly found prescription sedatives under his father’s name as well as under the names of patients.
“Officers from Tasmania will seek the man’s extradition regarding the death of a 89-year-old woman last month in Hobart,” NSW police confirmed to Guardian Australia on Friday.
“Brisbane Waters police will continue to assist with ongoing investigations relating to this incident.”
Guardian Australia has approached AHPRA for comment. The man was expected to appear before Gosford local court later on Friday.
Tasmania police told Guardian Australia in a statement it will be alleged that Edward’s mother died after the administration of medication.
“It will also be alleged that the man, formerly of Hobart, travelled to Hobart in the days before her death,” the statement said.
“As part of the investigation, three Tasmania police officers travelled to Woy Woy on the NSW central coast on Wednesday and conducted searches at several properties. NSW officers assisted in the searches. They arrested the 61-year-old man at his workplace today.”
In his professional biography, Edwards says he was born and raised in Hobart, trained as a nurse at Sydney hospital, and graduated after four years from the British college of naturopathy and osteopathy in London. He later studied the sciences, fine arts and English at Sydney University, before transferring to medicine.
After working a few years in the Nepean and Gosford hospitals, he spent a year with the Sydney Institute of Palliative Medicine. The biography says he “developed a regular working relationship with the Brown Nurses, an order of nuns dedicated to supporting a large inner-city population of homeless, mentally ill or otherwise disenfranchised people who fall through the cracks of the orthodox medical system”.
“Family illness prompted a return to Tasmania where Stephen worked in both rural practice and Hobart for five years before moving to Woy Woy in 2012,” his profile says.
“With an interest in geriatrics, dementia and palliative care, Stephen has spent an increasing proportion of his time in nursing homes and hostels until in recent years this has become his primary focus.”