Wife of killer blames drugs — (The Advertiser)

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The Advertiser

12 dec 05

THE wife of a former ambulance officer who stabbed two Brisbane prostitutes to death has blamed his use of anti-depressants for his murderous spree.

Francis Michael Fahey, 52, of Narangba in Brisbane’s outer north, was convicted in September this year of murdering inner-city prostitutes Jasmin Crathern and Julie McColl with a bayonet he kept under the front seat of his utility.

Beth Fahey, the wife of the man dubbed “the Brisbane Ripper”, today said she watched her husband transform from a respected paramedic into a monster.

“I’m looking for explanations and probably the families are looking for explanations … I can’t imagine how devastated they must feel knowing that an ambulance officer has killed their daughters,” Ms Fahey told the Ten Network.

An ambulance officer for 28 years, the father of three was medically discharged in 2002 with post-traumatic stress disorder and was prescribed the anti-depressant Efexor.

She said he then changed.

“He is truly a loving and gentle person,” Ms Fahey said.

“You can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to have a loving, caring husband one day and then suddenly he becomes this feeble person who would lay down on the ground and cry because he can’t get better.”

She claimed the drug eventually turned him into a monster who preyed on vulnerable sex workers.

“My God, you know, if these medical practitioners had done their job the first one (prostitute) wouldn’t be dead, the second one wouldn’t be dead  there’s a lot of things that wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Ms Fahey said dozens of ambulance officers were taking Efexor to cope with the demands of their job.

“This could happen to anyone of us, anyone of us,” she said.

“It’s important to me that they realise that he is not the monster that people are making him out to be.”

The Ten Network said that British regulators last year recommended the use of the anti-depressant be restricted after clinical trials showed some patients became suicidal and even homicidal.

However, Efexor’s manufacturers rejected the claims, saying 10 million people had used it safely for the past 10 years.

Fahey is in prison awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors have asked that an application be made to Queensland’s Attorney-General Linda Lavarch requesting he never be released.

Fahey was still being prescribed Efexor, Ms Fahey said.

Fahey stabbed Ms Crathern 14 times on August 8, 2002. He stabbed Ms McColl in the torso 24 times on February 26, 2003.