Mum confronts author who ‘betrayed’ family
QUEENSLAND Health has savaged a forensic psychiatrist accused of withholding a dead woman's final words from her family, saying he appears to have betrayed patients, victims and their families.
Sonia Anderson, the mother of slain 22-year-old Bianca Girvan, this week told how she only learnt of her daughter's final plea by reading Dr Donald Grant's book.
A Queensland Health spokesman yesterday slammed the veteran psychiatrist, saying the department "can't underestimate how serious an issue this appears to be".
"On its surface it looks like a betrayal of patients, victims and their families, and the clinician's duty to do the right thing professionally," the spokesman said.
"We are incredibly distressed and are looking into the matter further."
Dr Grant - a Queensland forensic psychiatrist with more than 40 years' experience - released his book Killer Instinct last month.
The book explores a series of interviews he conducted with Queensland murderers while they awaited trial, including Rhys Austin, the killer of Brisbane woman Bianca Girvan.
A court was told that Austin was on a "mission to kill" in 2010 when he attacked Ms Girvan, his girlfriend, in Brisbane's south.
Dr Grant wrote in his book: "(Austin) told me that Bianca had said, 'I want to say goodbye to my son', and that he'd replied, 'No, he'll know', before tightening his grip… until she stopped moving."
Ms Anderson said this week she was disgusted, and even crashed one of Dr Grant's media events to express her anger.
"No one told me Bianca's supposed last words. How is this ethical?" she said.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Grant said he would donate some of his royalties to grieving families.
He also called for greater transparency for families of victims.
Dr Grant said the book included information that was available to offenders, their lawyers, prosecutors and mental health representatives.
"However these reports are not easily accessed by families of victims," he said.
"I will donate a proportion of my author royalties from Killer Instinct to help support victims' families to access information from trials and judgments. If my modest contribution can enhance their work I will be satisfied."