Tragic detail emerges after Aussie father kills 2-year-old son in murder-suicide

The father who killed himself and his toddler son, in what police are treating as a murder-suicide, was subject to an apprehended violence order (AVO), taken out by his ex-partner who is also the child’s mother, it’s been revealed.

An AVO is a court order issued to protect an individual who has a reasonable fear of violence or harassment from a specified person.

The bodies of James Harrison, 38, and his two-year-old son Rowan were found by police at an apartment in Lismore, NSW, on Sunday after his ex, Dr Sophie Roome, raised the alarm. It’s understood the two shared custody with Roome leaving her son off for an access visit with her father on the morning of the unthinkable tragedy.

When her child wasn’t dropped home that afternoon as planned, the mother reportedly contacted the police who conducted a welfare check. A few hours later, at around 9.45pm, authorities made the horrible discovery.

The 38-year-old man was known to police for previous domestic violence matters, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Thurtell told media on Monday. He described the situation as “very sad.”

Roome, an intensive care specialist, first sought an apprehended violence order in August 2023, shortly after parting ways with Harrison, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday. They’d moved to Lismore as a family a few months earlier. Friends revealed her concerning behavior escalated quickly after separating.

In March this year, the AVO was reportedly extended by the court, banning Harrison from assaulting, stalking or intimidating Roome. On Sunday morning, Harrison was having a planned visit with his son while Roome worked a shift at the hospital.

Deputy NSW Police Commissioner Peter Thurtell told reporters on Monday the man and boy found dead is being investigated as a murder-suicide. Picture: NewsWire/Gaye Gerard

“My understanding is that the male had an access visit on the day … the mother raised concerns with the fact that they were due to hand over the child at 4.30pm, and by 5.30pm she had contacted the police and we went around to the residence and made the discovery,” Deputy Commissioner Thurtell said.

Police initially attended the address but after not getting a response, they were left to make further inquiries before later returning that night to force their way in and uncover the grayly scene.

Commissioner Thurtell said there was no weapon involved, and police are looking at supporting the “poor mother” who lost a child. “The father has created a system where both he and the child have passed away as a result of the system he set up,” he said.

According to his LinkedIn page, Harrison had worked in various roles with the state government and had recently taken up a role as a business analyst with the Northern NSW Local Health District listed as his employer.

A relative of Roome described the tragic turn of events as “devastating.” Her family has reportedly rushed from Tasmania, where she grew up, to be with her in Lismore.

A crime scene has been established and inquiries into the deaths are now underway under Strike Force McGuren.

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, find help by calling 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

with NCA newswire

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