Workplace watchdog won’t prosecute employer of nurse Gayle Woodford, who was raped and murdered in 2016
Posted On May 5, 2022
South Australia’s work safety watchdog has handed down a devastating decision for the family of nurse Gayle Woodford, who was raped and murdered in 2016.
In March that year, the 56-year-old was raped and beaten to death while working on-call alone in the rural Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands community of Kaltjiti in the state’s far north.
In 2017, Dudley Davey was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 32 years over the attack.
SafeWork SA has now made the decision to not prosecute Ms Woodford’s employer, the Nganampa Health Council.
“We were gutted, absolutely gutted. We feel like we just don’t know where to turn to,” Ms Woodford’s husband, Keith, said.
SafeWork SA said a team completed a 12-month investigation to determine whether the health service should be pursued for any breaches of the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
The watchdog said it found there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.
Mr Woodford said it was a difficult outcome to accept.
“Closure that’s all we want. We want health to be charged and then prosecuted,” he said.
“We had flagged on multiple occasions that we felt that we could benefit from the use of security guards and that we shouldn’t be going out alone,” nurse Belinda Schultz said.
Ms Woodford’s case has raised questions about the watchdog’s investigations.
They include the collapse of a case involving eight-year-old Adelene Leong, who was flung from a ride at the Royal Adelaide Show in 2014, and the alleged botching of an investigation into the death of Jorje Castillo-Riffo, who was killed while working on the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“A lack of accountability means a lack of respect to somebody who’s lost a loved one,” Castillo-Riffo’s partner, Pam Gurner-Hall, said.