Court finds drug made man kill wife
A New South Wales Supreme Court judge has found an elderly man would not have
killed his wife if he had not taken an overdose of the anti-depressant,
Justice Barry O'Keefe says the case is a tragic reminder of the possible,
even dangerous, detrimental side-effects of the drug.
David Hawkins, 76, of the southern New South Wales' town of Tumbarumba,
strangled his wife of 50 years in August 1999, after a night in which he took
five times the recommended dose of Zoloft.
He gave himself up to police almost immediately and was found by
psychiatrists to have been in a drug induced toxic delirium at the time,
suffering hallucinations and psychosis.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Passing sentence, Justice O'Keefe found but for taking the Zoloft, Mr Hawkins
would not have killed his wife.
He sentenced him to three years' jail, but ordered he be freed on parole on
July 31, this year.