Insane killer seeks transfer

By: Tony Koch

INSANE killer Claude John Gabriel yesterday asked the Mental Health Review Tribunal for a transfer to Victoria so he could be near his family.
Gabriel, 27, who arrived at the in-camera hearing under escort, could soon be transferred to a Victorian psychiatric hospital -- just months after his recapture in New Zealand following his escape from a Queensland centre.
Gabriel stabbed 17-year-old Janaya Clarke to death at Chevron Island on the Gold Coast on November 9, 1998, but did not stand trial after he was adjudged to be of unsound mind.
He hit the headlines in November when he absconded from Wacol's John Oxley Hospital and fled to Italy.
In May, Gabriel was recaptured in New Zealand and his parents John and Alessandra Gabriel have since been charged with aiding his escape.
Gabriel's parents, who have failed to appear in court in Brisbane to face the charges on four occasions, have been ordered to attend a three-day hearing on September 3.
The Mental Health Review Tribunal met yesterday to consider Gabriel's transfer application and is expected to take 48 hours to make a ruling. The tribunal meets in secret.
Janaya Clarke's mother, Robyn Clarke, was not allowed to attend, although she was invited to make a submission which could be considered by the tribunal.
When asked last night if she knew the outcome, Mrs Clarke said she could not comment because new Queensland legislation meant she could face a fine of $15,000 or jail for two years.
Mrs Clarke has previously appealed to the mental health tribunal and the Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks, not to allow Gabriel to transfer to Victoria. She said that Gabriel destroyed the lives of herself and her children and added that she ``lived in constant, never-ending terror'' that he would kill again.
Last night, Mrs Clarke said it was ridiculous that Gabriel could flee overseas, cost the government huge amounts of money to bring back and was now applying for transfer.
``He has shown nothing but contempt for the law and his most recent escapade has proved to me that he will stop at nothing to
get what he wants,'' Mrs Clarke said.
`Last night, Health Minister Wendy Edmond said the tribunal's deliberations were held in secret because the Government did not make public details about the treatment of patients.
She said the findings of the mental health court, which determined whether an accused person was of sound mind, were made public.
Victims Of Crime Advocacy League spokesman Dennis Denning said Gabriel should not be allowed to be transferred to Victoria and should serve his time in Queensland.
Mr Denning also said Queensland law provided the same penalty of up to two years' jail for helping a prisoner escape as it provided for people who revealed details of tribunal hearings.
``A victim or a victim's family who dares to approach the media can be jailed for two years,'' Mr Denning said.
``That provision should not be there.''