Family of dead Coast doctor calls for murder probe
THE family of a prominent Sunshine Coast doctor found dead with a knife plunged into her chest have rejected a coroner's finding she killed herself.
The family of Dr Karen Mahlo is now asking Attorney General Yvette D'Ath to launch a murder investigation into her death.
The body of Dr Mahlo, the former medical services executive director at Nambour Hospital, was found in her Moffat Beach home on May 28, 2008.
Near it were typed, unsigned suicide notes written to her two children, Anna and Ben Sasanow, and her ex-partner John Hehir.
But Dr Mahlo's brothers, Wade and Brett, and her children say there is evidence that points to her being murdered. They successfully lobbied for a coronial inquest, but were disappointed when Coroner Christine Clements ruled her death was a suicide.
The coroner did note puzzling factors, but took into account Dr Mahlo's known history of depression and a previous attempt to take her own life.
Her family claims they have new evidence which backs their belief she was murdered.
They detailed the evidence in a letter to Ms D'ath yesterday and they have also written to the state coroner, Terry Ryan, asking him overturn Ms Clements' findings.
"We want justice for Karen," Wade Mahlo said.
"We don't believe she took her own life."
They told Mr Ryan they had "powerful" new evidence of sufficient grounds to rule out suicide.Their key concerns include their claim no fingerprints were on the knife which killed Dr Mahlo or her suicide note.
Evidence also suggested someone was using Dr Mahlo's computer at a time it could reasonably be believed for forensic evidence she was already dead.
Mr Mahlo said there were three knives in the bedroom where Dr Mahlo was found and all were "negative for fingerprints".
"Although the forensic report did suggest the surfaces were 'degraded', this was not the case with the knife that caused the fatal injury," he said.
It was a "high quality stainless steel chef's knife".
"As anyone who has a stainless steel appliance knows, stainless steel is an excellent surface for trapping fingerprints."
While the lack of fingerprints on the suicide notes was mentioned in the inquest, he said the lack of fingerprints on the knife received "barely a mention" and was not included in the coroner's findings.
"Our sister could hardly have wiped the handle clean of fingerprints herself," he said.
Another key concern was evidence in the coroner's report concerning the timeline of their sister's death.
The coroner found Dr Mahlo likely died between 3.06am-5am, but the family argues the last computer activity was at 3.29am.
"Our sister would then have had to leave the office, collect the chef's knife, climb the stairs to her bedroom, prepare herself for death and next she had to stab herself through the chest three times," the brothers said.
Independent findings in the coroner's report noted "assessment of force needed to inflict the stab wounds was problematic".