Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Jeffery William ROONEY

Inquest into the Death of Jeffery William ROONEY

Delivered on : 3 November 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Jenkin

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Summary : Mr Jeffery William Rooney (Mr Rooney) died on 1 July 2021 at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital from subarachnoid haemorrhage due to rupture of a berry aneurysm.  At the time of his death, Mr Rooney was a sentenced prisoner and was 41-years of age.

Mr Rooney had an extensive criminal history and served various terms of imprisonment between 2005 and 2019.  On 20 August 2020 in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia at Geraldton, he was convicted of breaching a police order, and sentenced to 9-months’ imprisonment, suspended for
12-months.  After he breached the police order again, the suspended term was triggered, and on 24 December 2020, Mr Rooney he was incarcerated at Greenough Regional Prison.  He was subsequently transferred to the Wooroloo Prison Farm (WPF) on 12 March 2020.

Mr Rooney’s medical history included long-standing migraines and headaches, chronic low back pain, hepatitis C and high blood pressure.  He sustained head and facial injuries on several occasions following various incidents, and he had a history of polysubstance use including methylamphetamine, cannabis and alcohol.  In 2008, he was diagnosed antisocial personality disorder and he experienced episodes of drug-indued psychosis, and anxiety.  He reportedly attempted to take his life using a firearm in 1998 and in 2014, he sustained stab wounds, which were thought to have been self-inflicted.

On 2 June 2021, Mr Rooney presented to the WPF medical centre complaining of right facial pain, centred on his cheek.  Mr Rooney also reported a blocked nose and sniffles over the previous few days, and it was noted he had a loose right upper tooth.  Mr Rooney was diagnosed with sinusitis and treated with oral antibiotics.  During a review by a prison medical officer (PMO) on 22 June 2021, Mr Rooney reported only a slight improvement in his symptoms, and although a head CT was ordered, it was not performed before Mr Rooney’s death.

At about 4.30 pm on 30 June 2020, Mr Rooney collapsed in his cell, and a Code Red medical emergency was initiated.  Mr Rooney was taken to hospital where scans showed he had experienced extensive bleeding around the brain due to the rupture of a berry-like weaknesses in an artery in his brain (intracranial berry aneurysm).  Mr Rooney was rushed to hospital by ambulance, but was declared deceased at 5.25 pm on 1 July 2020.

A consultant neurologist stated that it was unlikely that Mr Rooney’s symptoms of facial pain were related to his berry aneurysm, because they generally cause no symptoms before they rupture.  Routine screening to detect berry aneurysms is not conducted because they are rare and because exposing patients to radiation as a result of unnecessary CT scans is contraindicated.  Once a berry aneurysm ruptures, a patient’s prognosis is usually poor.

The coroner was satisfied that the supervision, treatment and care Mr Rooney received in prison was reasonable and appropriate.

Catch Words : Death in Custody : Natural Causes

Last updated: 19-Dec-2022

[ back to top ]