A Lismore mother took out an AVO against her former partner. Then he killed their child.

Content warning: This story discusses domestic violence.

A man with a history of domestic violence killed his young son in what police have described as a "tragedy" during a scheduled access visit. The child was just two years old.

The 38-year-old man, who has since been identified as James Harrison, a business analyst with NSW Health, and young boy were found dead in East Lismore in NSW on Sunday, the case being treated as a murder-suicide.

Per The Daily Telegraph, Harrison was subject to an apprehended violence order, taken out to protect the child's mother, Dr Sophie Roome, an intensive care specialist who was working at Lismore Base Hospital when her child was killed.

Watch: Police provide an updated following the suspected murder-suicide in Lismore. Post continues below.

Video via 10 News First.

Dr Roome contacted police when her son was not handed back at the agreed time. The son was due to be returned at 4.30pm and the mother called police about an hour later.

Officers discovered the two bodies in a rented house in College St at about 9.45pm.

Police officers said they went immediately to the College St address when Dr Roome phoned, but no one answered. They canvassed the area and returned to the station to make further enquiries before returning to the address and forcing entry.


A post mortem is still yet to be carried out.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Peter Thurtell said: "A more tragic event you wouldn't come across … it's very sad and that's a matter now being investigated and a report will be prepared for the coroner."

Deputy Commissioner Thurtell added that the man was known to police for previous domestic-violence matters but there had been no "significant issues" in the past.

The Telegraph reports that Harrison had "rigged up a deadly poisoning system" inside the home.

Harrison and Dr Roome separated in 2023 after moving to the Northern Rivers region, and she attended Lismore Local Court in August 2023 to seek an AVO. The order was extended by the court in March, banning Harrison from assaulting, stalking or intimidating Dr Roome.

Emma Siegel, from the Lismore Women's Health Centre, told Sydney Morning Herald the suspected murder-suicide has left "the community paralysed".

"Our hearts go out to the woman who has to go to bed tonight knowing that she will never be able to hug her little one," she said.

The deaths followed a four-day statewide blitz that led to more than 550 people being charged with 1070 offences.


Of those arrested, 226 were wanted by police for serious domestic violence offences. The blitz included 3735 domestic violence-order checks and another 1300 bail-compliance checks.

"It's really important for us that we've got a suite of tools because offenders change their behaviour, not only with victims, but with the law as well," the Deputy Commissioner said. "The more legislation, the more ability we have to interact with domestic violence offenders, the more opportunity we've got to change their behaviour or put them in jail."

The NSW government is set to tweak bail laws to keep high-risk domestic violence offenders locked up or electronically monitored. The presumption that high-risk offenders can be released on bail will also be reversed, with the onus of proof placed on accused perpetrators to demonstrate why they should be out in the community.

With AAP.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a national organisation that helps women, children and families move on after the devastation of domestic and family violence. Their mission is to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most. If you would like to support their mission you can donate here

Feature Image: AAP.