The Fight For Teresa’s Law: Why Are So Many Violent Men Let Out On Parole?

Is the legal system failing to protect vulnerable women? 

First published by on April 19, 2017.

In January, mum-of-four Teresa Bradford was violently murdered in her Gold Coast home by her husband David Bradford, who then took his own life. The savage murder-suicide robbed four young children of their parents and devastated an entire community.

Bradford was on parole at the time of the murder. He’d been in custody for just 44 days following a violent domestic violence incident involving serious threats to his wife.

 Teresa only inadvertently found out her husband had been let out when a family member mentioned it to her. Struggling to relocate her family to new rental accommodation at short notice, Teresa had reached out to a domestic violence support group for help. But it was to prove too late.

Within days Theresa was dead.

Tragically, this is far from the first time that the question of alleged crimes being committed by parolees has hit the headlines.

Melbourne’s terrifying car rampage earlier this year resulted in six innocent people dead and dozens injured, allegedly at the hands of Dimitrious Gargasoulas who was just six days into a bail term at the time of the attack.

In 2012, Jill Meagher, 29, was raped and murdered as she walked home from a Brunswick tram stop by serial rapist Adrian Bayley, who was on parole for a number of sexual assaults and violence offences.

Jill Meagher was murdered in 2012. Photo: Facebook

Jill Meagher was murdered in 2012. Photo: Facebook

Inspired by the Bourke Street car rampage in January, Melbourne resident Michael Wilson started an online petition at to demand Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew refuse bail to repeat perpetrators.

“Here was an offender well known to police with an extensive history of violence presented to the courts regarding another assault claim and he is granted bail to continue his out of control life,” Wilson has said.

“If one decent thing happens out of this madness it has to be a tighter system around letting habitual criminals back on the street pending their court hearings.”

Police and emergency services at the scene after the Bourke Street mall attack. Phto: AAP Image/Luke Costin

Police and emergency services at the scene after the Bourke Street mall attack. Phto: AAP Image/Luke Costin

His petition has so far garnered 132,000 signatures. Premier Daniel Andrews has promised a review into legislative reform in Victoria, but the report is now two weeks passed its promised release date.

Teresa Bradford’s murder sparked widespread outrage and resulted in sweeping reforms in Queensland. Now her devastated family is demanding greater improvement, including compulsory mental health checks for all perpetrators during the parole process.

“We want Teresa’s Law, which is that all offenders get mental health checks before they’re even considered for bail,” Teresa’s brother Darren O’Brien recently told ABC’s 7.30.

Teresa Bradford's sister in law Narelle O'Brien and brother Darren O'Brien. Picture Jono Searle

Teresa Bradford’s sister in law Narelle O’Brien and brother Darren O’Brien. Picture Jono Searle

“If they’re at risk of committing suicide or offending or have any sort of mental health issue going on there, then they should automatically not be granted bail or put into a hospital until they go to court,” sister-in-law Narelle O’Brien also said.