Christine Crickitt, alleged murdered by her husband Dr Brian Crickitt between 31 December 2009 and 1 January 2010. Photo: SuppliedA Sydney GP charged with the murder of his then-wife is fighting for the right to continue treating patients while he is on bail.
Dr Brian Crickitt was charged in December with the murder of his wife, Christine, 61, at their home in Woodbine, in south-west Sydney, five years earlier.
Police alleged Dr Crickitt, who was also his wife’s treating doctor, caused her death by injecting fast-acting insulin between 8pm on December 31, 2009 and 8.15am on January 1, 2010.
In a fact sheet tendered to the court, police said Dr Crickitt had a number of motives for wanting his wife dead, such as large financial gain including a $500,000 life insurance policy, “loathing of his wife” and his affair with another woman.
He had allegedly researched insulin overdose on his computer and illegally prescribed and collected fast-acting insulin in the name of one of his patients on New Year’s Eve 2009 before “deactivating” the script on his computer to hide its creation.
He was charged on December 3, 2014 and granted conditional bail in Campbelltown Local Court the same day.
In an urgent meeting convened two weeks later the Medical Council of NSW suspended his registration as a medical practitioner with immediate effect to protect both the public and the reputation of the medical profession. At the time Dr Crickitt was working as a GP at the Campbelltown Medical and Dental Centre and had been practicing medicine for almost 35 years.
Dr Crickitt appealed the decision to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, arguing he is innocent until proven guilty and needs to earn an income. He says he intends to vigorously defend the murder charge.
In written reasons for their decision to suspend Dr Crickitt, published in January, the three-person panel appointed by the council said they had “no immediate concerns” that he posed a clinical risk to the health and safety of any person.
However, they were concerned about the impact of the allegations made against the appellant “on the standing and reputation of the medical profession and public confidence in the profession and its regulation”.
The delegates focused attention on the need for the public to be able to trust the medical profession and have confidence “that it is properly and adequately regulated”.
A coronial inquest into the death was held at the Glebe Coroners Court in May and December 2011 with an open finding. Then State Coroner Mary Jerram found on the evidence that the cause or the manner of Mrs Crickitt’s death could not be determined.
The inquest heard the Crickitts had been married for 15 years but the relationship had become “dysfunctional” and on New Year’s Eve 2009 they fought for several hours before Dr Crickitt packed a bag and left.
Dr Crickitt originally told police he was driving around Campbelltown for hours but later admitted he’d been at the home of his mistress, Linda Livermore.
He said he returned home at 8.15am on January 1, 2010 to find his wife’s body. He then went to Glebe morgue with Ms Livermore to view the body, a move that Mrs Crickitt’s son Stuart Riley told the inquest was “disrespectable [sic] and dishonourable”.
Records made available by Medicare indicate that during the period from 1988 to 2009 Dr Crickitt treated and prescribed medication for his wife, who had a range of illnesses including arthritis, Graves’ disease, depression and bipolar disorder.
During hearings before the NCAT in March, June and earlier this month, the Medical Council opposed Dr Crickitt’s appeal against suspension, saying even if Dr Crickitt is ultimately acquitted of his wife’s murder, patients might feel distress and anxiety and even fail to seek medical advice due to their lack of confidence in the medical profession. But Dr Crickitt said the suspension was depriving him of his livelihood.
The NCAT dismissed Dr Crickitt’s appeal to overturn the suspension for now. It also decided to allow the council to reopen its case and adduce fresh evidence about an alleged relationship of some kind between Dr Crickitt and a former patient, the adequacy of his clinical records and the fact that he had seemingly socialised with his patients.
Dr Crickitt’s appeal hearing will resume on September 25.
He will face a committal hearing on the murder charge in Campbelltown Local Court on October 9.