Doctors will be probed over drugs prescribed to the driver that killed Home and Away’s Jessica Falkholt and her family in a horrific crash.
Craig Whitall, 50, veered onto the wrong side of the Princes Highway and smashed into the Falkholt’s car at Ulladulla, on the NSW south coast, on December 26, 2017.
The driver, as well as Ms Falkholt’s parents Lars, 69, and Vivian, 60, died instantly when the cars went up in flames in the Boxing Day tragedy.
The 29-year-old actress died on January 17, 2018 after failing to recover from surgery and her sister Annabelle, 21, died in hospital three days after the crash.
All of their deaths will be investigated in a joint coronial inquest hearing set to be held in June 2021, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Counsel assisting the inquest, Donna Ward, told the NSW Coroner’s Court on Tuesday that Whithall had been driving home from Shoalhaven Hospital.
She said Whithall, a known heroin user, had a number of drugs in his system.
‘The issues list looks at a more complex picture, including toxicology results for Mr Whitall and the likely effects of various prescription drugs, including methadone, but also doxepin and diazepam,’ Ms Ward told the court.
‘And there were also some other some drugs detected in lesser quantities which may or may not have contributed to the crash.
Diazepam, better known as valium, is commonly used to treat anxiety while doxepin is often used for depression.
Ms Ward told State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan a copy of Whithall’s prescription records had been requested from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
Counsel also requested statements from various doctors who had treated Whithall over the years on the south coast.
‘The questions we ask and the answers we get will come into the brief and hopefully give Your Honour factual findings based on that evidence,’ Ms Ward said.
Ms Ward said reports Whitall was returning home from a methadone clinic were incorrect and no methadone was found in his system during a post-mortem.
Mr Whithall had dozens of driving convictions and Ms Ward said Transport for NSW had been contacted to provide details of his driving record.
Whitall was once banned from driving for nine years, as well as claimed a disability pension and used 28 aliases to avoid police.
The court heard both the Whithall and Falkholt family were following the events of the inquest.
Ms Falkholt played Hope Morrison in Home and Away.