Third death linked to The Turning Point self-help course

The Australian/August 20, 2009

A Korean student died from multiple stab wounds three days after attending a Turning Point self-help course - the third death linked to the controversial program.

The inquest into the death of Sydney woman Rebekah Lawrence heard that a year after the 34-year-old plunged naked to her death, the Korean man was found naked in his Wollongong home, south of Sydney, with possibly "self-inflicted" stab wounds, The Australian reports.

Counsel assisting the inquiry in Sydney, Robert Bromwich, said there were "parallels" between the deaths.

The man, who was not identified yesterday, was found naked, with multiple stab wounds, three days after completing a four-day Turning Point course.

Ms Lawrence died two days after completing the course.

Yesterday, The Australian revealed Darren Hughes, 24, had plunged to his death from a 12m-high window 18 years before Lawrence's death while on a course run by the creator of the Turning Point program.

The court heard the Korean man had discussed his sexual history with the group on the course and was said to have "had strict views about how people should act".

He also told the group he had "recently learned that his mother didn't want him as a baby".

Tom Jones, the barrister for Geoffrey Kabealo, the owner of People Knowhow, the company behind Turning Point, objected to the last-minute evidence, claiming it was irrelevant to Lawrence's inquest, and attempted to have it heard in secret.

This was overruled by coroner Malcolm MacPherson after Mr Bromwich said it was relevant because Mr Kabealo had last week volunteered the information that "some 40,000 people have come through the course and we haven't had any episodes like Rebekah Lawrence".

Speaking of the Korean case in court yesterday, Mr Kabealo said: "As far as I knew, up until 10am this morning, this was an ongoing murder case."

But the document used in court by Mr Bromwich showed "the conclusion of the police was that it was a self-inflicted death".

Mr Bromwich said there was an "albeit unwitting nexus" between the cases, considering the "proximity of the course, the fact of nakedness and the fact both of them were obviously dealing with difficult psychological issues".

"If he took his own life, I can see the nexus," Mr Kabealo said.

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