BEFORE he tied up and brutally stabbed Gabriella Thompson, the mother of his child, 16 times at Glendale near Newcastle, NSW, and then went on a wild, drug-fueled crime spree that culminated in police shooting him dead less than 24 hours later, Tafari Walton had led a tumultuous life, highlighted by drug use, mental health issues, domestic violence, incarceration and a toxic relationship that, at least in hindsight, appeared destined to end tragically, a coronial inquest has heard.
Mr Walton, 22, had repeatedly threatened to kill Ms Thompson, the 27-year-old mother of his then three-year-old daughter, accused her of cheating on him, controlled and manipulated her and, during the brief periods he spent out of jail, had routinely assaulted her and even drugged her, forcing her to use methamphetamine, in the days before they were both killed.
And Ms Thompson was "anxious" and "fearful" about Mr Walton being released from jail in the weeks before her death, moving house and changing her phone number so Mr Walton couldn't check her history like he had done in the past.
And still, despite the troubling history of a relationship described as "toxic" by most who knew them, Ms Thompson was also keen to continue her relationship with Mr Walton and for her daughter to have her father in her life.
It was a complicated and turbulent relationship, highlighted now by repeated acts of domestic violence that went unreported to the authorities.
Mr Walton had an almost unparalleled tragic upbringing, the inquest heard. Described as a "very damaged child" by a psychologist at the age of 2, he developed significant mental health issues and drug addiction in his teens and spent four years incarcerated between the age of 16 and his death.
Ms Thompson and Mr Walton began a relationship in 2014 when he was 17 and she was 22.
By that stage, Mr Walton had already spent time in juvenile detention centres and was struggling with his mental health and an addiction to methamphetamine.
He was jailed for a hotel robbery at the age of 19 and a month after being released was jailed again for firearm offences and a siege.
During his time in jail and in the community, Mr Walton repeatedly threatened or attempted suicide, on one occasion running into traffic.
He was described by a psychologist as "emotionally unstable and impulsive" as well as displaying "intense anger" and suffering from "suicide ideation and paranoia".
He was also extremely abusive and jealous towards Ms Thompson, threatening and assaulting her on numerous occasions.
Very few incidents were reported and when police did become involved each time Ms Thompson said she did not want the matter reported.
She also declined to have an apprehended violence order taken out on her behalf because she thought it would enrage Mr Walton and make the situation worse.
The pair continued their relationship while Mr Walton was in jail, but recorded jail calls showed that Ms Thompson could be demeaning to Mr Walton and he responded with threats of violence.
"I swear to f---ing god I'm going to kill you when I get out," Mr Walton told Ms Thompson in one call, according to counsel assisting the inquest Jake Harris.
"He threatened to cut her tongue out of her mouth," Mr Harris said of the call.
While serving the sentence for the firearms and siege, Mr Walton and two other inmates were accused of stabbing another inmate at mid-north coast correctional centre.
Mr Walton was charged with three offences, including wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He was refused bail and when his parole period expired he was not released.
However, in January 2019, some seven weeks before he would ultimately murder Ms Thompson and then be shot dead by police, Mr Walton was granted strict conditional bail in Kempsey Local Court.
Magistrate Brett Thomas found that due to the strength of the case against Mr Walton - the alleged victim had claimed he was not involved in the stabbing - and the delays in getting a trial, Mr Walton could be granted bail, provided he report to police daily, live with his mother and abide by a curfew, among other conditions.
Mr Walton reported to police and engaged with his parole officer, but repeatedly missed counselling appointments and admitted to still using drugs.
Still these breaches were not reported and he was not returned to jail. And as his mental health suffered and his drug use worsened he resolved to end his relationship with Ms Thompson only to tie her up and repeatedly stab her in her house at Glendale on the morning of March 13, 2019.
Mr Walton's step-father arrived at the home during the frenzied stabbing and attempted to intervene, wrestling with Mr Walton before fleeing the home because he thought Mr Walton had a weapon.
He returned a short time later and saw Mr Walton leaving the house. Mr Walton told him: "She thinks she is dying".
Ms Thompson died at John Hunter Hospital about an hour later.
Mr Walton fled in Ms Thompson's car and hid at a house at Cardiff during the day before driving around Newcastle, borrowing cars from friends and carjacking people.
He returned to his mother's house at Glendale on the morning of March 14 where the police were waiting.
He beckoned them in with his finger and, fearing that Mr Walton's family were inside and in danger, police followed him into the backyard where he charged at a detective with a knife.
"Come on f---ing shoot me," Mr Walton said, according to police.
Two police officers then shot Mr Walton dead, the end to a short, tumultuous life highlighted by trauma and tragedy.
Over the next week in Newcastle Coroner's Court, the dual coronial inquests into the deaths of Ms Thompson and Mr Walton is expected to examine a number of issues, including the adequacy of mental health treatment provided to Mr Walton, whether police took appropriate action when notified of a concern for welfare for Ms Thompson, the decision to grant Mr Walton bail and court-ordered parole despite him being charged with stabbing another inmate at mid-north coast correctional centre and whether police took appropriate action in shooting Mr Walton as he charged at them with a knife in the backyard of a home at Glendale.
The inquest, before State Coroner Magistrate Teresa O'Sullivan, continues.
1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
LIFELINE AUSTRALIA: 13 11 14