Dead mother’s cut wrists ‘not significant’, son tells inquest

Jerry Schwartz: signed his mother’s death certificate. Photo: Supplied Eve Schwartz, left, with her best friend Magda Wales. Photo: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

The Sydney cosmetic surgeon who signed his mother’s death certificate has told an inquest he omitted reporting that she had cuts on her wrists because he “did not think they were significant”.

But the inquiry has heard that photos were taken on the day Dr Jerry Schwartz allegedly discovered the body of his mother, Eve Schwartz, showing him displaying her injured wrists to the camera.

Dr Schwartz was giving evidence to the ongoing coronial inquest into the August 2005 death of his mother, the co-founder of the Schwartz Hotel Group, which owns more than a dozen luxury hotels and resorts across the country.

The inquest is also examining the death of Magda Wales, Ms Schwartz’s best friend, who died approximately three weeks later.

The inquest has previously heard that 79-year-old Ms Schwartz was suffering from advanced lung cancer, but that her death occurred in “unusual circumstances”, with “slash” injuries to her wrists not reported by Dr Schwartz when he filled out her death certificate, and a certificate for her cremation.

But Dr Schwartz told the Glebe Coroner’s Court on Thursday that when he discovered his mother’s dead body early on the morning of August 21, 2005, the injuries he saw were mere “scratches”, and he did not think they had contributed in any way to her death.

“I did not think they were significant on that Sunday morning,” he said.

The inquest then heard that there were a series of photos of Dr Schwartz holding his mother’s hands with her injured wrists and forearm seemingly displayed to the camera.

There were small stains on the bed sheet in the background which resembled blood.

But Dr Schwartz said he had not requested that photos be taken of his mother’s injuries.

He said that his de facto partner at the time, Liliane Viselle, had instructed him to hold his mother’s hands in this way, but he didn’t ask why.

“I did not arrange for the photos to be taken of my mother’s wrists,” Dr Schwartz said. “I just thought I was having a picture holding my mother’s hands.”

He said that the photos had been among a number of images taken after the discovery of his mother’s body “so that we could have a lasting memory of my mother”.

Among these images, the inquest heard, were pictures of Dr Schwartz and his relatives with Ms Schwartz’s dead body.

In a written statement tendered in the hearing, Dr Schwartz said that photos of his dead mother’s wrists, which showed a series of slash marks, did not accurately depict the injuries.

“If there had been serious [wrist] injuries I would not only have recalled this, but I would have conducted a thorough exam to determine whether or not such injuries were related to her death.”

Dr Schwartz’s barrister has previously asserted that the pictures – which are crucial evidence in the hearing – were digitally altered in a bid to incriminate his client.

The inquest has previously heard that Dr Schwartz, who works as a cosmetic surgeon in addition to leading the hotel group, also signed the death certificate for Ms Wales.

He told the inquest on Thursday that he had been “one of Ms Wales’ treating doctors”. However, he did not believe there were any records of their consultations because his surgery destroyed all records after seven years.

The inquest continues.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.