Son charged over fatal attack on his parents

THE murders of health advocate Gavin Mooney and his wife in Tasmania are reverberating internationally as shocked colleagues share the news.

Professor Mooney, 69, and Delys Weston, 62, were found dead with severe head injuries in the lounge room of their rural home at Mountain River, south of Hobart.

Police were called by her visiting son, Nicholau Francisco Soares, 27, who was charged with their killings.

''We located a hammer and a sledgehammer in the house.'' Police Inspector Ian Lindsay said on Friday. ''We believe they were the weapons used.''

Professor Mooney was a pioneer in the health economics field and an advocate for health equality, particularly for Aborigines. The National Rural Health Alliance called it the ''loss of a champion''.

The Aboriginal health movement's Justin Mohamed said Professor Mooney would be universally remembered for his passionate advocacy.

The Greens senator Richard Di Natale said Professor Mooney was known around the world as the father of health economics, but was also a powerful voice on the social determinants of health, indigenous health and the impact of doctor shortages.

In Britain, shocked colleagues recoiled at the news. ''Huge loss to the world,'' said Sridhar Venkatapuram, a lecturer at the London School Of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The University of York's Alan Maynard said Professor Mooney's life was dedicated to improving the lot of disadvantaged in Scotland, Australia and South Africa.

The couple moved to Tasmania in 2011 from Perth, where Professor Mooney had been professor of health economics at Curtin University, and Dr Weston completed a PhD on the political economy of global warming.

''Gavin's colleagues at Curtin University will remember him as a brilliant academic who wanted to make a difference,'' said the vice-chancellor, Jeanette Hacket.

At Mountain River the couple worked a hobby farm and joined Tasmanian social justice and health networks.

Inspector Lindsay said he could not comment on the motive for the killing.

It was the second double murder around Hobart within days. Last Sunday a mother of three, Meagan Wilton, 31, and her 34-year-old partner, Benjamin Eyles, were shot at Hamilton, west of Hobart.

This story Son charged over fatal attack on his parents first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.