Sydney neurosurgeon imprisoned over drug deaths

AP News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2011 2:10 AM
Sydney neurosurgeon imprisoned over drug deaths

A drug-addicted neurosurgeon was sentenced Friday to almost eight years in prison after two prostitutes died of overdoses during sex and cocaine binges nine months apart in his exclusive Sydney apartment.

In sentencing, New South Wales state District Court Judge Robert Toner told 43-year-old Suresh Surendranath Nair that he had been "driven by self-indulgence."

Nair, who remains a Malaysian citizen despite living in Australia since he was 11, was initially charged with the murder of Suellen Domingues-Zaupa, 22, and manslaughter of Victoria McIntyre, 23, because of his failure to call ambulances for the prostitutes as they lay dying.

But prosecutors accepted a plea bargain in which Nair pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Domingues-Zaupa, a Brazilian national, at his apartment in the harborside suburb of Elizabeth Bay in November 2009. He also pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine to McIntyre, who died in the same apartment in February 2009.

Nair also pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine in January 2010, when he broke his bail conditions by being found with the drug in the company of two prostitutes.

Toner told Nair that he was grossly negligent for not calling an ambulance when Domingues-Zaupa was having convulsions due to her voluntary cocaine use during a sex session.

The judge said Nair had ingested a large amount of the drug, diminishing his capacity to render assistance to her.

But Toner said drug addiction did not explain Nair's behavior, leading to his conclusion that the neurosurgeon was "driven by self-indulgence."

Nair told a sentencing hearing last month that he knew his drug and sex addictions were out of control when the first prostitute died.

"I made a big mistake and the whole thing snowballed completely out of control," Nair told the judge then. "There was a part of me that recognized things were out of control ... but there was another part of me that chose to ignore that rational part of my mind."

"If I had handled things differently and been honest with myself, I feel very strongly that nothing would have happened with Suellen," he said, referring to the second prostitute who died.

The state medical board had recognized Nair's cocaine use since 2004 and applied a string of conditions on his medical registration, including urine tests three times a week.

Toner sentenced Nair to seven years and 10 months in prison. Nair, who was held in jail since his arrest in January 2010, will be eligible for parole in April 2015.

He was suspended by the state medical board after admitting to his crimes and is awaiting deregistration.