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CAROLINE JONES, PRESENTER: Hello I'm Caroline Jones. Tonight we continue the story of Penelope
Dingle. She was a former model and actor married to a TV science guru. At the age of 43 she was
diagnosed with a common cancer, yet in perplexing circumstances she turned her back on conventional
medicine, with far reaching consequences for everyone close to her. Tonight her story concludes but
first this recap.

SCREEN TEXT: Last week.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: Penelope was an amazing person. She was an environmentalist and she had
really strong values, and she lived those values. Peter was an environmental toxicologist. She
idolised him, I mean he was her hero.

GEORGE NEGUS, PRESENTER (Excerpt from George Negus Tonight, ABC TV, 2004): Dr Peter Dingle has
produced what he calls, somewhat predictably, the Dingle Deal.

VERITY JAMES, FORMER BROADCASTER: He's good talent, as they say, because he can come up with the

TONI BROWN, SISTER: It was during 2001 that Penelope first started developing symptoms of rectal

PROFESSOR CAMERON PLATELL, COLORECTAL SURGEON: Penelope had quite advanced disease but still she
had a chance of being cured.

PETER DINGLE, HUSBAND : Penelope was adamant she was not going to have chemo and radio and I didn't
like the idea of chemo or radio either.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: Penelope told me that she was going on a homeopathic path to treat the disease
and she had made it very clear that it was entirely in Francine Scrayen's hands.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: You weren't allowed in unless you became a believer.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: We rushed in and Penelope was simply screaming, screaming in agony on the
floor. The staff were desperately trying to find a surgeon. Penelope had said, Francine won't be
able to continue treating me if I have this operation.

NATALIE BROWN, SISTER: And the registrar said, your bowel is wafer thin, it can go boof at any
time. And then he said, and that will be the end of Pen.

(End of recap)

PROFESSOR CAMERON PLATELL, COLORECTAL SURGEON: I was rung at home. I wasn't on call that night but
they rang me anyway. I was pretty shocked when I had a look at her, I mean she'd just lost so much
condition. She just looked dreadful. Just looked like somebody who was dying. She didn't say much,
you know, she just said, you know, I'm the difficult one who's come back again, and she had a smile
on her face and she was quite philosophical about the road she'd taken, but she wanted help then.
At that stage we just elected to go straight to theatre, the rectal cancer was removed along with
her ovaries, along with her uterus.

NATALIE BROWN, SISTER: In Pen's situation, I mean you know that there's a very high risk that she
was not going to survive. She was so underweight. She weighed in at 35 but, you know, two kilos of
faecal matter - that's like operating on someone who's, you know, survived Auschwitz.

PETER DINGLE, HUSBAND : As soon as Penelope was taken to hospital I just broke down and I yelled. I
was stupid. How could I do this? How could I go along with this craziness? And I just remember, you
know, batting, hitting myself - well, just, just... being in a state of absolute disbelief that I
went along with this charade and that I was a part of the charade. But you know what? Pen never
blamed me for anything.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: I think the following day when I went in Penelope told me Francine was going to
come in to visit her. I didn't want to start a scene next to Penelope's hospital bed but when
Francine got up to leave I said that our family had a lot of questions that we wanted answered
about Penelope's treatment and I asked her to meet with us, which she refused to do. A few days
later Penelope told me that she'd had a phone call from Francine asking her to sign a waiver which
would absolve her, Francine, from any responsibility. That phone call was an interesting turning
point in Penelope's belief in Francine. I think the whole facade that had been created around
Francine really started to crumble.

NATALIE BROWN, SISTER: I knew she was just furious with Francine. She was going to be a miracle and
she just couldn't believe that she'd fallen for it. She said, oh you know, we were so arrogant, so
arrogant to believe that I was any different to anyone else.

you when you said, now that you have chosen homeopathy, you know there is no turning back. It is
you against the world.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: Penelope wrote Francine a letter expressing her shock and dismay and
disappointment at what had happened but she never sent it.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: Pen came out of hospital after several weeks. She then embarked on a course of
chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She was looking, I thought, amazingly well. As 2004
progressed she just looked so much stronger, she started to look like the Penelope that we used to
know. She was looking really, really good. So towards probably the latter part of that year I got a
telephone call from Pen saying that she'd been down to have a chest X-ray and she said her lungs
were full of tiny metastases. I remember I was, I was just so devastated by that information
because I really felt that she had recovered so well, that there was a possibility that she might
survive. Peter was still making his special protein drinks for her right up until probably a couple
of weeks before her death. Peter was also still telling her stories of people with amazing positive
thinking had spontaneous remissions of their cancer. I got the impression that Peter still thought
that possibly that could happen if Pen was just positive enough. I've got to say, I just thought,
shut up! (Laughs)

PETER DINGLE, HUSBAND : We got married, we got married about... I don't know, about three or four
days before Penelope passed away. Penelope always wanted to get married.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: They had been talking about getting married for a long time, but somehow or
other they'd never sort of got around to actually having a wedding ceremony.

PETER DINGLE, HUSBAND : We had a beautiful wedding under the circumstances and everyone absolutely
in tears, not because Pen was suffering, but because finally we'd done this thing that we always
wanted to. And then over the next four or five days, she slowly passed away.

NATALIE BROWN, SISTER: It was in Pen's final weeks when I asked her again whether she wanted me to
do something about Francine legally and she said yes. And it was at that point that I felt that I'd
made a promise to her to do that. When Pen died, I'd only just started studying law and so I didn't
know anything about the Coroner's Court, it was a friend of Toni's that suggested the Coroner.

PETER DINGLE: Natalie had told me that they wanted the diaries and they wanted anything I had that
I could give them so it could be given to the Coroner's Court so I gave them everything.

(Excerpt from Penelope Dingle's diary)

Home today. I'm questioning everything. A bit of scepticism can save a life I've learned.

(End of excerpt)

TONI BROWN, SISTER: We wanted that period of time investigated, from the time that she was first
showing symptoms of rectal cancer up until the time of the emergency surgery.

(Excerpt from Penelope Dingle's diary)

Pete, a rational scientist who would never allow the least student to conduct an experiment in the
manner we did, playing with my life.

(End of excerpt)

TONI BROWN, SISTER: Some people were sort of cautiously supportive and others just looked at me
bemused, sort of rather bemused and said, well yeah but it was your sister's choice wasn't it? You
know, why are you asking for an investigation? After Penelope's death, I had a phone call one
evening from her close friend Jennifer. And Jennifer told me that she had a secret that she felt
she had to share. And she told me that, in fact there had been a pact between Penelope, Peter and
Francine Scrayen that Penelope would use homeopathy to cure her cancer, along with Peter's support
and that there would be a book come out of this when Penelope was cured that would champion their
efforts and their success in treating cancer with alternative methods. It was as if now suddenly
the picture had become clear. All of that confusion I had about Peter's involvement, how he could
go along and support this madness that was happening suddenly made sense. I was stunned but it was
like a light-bulb going on at the same time.

PETER DINGLE: Just over three months after Penelope had passed away I started a relationship. I
hadn't gone out looking for a relationship.

MARTINE DINGLE, WIFE: Some of the friends were just wonderful. Other people took longer. People
would, I feel, judge the fact that Pete and I, you know, had started a relationship.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: Pete, bless his cotton socks, he did tell me straight up. I just
remember Peter taking me aside to say, I really need to tell you something and I've met another
woman and you know she's really special, and you know, look, you know it's not that I've forgotten
Pen. So he went to some pains to let me know... but because it was so new, I mean we were still
grieving and yeah I just... I found it hard to handle that.

PETER DINGLE: My life was chugging along. I had a fantastic relationship and my career took off.
Penelope's biggest thing for me was to go out and do what I do. Educate people about illness
prevention. Get out there and tell people about diet, environment, attitude, lifestyle, also taking
control of your life. I knew the Coroner's Court was a possibility and I said that's fine. I didn't
have anything to hide or any problems.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: We put in our submission in early 2007. We got a response from the Coroner's
office in May saying that an inquiry had been granted and we felt as if we had now, at last, really
crossed the first major hurdle to getting some answers to what had happened.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: The initial impulse for the inquest came from our desire to look into
Francine and it had nothing to do with Peter. The Coroner did enough sort of background research to
say, well, this woman was doing this, what was her partner doing? It was a natural question and so
he became a person of interest.

PETER DINGLE: It was well before the coronial inquiry that someone from the Coroner's Court said
there was a testimonial from Jennifer Kornberger and it was pointing to me as going to write a
book. I never knew about the book that I was supposed to be writing with Pen about her treatment
until I read the testimonial. I had no concerns about it because I knew it wasn't true and I
thought come the inquest it wouldn't be a problem.

MARTINE DINGLE: Probably a week or so before the inquest we got a call from the Coroner's office
that we should go and have a look. It was no longer about the homeopath it was about Pete and his
role in here. It became very evident to me that at that point, a week before, that he was in

PETER DINGLE: I didn't even have a lawyer until 10 days before. So I'm either a very stupid
criminal or a trusting person.

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: The inquest into Penelope's death was scheduled for June 2010. The opening
address was quite strong. It raised a lot of issues about the role that Dr Dingle had played in his
wife's treatment, as well as raising some of the accusations about Francine Scrayen's role in her
treatment as well.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: We were all waiting to see Francine. I was a bit shocked. She was
different to what I thought she would look like.

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: During questioning, Francine Scrayen denied ever telling Penelope that she
was treating her cancer with homeopathy.

SCREEN TEXT: In her testimony Francine Scrayen said she never claimed she could cure cancer. She
said she believed Mrs Dingle was seeing conventional doctors and that that would always have been
her advice. Mrs Scrayen said Mrs Dingle refused to use pain relief because of concern about side
effects. Mrs Scrayen denied recommending against surgery. She said Mrs Dingle volunteered to
provide an indemnity.

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: The Coroner seemed exasperated with Francine Scrayen's answers, that she
wasn't able to properly explain what had happened during those months, and he certainly in his
findings, found that she wasn't a witness of truth, so he didn't believe what she had to say.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: Pen had her day in that the contents of the diaries were able to state
the truth of what happened and Francine was caught in that, very much so.

(Excerpt from Penelope Dingle's diary - October 30, 2003)

It was an exclusive cult of three, with the alternative practitioner controlling every move. Pete
set up as gatekeeper so I would not be unsettled, set back by stressed, negative or questioning

(End of excerpt)

TONI BROWN, SISTER: The Coroner actually found those diaries to be a true and unadulterated or
un-tampered with account of what had happened.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: Pen's diaries were very damning, especially that letter that Penelope
wrote to Francine.

(Excerpt from Penelope Dingle's letter to Francine Scrayen)

Dear Francine, you said a psychic said you would treat a patient and cure them of cancer. You told
me I was this patient and that this was my special role. You also said Peter would be instrumental
in discovering some kind of cancer cure. I believed you when you told me you could cure me. I
believed you when you told me I was a medical miracle.

(End of excerpt)

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: The Coroner found that Francine Scrayen was not a competent health
professional. He found that Francine Scrayen had in fact advised Penelope Dingle against having the
operation in October 2003 and that that was both outrageous and dangerous. Peter Dingle seemed very
nervous when he was giving evidence. It appeared that he had come in quite unprepared. The
questioning was quite strong from the Coroner. He was questioned about the role that he played.

PETER DINGLE: They tried to paint me as the person who tried to introduce pen to a diet, cleanses,
alternative medicine, homeopathy. Everyone, including the Coroner, was trying to say, you did this
to Pen, you led her astray. The Coroner also kept implicating that I was trying to imply I was a
medical doctor. I have never, ever, I'm not a medical doctor, I've never said I was. I'm proud that
I have a PhD. A PhD is a higher qualification, and it's research-based. The doctor's report on what
research is done by people like me. It was so one-sided.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: The sense I had was that Pete was protecting himself on the stand and
fair enough, you know, he had a big reputation that he was trying to protect. But I think it would
have been really, really hard for Pete to have acknowledged what really happened because it's a bit
like the whole edifice would have to come down.

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: The Coroner accepted that Dr Dingle was obviously very distressed in the
lead up to the operation but he rejected his extensive claims of memory loss. He went on to say
that it did appear that Dr Dingle had embarked on treating Penelope using components of his Dingle
Deal, which included goal setting, diet and positive thinking. Ultimately, he found that Peter
Dingle was a victim of his own misinformation.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: Peter accompanied Penelope to two doctors, two GPs. Both doctors have been
referred to the medical board for further investigation because both of them offered alternatives
to surgery when in fact there was no alternative to surgery. Really, Penelope's choice was have
surgery or die a painful death.

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: Penelope Dingle's friend, Jennifer Kornberger gave evidence of the
conversation that she claimed to have had with Penelope that they had made a pact that when they
ultimately cured her cancer, that they would then write a book about it and all become famous.

(Excerpt from ABC News, June 2010)

REPORTER: It was an emotional Peter Dingle who left the Coroner's Court with his present wife.

(End of excerpt)

PETER DINGLE: In the Coroner's Court, there are no rules of evidence. So when somebody said that
somebody said - it was evidence. I had no recourse whatsoever. It became front page of the media
the next day. Maximum coverage. Dr Dingle was going to write a book at the expense of the death of
his wife. That one thing had destroyed my reputation overnight, instantly. Within a couple of days
I had letters saying, wife killer, how dare you.

(Excerpt from Channel Nine news, June 2010)

REPORTER: Did you kill your wife?

PETER DINGLE: No, I didn't kill my wife. I loved my wife absolutely.

(End of excerpt)

TONI BROWN, SISTER: The Coroner saw Jennifer as being a reliable and a truthful witness but there
were no actual writings in Penelope's diary that referred to a book as such.

CLAIRE KROL, JOURNALIST: The Coroner found no evidence of a pact. He speculated that there may have
been a conversation to that effect, but no concluded plan.

SCREEN TEXT: The Coroner found that Peter Dingle contributed to Penelope's loss of a chance of
survival but that ultimately the decisions were "those of the deceased". He urged the Federal and
State Governments to finalise their review of the laws covering alternative therapies. But he had
"serious reservations" that the legitimisation of alternative therapies "could provide mixed
messages for vulnerable and often desperate cancer sufferers".

TONI BROWN, SISTER: It would have been great, I think, if he had found that there was sufficient
evidence for Francine Scrayen to be prosecuted. However it has thrown light onto what sort of
regulation there should be for complementary therapies and how do people find redress. Francine's
still registered and practicing, at this point.

NATALIE BROWN, SISTER: Toni's written to AROH, which is the Australian Register of Homeopaths, but
they don't have any real power to discipline practitioners. It's not like being deregistered as a

TONI BROWN, SISTER: So that letter was sent on the 16th of August. We are in fact still waiting for
a result from them.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: I feel it's just really sad that this one practitioner, what she has
done has discredited a lot of people who would never have practiced in that way.

PETER DINGLE: What amazes me is why did this have to be dragged through a Coroner's Court? The
sisters never came and talked about it with me. I would have told them how much regret, how much I
blame myself, how stupid I was. How, how could I? The aftermath of the coronial inquest was
devastating. It has literally destroyed my career. From two talks a week, three talks I was doing
to community groups, to zero. To paid talks I was doing every week to zero. My book sales - zero.
Working with the public or the media dropped to zero. Four or five months after the coronial
inquest, I was one of a large number of people offered a redundancy package at Murdoch University
and I decided to leave.

VERITY JAMES, FORMER BROADCASTER: Once mud has been flung, some of it always sticks and I think
that's going to be hard for him. I hope that he will be able to build up his reputation again. I
think his aim has always been to assist people. I think his aim's always been good. I'm hoping that
people remember that for him.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: I don't wish him ill, that's for sure. You know, I wish him the best.
You know, it was pretty horrible for him too, so I think I've got to go with that sort of sense of
compassion I have around everyone who was part of that horrible journey.

KEITH MCBURNIE, FRIEND: If Penelope knew now what had happened I think she'd be horrified.

SUE MCBURNIE, FRIEND: She would have been devastated because she just really loved him. There was
no doubt that she didn't love him. Right to the end she loved him.

TONI BROWN, SISTER: There is still such a depth of sadness over what happened to Penelope because
it was simply so unnecessary.

ANNEMARIE MALCOLM, SISTER: You know everyone says when someone in the family dies how special they
were but she was a particularly special woman. She was really compassionate, she was caring, she
was joy-filled and it's a big loss. It's a big loss to us and a big loss to society, I reckon, that
someone like Penelope didn't live on and fulfil her potential. What I really look forward to is
getting her book together, getting her poetry together, getting her stories together and putting
that out and saying, look, here she is, you know, this is this beautiful woman, look what she's
written. That will be then closure for me, to have that book out there. That's the next thing and
the most exciting thing.


Francine Scrayen declined to comment for the program. Her legal representative said she did not
want to add to the testimony already provided to the Coroner.

The Australian Register of Homeopaths says its investigations into the treatment of Penelope Dingle
"are continuing".

A combined State and Federal Government report on options for the regulation of unregistered health
practitioners, including homeopaths, is due to be finalised next month.

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