Allison Baden-Clay’s mother and father were in court today, watching as their daughter’s killer received his verdict. So was Allison’s sister.
It’s the cruelest part of the justice process, that a victim’s family must sit in the same room as the person who took their loved one’s life. Geoff and Priscilla Dickie and Vanessa Fowler sat together as Gerard Baden Clay was found guilty of murdering their Allison.
Immediately after the guilty verdict was delivered, they each gave a statement that would affect how long Gerard was sent to jail. They took the opportunity to remember beautifully.
Here are some of the poignant things Allison’s grieving family said about her this afternoon. Their strength, to celebrate their daughter and sister in this way, was astounding.
1. Geoff Dickie, Allison’s father.
“Allison strived for perfection in everything she did.
In the middle of the night, I can’t sleep because … she was the wonder of my life and now she’s been taken away. I know she would have had the strength to fight to the very end as she was murdered”.
After cheering with his family following Baden-Clay’s guilty verdict, he said to his daughter’s husband:
“You asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage and I consented but I didn’t give you permission for this. I’m devastated and outraged in the way you damaged Allison … in a way in which she is not here to defend herself”.
Dickie finished his statement by saying, “he trusts justice will be served for his daughter”.
But his final words were for his daughter: “Alison, I love you and I miss you”.
2. Priscilla Dickie, Allison’s mother.
“We have all been robbed of Allison’s love. The discovery of our darling daughter was absolutely devastating. The tragedy of it all is she had so much to offer.”
3. Vanessa Fowler, Allison’s sister.
Vanessa spoke of how her and her sister were a real team and then she spoke of Allison’s children.
“The girls look for their mother, cry for their mother and miss their mother … she isn’t coming back … they didn’t get to say good bye – how devastating that’s going to be (for them)”.
“It’s because of you these children have no mother.
“You continued to dine and sleep in a warm bed while the search was going on and you were taking no part.
“Everything we do now, will be for Allison’s three (children). She was a strong and determined young woman”.
She closed her statement by saying, “My sister, for the first time since she married Gerard Baden-Clay, has come out on top”.
Justice Byrne said to Gerard Baden-Clay:
“Allison approached you about the affair … and she was tormented about the affair and pressed you for details on the night she died … and the pressure was too much for you.
You drove around the streets and pretended to look for her. You invented the idea of a drug overdose.
You have no criminal history but you are definitely not a good character.
You took a mother from her family”.
Gerard Baden-Clay was today sentenced to life behind bars with a non-parole period of 15 years.