Allison Baden-Clay was murdered by her husband Gerard at their Queensland home in 2012.
In the months and years since Gerard’s arrest and 2014 murder conviction, Allison’s parents Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, and her sister Vanessa Fowler, have reflected on the signs her husband was abusive that they noticed, and regret not acting on.
Now, they’re sharing these signs as part of a Griffith University program designed to educate people on how best to talk to a loved one they suspect is in an abusive relationship.
The first warning sign: Allison’s decision to leave her job
By the end of her 15-year marriage, Allison had been isolated from her family and prevented from accessing her own money. But her family said the first sign they recollect is their career-driven loved one’s decision to become a stay-at-home mother.
“For me, (the first sign) was that she agreed to give up a highly successful career to have children when I knew and she knew that she could handle both,” Vanessa told The Courier-Mail at a Brisbane press conference on Sunday.
The family said they believe their daughter's decision to go back to work towards the end of her life may have contributed to her death as Gerard felt he was losing control.
When the Baden-Clay's eldest child, Hannah, was born, Vanessa said Gerard's "dominance" and "controlling" behaviour became more obvious to them. The aunt said she could see it in the way he tried to control Hannah, and that it was clear Allison had no say in their parenting decisions.
"One of Allison’s heartbreaks was that she couldn’t parent the way that she wanted to parent," she said.
The next sign, the family said, was Allison's isolation from them. Gerard banned her from speaking to her family, deleting their numbers from her mobile and blocking them from calling the landline. Allison told them it was that their landline was broken.
They said Gerard's control over her finances - giving her money only for groceries - became apparent when the Dickies saw her hand a credit card back to Gerard at a family gathering in Easter shortly before her death on 19 April. Around that time they also couldn't help but notice her badly worn shoes that she didn't seem to want to replace.