WARNING: This post has details of a violent crime and may be distressing for some readers.
By NICOLE HABERLY
Has there ever been a moment in your life that has completely changed you forever?
For me it was 8.09am one April morning in 2008 when my daughters, then 10 and 4, were getting ready for school. My eldest daughter was listening to the radio and she yelled for me to come into her room. She was standing there brushing her hair, looking at herself in the mirror. She had heard that an elderly couple had been found beaten to death in their Yokine home and wanted me to know that it was the same street that her Grandparents (my husband’s parents) lived on.
“Mummy, that’s Nanny and Poppy’s street, you better call them and make sure they are okay.”
In a heartbeat our lives changed and my husband, myself and our two young daughters found ourselves on a journey unlike anything we could have ever imagined.
The detectives made me get my husband home from work. I wasn’t allowed to tell him anything. They stood in my kitchen while I pleaded with him to please just come home. At some point I took my kids next door to the neighbours, the police needed to question my husband and I separately before we were able to talk to each other. I remember saying to the female detective over and over again while she questioned me for what seemed like hours, “but we just live in Beechboro,” this doesn’t happen to people like us and telling her she needed to call my brother-in-law, to let him know what had happened. Not until hours later did I find out that my brother-in-law was in police custody as the prime suspect.
We had had the worst few months leading up to this event. In the 8 weeks prior to this day we had buried my husband’s brother who had died of a heroin overdose, his grandmother who had had cancer, and we had joked with my husband’s Dad that we were NEVER setting foot in Prosser Scott Subiaco again.
Suddenly my husband no longer had any surviving family — and unknown to us we had just become solely responsible for planning a double funeral under the worst imaginable circumstances. You would expect that if you found yourself dealing with the sudden, unlawful and violent death of loved ones, there would be practical, emotional, financial and community support — that as a society we would take care of those left behind. Our experience could be nothing further from this.
The media were in a frenzy. There was no respect for our privacy. The explicit details of that day and later the trial and appeal, were on the television, radio and newspaper for all to see, with no consideration given that there were two little girls who no longer had their beloved Nanny and Poppy, and a son that had lost his parents in the most horrific way.
I can’t quite remember at what point I met Dr Ann O’Neill and became aware of Angelhands. I was overwhelmed by the grief and turmoil that had engulfed my once normal life. I was not managing to complete the most menial tasks like get my kids to school or keep my house clean. I was supporting my husband in any way I could – I was trying to protect my girls. I was completely exhausted.