On the morning of May 10, 1958, Daphne Pearl Hampstead slid into a taxi outside her western Sydney home, her suitcase stuffed with clothes and photographs of the life she was leaving behind.
Two days later, her husband Sidney received a letter in her handwriting.
"My darling Sid,
"Oh darling what it is costing me to write this letter, you will never know. I left work today, I just can’t go on. I thought there was no love left at home for me at all. But I have realised how wrong I was over the last week. I think it has been a week I shall never forget, I am going away for a while (by myself) don’t worry about me, I will be okay..."
Sidney and their eight children never saw Daphne again.
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Daphne Hampstead's disappearance is one of Australia's longest-standing missing persons cases.
In 2012, an inquest found the NSW woman had died, but no conclusion was made about where, when or how.
But this week, a second coronial probe finally delivered the answers, largely courtesy of evidence uncovered by a private investigator hired by one of Daphne's granddaughters.
The PI's report, which was reviewed by police, unravelled Daphne's complicated life; one of domestic abuse, false names and birth dates, two new loves, and a past erased.
Daphne had started over.
When Daphne Pearl fled.
Delivering her findings on Wednesday, NSW Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott painted a picture of Daphne and Sidney's marriage that was tinged by financial hardship and assault.
She described Sidney as "possessive and jealous and violent" towards his wife, with the abuse escalating once Daphne took a job as a cook in an inner Sydney restaurant. When her work hours extended later into the evening, Sidney's possessiveness only grew. Truscott concluded it's likely he believed she was having an affair.
Two months before her 40th birthday, Daphne fled their home at a dairy in Bossley Park.
As well as penning the letter to Sidney, Daphne also wrote to her daughter Daphne Lillian, urging her to care for her father and siblings.
Five years later, when one of Daphne's sons was ill in hospital, another letter arrived. The writer expressed concern for the 19-year-old but declared they could not visit. There was no name at the bottom; instead, the sign-off simply read, "from someone who loves you very much".