The insidious domestic violence act we need to start talking about.

Warning: This story includes descriptions of violence.

Following a harrowing start to 2024 for alleged domestic violence murders, Australians were once again left devastated after missing couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies were also allegedly murdered. Baird's former partner, Beau Lamarre-Condon, a police officer, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Lamarre-Condon, 28, allegedly shot the couple in Baird's Paddington home, before handing himself into police several days later, following an investigation into the couple's disappearance.

Human remains have now been found in the search for Baird and Davies' bodies. They were reportedly found near Bungonia, a small town in the Southern Tablelands Goulburn region in New South Wales.

The investigation prompted reports from Baird's friends that the 26-year-old had described being allegedly stalked by his ex, which led to police identifying Lamarre-Condon as a person of interest in the Channel 10 television presenter's disappearance.

Watch: Jas Rawlinson on the Hannah Clarke Community. Post continues below.

Video via Facebook @ Jas Rawlinson - Book Coach & Resilience Speaker.

While police said there had been no official complaints made to authorities, Detective Superintendent, Daniel Doherty, said "worrying behaviour" from Lamarre-Condon had come to light since the couple vanished, according to AAP.


"Since this inquiry has come along and those investigations were made with family and friends, and it has been well documented that there were some worrying behaviours that have been alleged by family and friends but that was never reported to police," Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

While Lamarre-Condon has been charged with two counts of murder, Baird and Davies remain missing.

Stalking — a precursor to murder.

While it appears Baird didn't report the alleged stalking to police, history shows that doing so doesn't guarantee protection. The fact that Baird confided in friends and family about his ex-partner's alleged stalking behaviours shows he was concerned though.

I've been researching and writing about domestic violence for several years and sit on the board of the domestic violence charity Friends with Dignity. One thing we know is this — stalking is a common tactic used by domestic abusers, and the risk of stalking increases exponentially after victim-survivors have left their abuser. We also know stalking is a high-risk domestic violence 'lethality indicator'. That means, while not all stalking leads to murder, stalking is frequently present in the lead up to domestic violence related murders. The very existence of stalking shows a person is highly obsessive and controlling, and will not accept that a relationship has ended.

The 2022 inquest into the murders of Hannah Clarke and her three children found her ex-husband, Rowan Baxter, was engaging in terrifying stalking behaviours in the weeks before he set his family on fire, burning them to death. Baxter constantly monitored her phone, randomly turned up at her workplace and planted secret listening devices throughout her home.


Clarke went to the police multiple times to report the behaviour. She told them she was being stalked and needed their help. While a restraining order was eventually made, it was ultimately reduced, and then ignored. Clarke told police her abusive ex would turn up at the same places she was at and continued to monitor her phone.

Mother and grandmother, Doreen Langham, was just 49-years-old when she too was viciously burnt to death. Like Baxter, Gary Heley had incessantly stalked his former partner before murdering her. The inquest into Langham's murder shows she sought help from police for prolonged stalking and threats multiple times, speaking to at least 16 different officers. In a desperate effort to save her own life, Langham changed her phone number, her car registration and her locks. She had extra security measures added to her home and sought help from a domestic violence service. She 'followed all the rules', but that wasn't enough to change the horrifying outcome.

In 2021, 21-year-old Jasmeen Kaur was murdered one month after reporting to police that her ex-partner, Tarikjot Singh, was stalking her. Singh abducted Kaur from her Adelaide workplace, before bounding her with tape and cable ties, and burying her alive while she was blindfolded and conscious. Singh pleaded guilty and was sentenced to just under 23 years in prison. Singh was cautioned for stalking, just weeks before Kaur's murder.


In 2019, I investigated the red flags that foreshadowed the murder of Katie Haley, who was killed by her partner, Shane Robertson. Robertson struck Haley five times to the head and face with a dumbbell in a frenzied and brutal attack as she cowered on her son's bed. Haley's sister, Bianca, told me that throughout their relationship, Robertson became increasingly obsessive and possessive. Robertson would secretly attend Haley's workplace and watch how she interacted with her male colleagues. He would pose as other men on social media to how Haley responded.

When Teresa Bradford left her abusive husband, David Bradford, she thought she'd finally escaped his violence. But instead of setting her free, Teresa's decision to leave triggered a spike in his obsessive behaviour, which quickly escalated to harassment and stalking. When I first wrote about Teresa, her sister-in-law, Narelle O'Brien, said the family often joked about David's obsessive behaviour, saying in jest, "One day he will kill her." Eventually, he did.

These victims, plus countless more, were actively stalked before being murdered by current or former partners. Many had reported their experiences to the police. Many hadn't. But all of them were scared. And all of them are dead.

And yet, attitudes to stalking remain blase.

A Monash University study found three underlying attitudes to stalking among the community — stalking isn't serious, stalking is romantic, and victims are to blame. Both men and women held similar views, although men were slightly more likely to minimise stalking behaviours.


The impact of these misconceptions triggers a vicious cycle. Victims become so convinced society would dismiss their experience as trivial that they begin to downplay it too, even though internally, their fear is very real. Victim-survivors report a need to be believed and have their experience and feelings validated. Without this, they remain silent, reluctant to report their experiences to anyone, let alone the police.

Those who do report to the police often feel they aren't being taken seriously, particularly without physical violence or direct threats, and especially when the gestures in isolation may seem innocuous, such as leaving gifts or blaming run-ins on coincidence. Research suggests some victims simply don’t believe filing a report will provide a positive outcome or even result in an investigation. All these factors are directly influenced by community attitudes to stalking, which trigger a destructive ripple effect.

But making a police report is just the first of many hurdles for stalking victim-survivors. The fact is, police are also part of the community, and susceptible to dangerously flippant attitudes to stalking. But it's more than attitudes, say experts. A lack of understanding of both the crime and how to manage it is the more pressing issue, but there are other factors too — lack of training, limited resources, difficulty obtaining evidence, time constraints, prosecution challenges and attitudes.

It's undoubtedly complex, and stalking reports are often pushed to the side, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. It's difficult to obtain exact figures, but the results of the Sentencing Stalking in Victoria report, produced by the Sentencing Advisory Council, help paint a picture. During the 10-year reference period between 2011 and 2020, 25,130 stalking offences were recorded by Victorian police. Of these, just 6825 charges were laid and 5438 people were sentenced by the court.


Stalking needs to be recognised both for its prevalence and for its devastating impact. We need to have a national conversation about stalking. But we can't stop there — we need to educate and train law enforcement to properly respond to this growing global phenomenon.

It's a matter of life and death.

With AAP.

To donate to Luke's GoFundMe click here and to donate to Jesse's GoFundMe click here.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) — the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a Queensland-based organisation that helps women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence. If you would like to support their mission to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most, you can donate here.

Feature Image: Instagram/@jessebairddd.