real life

'On the 19th July, 2016 our father killed our mum and our 19-year-old sister.'

When domestic violence rears its vile head, headlines come and so too does mourning.

But what about after that? What about the remnants of violence, the names of victims who don’t make the news?

On July 19, 2016, 57-year-old Lance Hart ambushed and murdered his wife Claire and the couple’s 19-year-old daughter Charlotte outside a swimming pool in the UK. He then turned the gun on himself.

In his suicide note – which was 12 pages long – he wrote “revenge is a dish served cold” and that “karma is a b—h” after his wife had left him only days earlier. He left behind two sons, Luke and Ryan Hart.

Charlotte and Claire Hart.

A year on from the senseless murders, eldest son Luke has penned a beautifully eloquent tribute to his younger brother, making public how their bond kept them afloat through some of their most grief-stricken months.

Writing on Facebook, Luke wrote that in the lead-up to his younger brother's 26th birthday he wanted to do two things: write about how much their relationship means to him, and raise a bit of money to make that point clear.

"On the 19th July, 2016 our father shot and killed our mum Claire and our 19-year-old sister Charlotte. It was the result of decades of abuse and controlling and intimidating behaviour. He was a tyrant who wouldn’t let his family live outside of his domination. Our father was a terrorist living within our own home," Luke wrote, adding the tension was so bad, he could "no longer face going home" after living abroad.

Ryan, he said, would be the one to go home and check in on the family.

"At the time, he was working in Holland and made the journey home every weekend to check that mum and Charlotte were OK and to resist our father’s behaviour. He would always look after mum and Charlotte and spent his money on them rather than himself."

But most notably, Luke wrote that it's Ryan's ability to not be consumed by the violence his dad perpetrated that's most admirable.

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"He was still able to love and believe in a world that our father had filled with hate. Ryan’s resilience and hope was perceived by our father as a rebuttal to his dominance.

Ryan and Charlotte Hart. (Image: Your Caring)

"The last year has drawn into focus how lucky we all were to have Ryan," he wrote.

And so, on his birthday, he wanted to communicate that to his brother, writing he would "never" be able to say it to his face. And if he tried? "I'm sure he'd punch me," Luke said.

"For all that we’ve been through; there isn’t much I can give Ryan to show my appreciation. It’s his determination that has kept me going, minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day for 26 years and for that I honestly owe him my life.

"I couldn’t have fought the battles by myself and towards the end the battles had beaten me, but not him. He is indestructible; a force for good that cannot be stopped. He is the person I’ve needed to stand up for me when I am too weak. For everything our father has done to attempt to destroy Ryan, he has failed."

You can donate to Luke Hart's fundraiser here.

If you or anyone you love are experiencing violence, Mamamia urges you to call 1800 RESPECT.

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