Before she was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, Marika Ninness told friends and family she feared for her life.
In a series of text messages, read out in court, the 35-year-old desperately reached out to friends, including her estranged husband, in the months leading up to her death.
“I need to get out of my house and away from my boyfriend before I get killed,” she wrote to a friend, in an urgent plea for money.
“If I leave him he’ll come after me, or someone I love. He knows where you live,” she told her husband, from whom she had separated in April 2013, but remained close with.
Ninness died as result of a head injury, allegedly sustained when her partner, Ross Albert Merrick knocked her to the ground in an East Maitland car park at the end of the same year.
Merrick, who served in the Iraq war, plead ‘not guilty’ to her murder, telling the court he had struck her with his elbow by accident after she confronted him, a “conditioned response” from his military training.
The prosecutor in the case said Merrick was “verbally and physically violent to her as well as controlling and possessive”, a description corroborated by accounts given by Ninness’ close friends, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.