There is a killer on the loose in suburban Sydney.
A person capable of binding a young woman’s hands, beating her severely, and leaving her body carelessly covered with leaves in a public park.
You might have heard the name of that woman who was killed sometime between Sunday, September 30 and Tuesday, October 2. She was called Nicole Cartwright. Nicole was 32. She lived with her parents in Sydney’s Lansville, and she loved dogs.
Those names are rightly burned into Australian women’s minds and memories, synonymous with lost potential, crushing loss and our very worst fears. A city marched in protest about what happened to those women six years apart, crowds shocked from their homes by the random brutality of their deaths.
But, so far, no-one is marching for Nicole. The person who murdered her is still at large, the police investigation is ongoing and her friends and family are scared and angry. They are also upset about the way she’s being portrayed in the media, with news reports detailing her use of websites that connect people for sex and dating, and apparently, sado-masochistic acts.
“They’re focusing on that stuff,” Nicole’s friend ‘Joe’ told Fairfax reporter Lucy Cormack. “But there was a lot more to her and her life.”
No matter. Nicole does not fit the perfect image of a murder victim. Her death won’t mobilise a mob, or spark a call for a change in the law.
She was living between her parents’ place and various others. She travelled the city by train. She looks a little eccentric in her last photos, taken at a train station wearing a choker and carrying her clothes in a Coles shopping bag. It’s hard to say what she did for a living. She was on those websites.
Nicole's is not a neat enough narrative to shock a nation into grief. For that, we need what we deem to be a true innocent and a random attack by a complete stranger. A lightening strike.
And Nicole's not the only 'imperfect' victim.
Have you heard the name of Erana Nahu, who was stabbed to death in Sydney's Glenfield on October 11? Her partner, the father of her children, has been charged.