Having lost his wife and son in a firebombing just under two years ago, Sydney man John O’Brien has found love again in the most unlikely of places – with the police woman who helped him through the traumatic event.
Speaking about their romance for the first time with The Sydney Morning Herald, O’Brien credited police media advisor Michelle Minehan with saving his life, explaining, “She made me feel like everything was going to be okay.
“In a lot of ways she’s saved my life,” he added.
Bianka and Jude O'Brien. Source: Channel 7 News.
Tragedy struck when the now 31-year-old's wife Bianka and 11-month-old son Jude were tragically killed in a Rozelle arson attack that had been lit by a shop owner Adeel Ahmad Khan, who was hoping to claim insurance.
Court documents reveal that Mr Khan had placed approximately 10 containers of fuel - all connected by a fuel-soaked rag - around the ground floor shop before using a cigarette lighter to start the blaze. His car keys were found in the car's ignition, suggesting he was preparing for a speedy escape from the scene.
Within moments of the fire beginning an explosion erupted, flattening the store and units above where O'Brien and his family lived.
With $373,000 of debt to his name at the time of the blaze, Mr Khan's situation was dire. It is believed Mr Khan started the fire in the hopes of claiming insurance on the property.
An aerial view of the Rozelle property following the fire. Source: Channel 7 News.
And while Khan was arrested in relation to the crime almost immediately, O'Brien found himself alone and trying to pick up the pieces of his life.
During the interview, the soon-to-be-father admitted that following the tragedy he was a mess and thought he was having a mental breakdown. But, with their relationship moving from professional to personal, Minehan became a true pillar of support.
"That beautiful person changed my whole outlook on life," O'Brien said, sharing that while their conversations became more personal over time, it wasn't until the pair ran into each other while in New York that things turned romantic.
O'Brien and Bianka's father faced Khan in court in June. Post continues...
With the couple's first baby set to arrive within the next eight weeks, Minehan says O'Brien has started to open up more, talking about his son almost every day.
"Now going to the baby stores, and I know nothing about it all, and he's talking about Jude every single day now in relation to our baby. He'll say 'we have to buy that, Jude loved that," she says.
Opening up about their love, Minehan said, "He will say to people that I saved him but I see it in a completely different way. He's changed my life. I used to stress about the littlest details and he put everything in perspective for me. This man can be so positive with what he's been through and I'm worrying about something so minor. He's done more for me than I've done for him.
"At first I thought it was just a front but he's shown time and time again that's the person he is. He has the most positive attitude and he puts everyone else first," she added finally.
Khan was convicted of the manslaughter of Bianka and Jude O'Brien, as well as the murder of fellow apartment resident Chris Noble in June, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison with a non-parole period of 30 years.
*Main image via Facebook.