real life

Simon Gittany sentenced for the murder of fiancée Lisa Harnum.

Simon Gittany with Rachelle Louise during his trial last year.

In 2011, Simon Gittany murdered his fiancée Lisa Harnum by throwing her off the balcony of their 15th-floor Sydney apartment.

Today, he was sentenced to 26 years- with a non-parole period of 18 years- for the crime, which he carried out in a “fit of rage” when Ms Harnum said she was leaving him.

Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum, who presided over his judge-only trial, announced the sentence at 11:05am, describing Gittany as “controlling, dominant and at times abusive”.

Justice McCallum said there was “no doubt” that he intended to kill Ms Harnum when he threw her off the balcony.

“Ms Harnum must have been in a state of complete terror in the moments before her death,” she said, adding that there were no prospects for rehabilitation for Gittany.

Defence counsel are expected to appeal the conviction.

Rachelle Louise continues to defend Gittany

Gittany’s new girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, has been a vocal supporter of Gittany’s throughout the trial and sentencing. However, it’s been reported that she initially did not attend the sentencing this morning apparently because of deal with Channel 7 that requires her to hold her silence.

Ms Louise defended him in a paid interview on Sunday night, describing him as “an honest person.”

Rachelle Louise on ‘Sunday Night’

“Well, he doesn’t like me to wear high heels to the shops either,” admitted Ms Louise in the interview when questioned about his controlling behaviour toward Harnum.

“But the other stuff I don’t believe at all.”

Asked what she thought of an image of Gittany covering Harnum’s mouth and dragging her back into their apartment mere seconds before throwing her off the balcony, Ms Louise appeared unruffled.

“They have a relationship where she would run away from him and he would chase her and that’s exactly what he’s done,” she added.

“She’s run, he’s chased her, she’s screamed, he’s put his hand on her mouth and brought her back inside.”

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Louise had earlier declared to the court in the witness box that “Simon is the best boyfriend I have ever had”.

Last week, she also fronted the NSW Supreme Court in a bizarre protest, brandishing signs proclaiming Gittany’s innocence.

The trial

A torn note found in Harnum’s pocket.

During the trial last year, the NSW Supreme Court heard that Ms Harnum told a personal trainer and a counsellor that restrictions had been placed on her clothing, hair, work and general movements.

A torn-apart note found in the front pocket of Ms Harnum’s jeans when she died read “there are surveillance cameras inside and outside the house.”

Gittany was secretly monitoring Ms Harnum’s text messages through a computer program he installed on her phone, the court heart.

Gittany was also captured on CCTV, physically restraining her and dragging her back inside the unit she had tried to flee, just 69 seconds before Ms Harnum’s death.

During his sentencing hearing last week, the Crown introduced a surprise new witness.

The unnamed witness told the NSW Supreme Court she was a friend of 30-year-old Ms Harnum from beauty college.

The witness told the court that Ms Harnum, a Canadian national, had told her a number of times that Gittany had threatened to kill her if she ever left him.

“He said that if he killed her he would make it look like suicide,” the woman said on Wednesday, adding that Ms Harnum has confided that Gittany “got videos so he can watch me”.

Gittany pleaded not guilty in November, and Defence counsel Philip Strickland SC said Ms Harnum climbed the balcony herself and jumped or slipped.

But a forensic specialist identified at least one fingerprint and palm mark of Gittany’s on the balcony.

Have you been following the sentencing? What do you think about it?