Today Stephanie Scott should be turning 28 years old today. But the NSW school teacher was robbed off that chance by Vincent Stanford, the man who was yesterday sentenced to life behind bars for her murder.
With justice served, Stephanie’s family have extra cause to celebrate today.
And they’ve invited Australians to do the same.
Stephanie and her mother, Merrilyn. Image: Facebook.
Speaking outside the Griffith Courthouse after the sentence was handed down yesterday, Merrilyn Scott said, "Tomorrow we begin to celebrate Stephanie's too short and amazing life.
"We will be having a cup of tea and a mint slice biscuit at 3.00pm. Please join us."
The touching tradition was started last year by Stephanie's older sister, Kim, who used Facebook to invite the public to share in the Scott family's afternoon-tea tribute.
Hundreds of people responded to the post, sharing pictures of the cuppa they poured in Stephanie's honour, and no doubt this year will be the same.
Merrilyn Scott also spoke yesterday of the family's immense grief, of how Stanford had "taken away" so much from them in taking everything from Stephanie.
"We need to be kind to ourselves and let the music and fun back in," Ms Scott said.
"We need to be able to fade from public view to mourn our beautiful girl and work our way through our grief."
School cleaner Vincent Stanford pleaded guilty in July to the aggravated sexual assault and murder of Scott, whom he attacked on Easter Sunday, 2015, just days before her wedding.
The 26-year-old was working overtime to prepare lessons ahead of her upcoming honeymoon, when Stanford set upon her in a staffroom at Leeton High School.
In sentencing the Stanford yesterday, Griffith Supreme Court Justice Robert Allan Hulme described the case as “one of great heinousness” and said he found the 25-year-old’s behaviour after the murder “highly disturbing” and “conniving, callous and self interested.”
“The attack itself involved extreme brutality by a man of substantial size upon a defenceless young woman…who had no means of escape,” he said.