By Madeleine Morris
Rikki Schmidt’s memories of the day her sister, Tara Costigan, was murdered with an axe are still clear.
It was February 2015 and Tara’s ex-partner Marcus Rappel burst into the home they had shared in a violent rage.
“He was just screaming. He was yelling. He wasn’t saying anything at all,” Ms Schmidt, who was injured in the attack, told 7.30.
“He didn’t even shut his door or shut off his car.
“When I saw his face I knew that he was a completely different person.
“He wasn’t the person that I knew. [His face looked like] pure evil.”
Tara Costigan murdered one day after taking out DVO
The violent murder shocked Australia.
Just seven days earlier Ms Costigan had given birth to a baby daughter, Ayla.
Rappel was the father, but the day before she was killed she took out a domestic violence order (DVO) against him, having seen his behaviour became increasingly threatening.
Ms Costigan’s grandmother, Margaret Costigan, said Tara had become increasingly isolated from the family in the months preceding her death.
“I could see it was … leading to a type of verbal domestic violence,” she said.
“She wasn’t messaging me, she wasn’t ringing me, she wasn’t coming to see me.
“She was sort of cutting herself off.”
A court this week heard Rappel had a history of threatening girlfriends.