A week ago Tara Costigan was celebrating the birth of her daughter. Now she is dead.

Mother-of-three Tara Costigan was murdered in her home on Saturday. Her ex-partner has appeared in court charged with her murder.

Warning: This post contains details of domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers. 

A week ago Tara Costigan was celebrating.

She had just given birth to her daughter, Ayla. Her family compete. Her two boys had a beautiful baby sister.

“A precious little Angel” Tara wrote on Facebook.

Just one week ago Tara Costigan was inhaling the scent of her newborn daughter and embracing her sons aged 9 and 11.

Just one week ago this was Tara Costigan.

Now she is dead. Killed, police alleged at the hands of her ex-partner. Another victim, another statistic another heartbreaking tale of domestic violence.

28-year old mother-of-three Tara Costigan from Calwell in the ACT died on Saturday afternoon.

Police reports in the Sunday newspapers wrote of a 40-year old man who had been charged with murder after the body of the young mother was found with severe head injures and an axe beside her on the laundry floor at the rear of the Duggan Street villa where she lived.

The 40-year old man arrested was Tara Costigan’s ex-partner, Marcus Rappel.

Tara’s ex-partner Marcus Rappel

In court yesterday Rappel was charged with charged with murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm, and contravening a protection order.

It alleged he forced his way into the home of Tara Costigan, killing the young mother of three with the axe, while inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman, and seriously assaulting a another man who was present in the home.


The Canberra Times reports that Tara had sought court protection from her ex-partner on Friday – a day before she was violently killed. The interim domestic violence order was granted by the magistrate, but it is unclear whether Rappel was served with the order by police.

What is clear is that Tara Costigan was a victim of domestic violence. In the ACT Magistrates Court, supporters of Tara had to be restrained from running at Rappell. The Canberra Times reports, “one yelled “don’t you look at us you piece of s—” when the accused turned around. “

 “A beautiful mother”

On social media friends and family have struggled to find an outlet for their grief. A fundraising page set up by friend Emma Luke quickly gathered pace raising over $20,000 in the first eight hours.

Friends have started a crowdfunding campaign to help support Tara’s children.


It is now at over $30,000.

Tributes to Tara on the page spoke of her love for her children and her loving, caring nature.

Offers of clothes and toys for the three children aged 11, 9 and just one-week-old flooded in, and a fundraising walk set up in her honour for Sunday March 22nd.

Her sister paid tribute to her and her amazing caring nature, as well as her ability to make a wonderful cup of tea.

Domestic Violence

While the tragic details of Tara Costigan’s death are now a matter for the court her last desperate attempt to seek a domestic violence order shows that this 28-year old mother was one of the hundreds of thousands of women affected by domestic violence each day in Australia.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in six women has been a victim of violence by a current or former intimate partner. Homicides committed by an intimate partner account for one fifth of all homicides in Australia.

Related content: It’s killing more women than terrorism. So why won’t the government do more to fight it?

So far this year 14 women have died as a result of domestic violence. It is alleged that Tara Costigan is number 15.

As Tara’s three children begin a new version of their life – one without their beloved mother, who no doubt devoted her every moment to them – we pause and think of them.

We can’t begin to understand how difficult and senseless this time is for them, but we can hope in their name Australians begin to stand up and demand action on domestic violence. That in their name Australians say enough is enough.

Marcus Rappel did not enter a plea in court and did not apply for bail. He will re-appear on March 17th.

The below gallery pays tribute to women who have lost their lives to violence against women. Mamamia will continue to update and republish this gallery each time another woman loses her life to violence.

Tara Costigan’s three children can he helped by visiting this GoFundMe page.

If you need help to get a domestic violence order read this post here.

 If you believe you may be an abusive partner, you can receive help via Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.

If you have experienced, or are at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can receive help by calling 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732.

If you are in immediate danger please call the police on 000.