The girlfriend of convicted murderer Simon Gittany says he is the “best boyfriend” and that she won’t rest until justice prevails.
He has been described as controlling, jealous, dominating and abusive.
But the girlfriend of convicted murderer Simon Gittany says he is “the best boyfriend she has ever had”.
More than two months after Gittany was found guilty of murdering his fiancee Lisa Cecilia Harnum by throwing her off their high-rise balcony in Sydney in July 2011, public interest in his case hasn’t waned.
Well before the Supreme Court in Darlinghurst opened its doors to his sentence hearing on Wednesday, media and court enthusiasts lined up outside trading tales about the case.
Then, Gittany’s much-photographed girlfriend Rachelle Louise caused a frenzy of camera flashes when she arrived leading a silent demonstration of family and supporters.
Without uttering a word, Ms Louise pointed to placards that questioned key pieces of evidence, including: “How do you render Some1 (sic) unconscious in less than 65 sec without any sign of trauma to the body.”
It comes just months after Justice Lucy McCallum delivered a damning judgment that took nearly five hours to read.
Gittany, she said was dominating, jealous, at times abusive and placed Ms Harnum under intense surveillance.
When he discovered she was planning to leave him and return to her native Canada, she said he flew into a rage and killed her.
But on Wednesday, Gittany again gave evidence proclaiming his innocence, saying: “I did not kill Lisa Harnum. I would never ever kill anybody.”
Ms Louise also took the stand, describing Gittany as “caring and romantic and such a good person”.
“My relationship with Simon is amazing. He is the best boyfriend I have ever had,” she said.
While Ms Louise said she had previously been in an abusive relationship, the 40-year-old had “never” been violent towards her and “always wants to make up”.
“I will stand by Simon until justice prevails,” she added later.
Both Gittany and Ms Louise criticised the way the media had covered the trial, saying he had been portrayed as a “monster”.
Ms Louise then denied she was courting the media by appearing on Network Seven on Sunday night.
“The media has been biased in relation to the Crown. We want to get at the truth,” she said.
While she could not disclose how much she was being paid for the interview, she said it would be used to pay back money they borrowed for Gittany’s defence.
“That excludes the money that me and my father have put into the case which is $170,000,” she said.
Amidst all the talk of TV deals and the media attention, the story of how Ms Harnum’s death has affected her family was also heard.
In a victim impact statement read out to court, Joan Harnum told of how her daughter’s murder had left an empty chair at family gatherings and a beautiful smile missing from photographs.
“The death of a child means the loss of the future, of hopes and dreams,” she said.
Describing the murder as “a senseless and thoughtless act of violence”, she said “all Simon Gittany had to do that day was step aside and let her go back to her family”.
The hearing continues on Thursday.