The family of murdered woman Rachelle Yeo have described the sleepless nights and grief since their loved one’s violent death.
Every day Kathy Yeo is plagued by the `what ifs’.
What if she didn’t encourage her daughter to live alone in an apartment that she would one day be stabbed to death in?
What if she gave her daughter Rachelle Yeo one more hug or had one more “tea and talk”?
Mrs Yeo, during sentencing submissions at the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, gave a heartbreaking insight into the impact of her daughter’s July 2012 murder.
Through tears Mrs Yeo described Rachelle as her “daughter, darling and friend”.
She can’t shop thinking about Rachelle’s final moments.
“I think about what happened to her, what she must have felt in the last few minutes of her life and whether I could have changed the outcome,” she said.
Rachelle’s former lover, Paul Darren Mulvihill, was earlier this month found guilty of the 31-year-old’s murder.
The pair had met at Sanofi Aventis pharmaceuticals where they both worked, and started an affair in 2011.
The affair ended and Rachelle moved from Brisbane to Sydney in 2012 for a job promotion.
But the court heard that Mulvihill, devastated that Rachelle ended their romance, then travelled to Sydney and to his former lover’s North Curl Curl unit where he stabbed her in the neck and chest before fleeing.
Mrs Yeo said she has been on anti-depressants, had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and had trouble sleeping since Rachelle’s death.
Each morning when she wakes she thinks of Rachelle lying dead on a morgue table with her face battered and bruised.
Mrs Yeo read out the last message Rachelle sent to her before she was murdered.
“Thank you mum for being the bestest mum ever and the most supportive friend. I love you so much … you are amazing,” it said.
The crown prosecutor wiped away tears and members of the public gallery were overwhelmed by emotion as Mrs Yeo and Rachelle’s father Roger Yeo read out their statements.
Mr Yeo said he thought the sun rose every morning because of Rachelle.
“Sometimes I smile but most of the time I am melancholy,” he said.
Rachelle’s brother, Kevin Yeo, said his sister died before she was able to be an aunty to his daughter.
He said his other two-year-old child asked him why nana cried all the time.
“I said because nana is heartbroken,” Kevin told the court.
He described his slain sister as a selfless and caring person, in contrast to what was implied during Mulvihill’s trial.
Mulvihill sat stony faced, barely moving as the statements were read out.
Sentencing has been adjourned until April 3.