An act of pure evil that robbed three young girls of a mother and tore lives apart on opposite ends of the earth.
That's how those who loved mother of three Paula Conlon, 30, have described her brutal murder in Macgregor in March 2012.
Aleksander Vojneski, 31, is facing sentencing in the ACT Supreme Court for stabbing his girlfriend to death in her north side home. Prosecutors are pushing for a life sentence, saying it is the only option the court has.
Vojneski – an ice user with a history of mental health issues and violence toward Ms Conlon – was said to have become increasingly desperate and frustrated as he unsuccessfully tried to get drugs on credit on the night of the murder.
Ms Conlon had been trying to wean him off ice, believing she was pregnant, and Vojneski had just discovered she had spent the last of her money on clothes before the killing.
A jury found Vojneski guilty earlier this year.
Now, the court has heard how his crime devastated the lives of Ms Conlon's parents, her three little girls, her mother-in-law and father-in-law, and her estranged husband Scott Conlon.
Her mother, Sharon Bell, who travelled from England for the sentencing, wrote in a victim impact statement of having a terrible feeling that something bad had happened at the time of her daughter's death.
Two days later, a police officer came to her home in England to tell her that her daughter had been murdered.
She said she was in denial until she flew to Australia, where it finally hit her at the Canberra Airport.
"Paula had been murdered and wasn't going to be waiting for us at the airport ever again," she wrote in a statement read out by a friend on Thursday.
She said going to see her daughter the day before the funeral was one of the hardest things her family had ever had to do.
"We wanted her to look at peace... she didn't look at peace, she looked in pain, and that broke our hearts," she wrote.
She said the day of her daughter's funeral was marred by her feelings of hate toward Vojneski.
"How dare he? What gave him the right to do this to Paula?" she wrote.
"A man that we didn't even know had done this to our family."
Mrs Bell described falling apart when she got back to England, slumping into a deep depression, losing work, friends, family and struggling financially.
"I basically wasn't living, I was just existing," she wrote.
Her one consolation, she said, would be for Vojneski to spend a long time behind bars.
"Paula was a wonderful person, yes she had her faults like everyone does, but no one had the right to take her away," she wrote.
"One day I hope Alex can find it in his heart to apologise to us, and maybe even give us an explanation for why he did this."
Ms Conlon's estranged husband, Scott Conlon, spoke in court of how the taking of one innocent life had impacted on so many more.
He said the three young girls, who he is now caring for, will grow up without a mother in their lives, and will never be able to hear, touch, see, or kiss her ever again.
Ms Conlon's father-in-law, Walter Conlon, also spoke of the terrible impact on the three girls, at one point addressing the killer directly.
"Aleksander Vojneski, you have murdered the mother of our grandchildren, and they have to live the rest of their lives without her."
He said the girls would be without a mother to share their 18th birthdays, their graduations, Christmases, Easters, and, one day, their own weddings and children.
"They don't have a mummy to talk to or hold anymore, just memories," he said.
Vojneski's lawyer, Jack Pappas, spoke at length of his client's mental health problems, which he had suffered since a young teenager.
He said Vojneski had been allowed to fall through the cracks of the ACT's mental health system.
"For a number of years, Mr Vojneski continued to slip through the fingers of the mental health system, and his condition continued to get worse," Mr Pappas said.
There was no rational motive for the killing, Mr Pappas said, only an irrational one in an irrational mind.
He said the court should turn its mind to Vojneski's mental health, treatment and rehabilitation when sentencing him.
Vojneski will be sentenced by Justice John Burns on November 11.