ACT News

Calwell murder accused Marcus Rappel also charged with breaching domestic violence protection order

The mother of a week-old baby sought court protection from her ex-partner just one day before he allegedly killed her and attacked two other people  in Calwell on Saturday.  

Marcus Rappel has pleaded guilty to the murder of Tara Costigan.
Marcus Rappel has pleaded guilty to the murder of Tara Costigan. Photo: Facebook

Tensions ran high on Monday when alleged  killer Marcus Rappel, 40, appeared in a court packed with distressed family and friends of victim  Tara Costigan, 28. 

An axe-wielding Rappel is alleged to have forced his way into the Duggan Street villa on Saturday afternoon, killing Ms Costigan, inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman, and seriously assaulting a man in the same attack. 

Tara Costigan was allegedly murdered by her former partner Marcus Rappel, 40.
Tara Costigan was allegedly murdered by her former partner Marcus Rappel, 40. Photo: Supplied

An axe was found next to Ms Costigan's body in the laundry of the home.

It is understood she had only given birth to a baby girl a week ago, and had two sons, aged nine and 11.

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Few details about the allegations emerged from the brief appearance in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday. 

But it can be revealed that Ms Costigan sought the help of the court system to protect her against Rappel on Friday, just one day before the alleged murder. 

An interim domestic violence order – designed to immediately protect those at risk from further violence – was granted by the court.

Magistrates or registrars are generally able to make an interim domestic violence order without the perpetrator being present. 

But police are then required to serve the target with the temporary order as soon as practicably possible, generally between 24 to 48 hours later. That includes telling the perpetrator the details of what the other party has accused them of.

It is not clear  whether Rappel received such a notification before the killing.

Rappel was charged with murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm, and contravening a protection order by Magistrate Robert Cook in a brief court appearance on Monday. 

Tension in the courtroom flared as Rappel was led back down to the cells. A supporter of Ms Costigan's tried to run at Rappel, but he was held back by another man. 

He called Rappel a "f---ing animal", before breaking down in tears in the other man's arms. 

Another supporter yelled "don't you look at us you piece of s---" when the accused turned around. 

Ms Costigan's death prompted a flood of condolences on social media, and a page has been set up to raise funds for her young children. 

The page, set up by friend Emma Luke, described her as a "beautiful mother" who was taken too soon.

"She was a loving caring person, Tara is missed, loved and was cared about by so many people," she wrote.

Others who commented on the page expressed their sorrow at Ms Costigan's sudden death.

"RIP Tara you were loved by many and you cared for so many in return. God bless your little angels xxx," one donor  wrote.

The page had already raised roughly $5000 for the children by 5pm on Monday, and was rapidly receiving further donations.

Rappel was arrested at the scene on Saturday afternoon. 

Police say they rushed to the complex about 4.40pm following reports of a "major disturbance". 

An area of 10 villas was cordoned off, while police started their investigations. 

Rappel was taken into custody by police and later charged in the ACT Watch House.

He made no application for bail, entered no pleas, and will remain in the Alexander Maconochie Centre until March 17, when his case returns to court.