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Hundreds turn out to farewell Tara Costigan in moving funeral

It was a heart-wrenching farewell that no 11-year-old child should ever be forced to make.

Rhiley Costigan-Wittman bravely stood before a packed Albert Hall on Wednesday to say goodbye to his mum, "the best mum in the world", less than two weeks after she was taken away from him in a shocking act of domestic violence.

Families and friends attend the funeral for Tara Costigan held at the Albert Hall in Yarralumla. From left, Rikki ...
Families and friends attend the funeral for Tara Costigan held at the Albert Hall in Yarralumla. From left, Rikki Schmidt, Drew Costigan-Wittman, 9, Rhiley Costigan-Wittman, 11, David Wittman and baby Ayla. Photo: Melissa Adams

"We all wish she was still with us, today and forever," he said, standing metres from her coffin.

"Everyone will always remember you as a beautiful mum, cousin, aunty, and close friend."

Hundreds turned out for the funeral of Tara Costigan, 28, who was allegedly murdered by her former partner in Calwell on February 28.

She left behind three children, Rhiley, 11, Drew, 9, and Ayla, a baby girl born just one week before the killing.


Aunts, friends, cousins, an uncle and a godfather all spoke of their sorrow at her sudden loss. 

There were tears for her sons, who were her "greatest love and passion", and for the hole she would leave in the lives of the many people she had touched.

But her uncle Michael Costigan spoke of a new beginning, Ms Costigan's legacy carried on through a foundation to be set up in her name.

More than anything, the funeral was a celebration of her life, one lived fully, but taken far too soon.

"Today's about Tara," Michael Costigan said at the start of the service.

"As a family, as friends, as a Canberra community, and indeed as a nation, we are here to pay our respects," he said.

There were cheekier memories, of when Ms Costigan would pin her children down and "fluff" on them, before running away.

Or wait armed with a NERF gun until her two boys came home from school, springing out and chasing them down the street.

The way she loved to dance, to look at herself in mirrors at every opportunity – even when her family wore reflective sunglasses - because "she knew how beautiful she was".

Her nicknames 'Turkey', for the time she fell over and needed stitches, or because she walked around with "her head sticking out", or 'Ewok', for the wide-eyed, cute little baby that she was.

Ms Costigan's cousin Nathan Costigan spoke of their deep childhood bond, and the great love she had for her family, of which was fiercely protective, the colour blue, the Balmain Tigers, dolphins, her cats her dog Honey, and the elderly, who she cared for so compassionately through her job with BaptistCare.

"I don't want to say goodbye yet," Nathan Costigan said, fighting back tears.

"But I have to."

Ms Costigan's death has fuelled a national debate on domestic violence and bolstered calls for stronger action to prevent the abuse of women.

Donations to support her three children can be made via a GoFundMe page named "Tara's Angels".