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What did they see in him?

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Rachelle Louise's gullibility seems oceanic.

Rachelle Louise's gullibility seems oceanic. Photo: Danielle Smith

One of the unspoken questions in the mass of coverage of the Lisa Harnum murder trial is "what on earth did she see in Simon Gittany?"

That question went from postulation to exclamation when Gittany, 40, arrived on the first day of his trial at Sydney's Supreme Court holding hands with a "glamorous" new girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, 24.

This spawned a second mystery: "How does this guy even attract women?"

Murdered: Lisa Harnum.

Murdered: Lisa Harnum.

That now seems clear: Gittany was labelled a liar by his trial judge, Justice Lucy McCallum, and if he's willing to do so with "telling ease" to her, we can be fairly certain he feels no hesitation practising profound deception in his private life.

It's also well documented he's a violent manipulator who used physical, verbal and emotional abuse, as well as technological surveillance, to control and intimidate Harnum, 30, during their relationship.

We now also know when Gittany feels threatened, he's willing to bite part of the ear off a police detective and has now been convicted of throwing a woman he claims to have loved to her death from a 15th story balcony.

All of this, however, doesn't bring us any closer to answering the first question: "What did Harnum and Louise see in Gittany?"

It would be unfair to assess both women by the same criteria because Louise was dating Gittany while he was charged with Harnum's murder; Louise's gullibility thus seems oceanic.

Harnum suspected Gittany was capable of violence and it must have played a part in her fear of leaving him.

The fact he appeared able to deceive Louise, so she would voluntarily comfort and support him while charged with the murder of a woman she'd known, illustrates what a malevolently cunning mind Harnum was living with.

Gittany, however, is still the common element here and he put on good show. He's oddly handsome, dresses the part and had enough disposable income to rent a flash apartment.

He's also one of those guys Sydney mass produces who can't describe what they do for a living in under 10 words.

He's every parent's worst nightmare. He's a predator, but like every predator I'm certain he left tracks.

Men of Gittany's stripe shower attention on women - they consume them - but sooner rather than later they will "test" whether they have the right "mark" by denigrating or intimidating a woman they're interested in.

And they always lie.

I was recently chatting with a woman about a guy she'd been dating who'd sworn blind he'd never been married. He later confessed he was going through a divorce.

"That was strike one against him," she said, "he was a liar."

During another date, the man became agitated when a male acquaintance they'd encountered made a flirtatious remark to the woman. The new suitor demanded to know who the friend was.

"When I declined to even answer and walked away, he grabbed me by the wrists and tried to stop me. Strike two," she said.

"Then what did you do?" I asked.

"I never saw him again. I didn't answer his calls. I don't wait for strike three," she said.

The tragedy of Lisa Harnum is it seems she did.

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0 comment

  • He was probably very charming and attentive in the beginning and exposed some kind of vulnerability so the women would feel they could trust him and also be able to take care of him as he said he would take care of her. He probably then used his vulnerability to have them move in with him and then isolate them from friends and other support people while monitoring communication with family. He may not have introduced her to his friends so she couldn't ask questions about the stories he told her.
    By the time Lisa made the decision to leave because she was genuinely concerned for her safety he was using his vulnerability and his statements about caring for her to monitor her every move and gaslight her into believing that she was seeing, feeling and thinking things that weren't actually happening. Lisa probably loved him and trusted him to take care of her even when he didn't and wasn't. There may still have been slashes of the charm and care he showed in the early days.
    Abuse and manipulation in relationships happens slowly and insidiously and the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she is leaving. The abuser has nothing left to lose and extreme violence and murder is an option.
    Placing the focus on why the victim did what they did doesn't answer why the abuser felt they were entitled to treat someone that way.

    Commenter
    M
    Date and time
    November 29, 2013, 8:20PM
    • The abuser felt they were entitled probably because they were a psychopath. If you've killed someone and don't show remorse, that's a pretty clear indication that there's something wrong with you. I think people try to understand why the victim got involved/fell for it/didn't leave earlier as a way of trying to figure out how to avoid it themselves.

      Commenter
      JEQP
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 3:48AM
    • Placing the focus on why the victim did what they did doesn't answer why the abuser felt they were entitled to treat someone that way.

      It's not really complex. Some people are arseholes who don't care about anyone but themselves.

      It really defies logic that some women could be attracted to and stay with men like that but it happens so regularly that there must be reasons for it other than that they were simply too scared to leave.

      Commenter
      Freddie Frog
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 7:40AM
    • Beware the narcissist, habitual liars who ACTUALLY believe everything they say...usually egged on by an enabling mother.

      Commenter
      Narcissist Alert
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 9:49AM
    • Freddy Frog when I think of my own experience in an abusive relationship it all started wonderfully. He said the most beautiful things to me and was a kind and gentle loving man. It wasn't until we had lived together for about 6 months that the abusive behaviour started through being mean to my friends so they didn't want to be around, withholding rent money and other things. The regular verbal and physical abuse started after we were together for 2 years. Another tactic of abusers is to withhold finances through non-payment of bills, rent, mortgage etc. so the person being abused feels a responsibility to get into a financial position where they have nothing left, not even an escape fund, because they would lose their home, their job and everything.
      It took me almost a year to get out and I knew that I was in physical danger. I was isolated from my friends, He would constantly call me at work to monitor where I was and the harassment continued for a while.
      Many people who know me would never believe that I "got myself into that situation". I didn't get myself into that situation. The person I was in a relationship felt they were entitled to be abusive and it was one of the most difficult, heartbreaking and terrifying experiences of my life.
      Unless you have been there and unless you listen to the stories of those who have been there you won't understand that the initial attraction is not to an abuser, it is to someone who masks their behaviour and then grooms you to accepting abuse and being humiliated enough to not mention it to a single soul.

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 10:02AM
    • M, I totally understand - it is a year to the day that I got emancipation from a controlling abusive marriage - tomorrow I celebrate the fact that I can now file for divorce! People who know me have said "if it can happen to you it can happen to anyone"! I've now got my "soul" back and I'm starting to recognise myself again.

      Commenter
      GizGirl
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 12:12PM
    • Congratulations on your freedom GizGirl. I hope your sense of self is returning stronger day by day. I hope you mark the anniversary in a way that is fitting for you.
      It is coming up to 3 years escape for me, in January. I will be raising my glass and having cake to celebrate.

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 1:40PM
    • The problem is that young men don't mature until late in their 20s and until then they get away with too much from women who don't tell them at the first sign of trouble that they will never accept such behaviour. Young women need to be taught to never ever accept aggression from young men and that will re-educate men if they ever want to find a mate. Women have the power for change because young men will never learn until the stakes are high enough.

      Commenter
      the Truth
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 2:22PM
    • I do not condone what happen, but human beings need to take responsibility for their own actions and the position they find themselves in. If you are weak enough to go home to an abusive partner and not walk away from control freaks like Gittany is beyond belief in the year 2013.

      Commenter
      Chris
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 6:04PM
    • Sam De Brito....the most "empowered" (wo)man in modern history.YOU GO GIRL!!

      Commenter
      farkennel
      Location
      realityville
      Date and time
      November 30, 2013, 6:52PM
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