- Friends tried to save fragile Dawson
- Twitter criticised for failing to act against trolls
- Darkness behind life in the spotlight
A series of intersecting and stressful events formed the backdrop to the final hours of an already vulnerable and depressed Charlotte Dawson, who killed herself in her luxury waterside apartment at Woolloomooloo.
The 47-year-old television personality was coping with her two-bedroom apartment on the Finger Wharf going up for auction on Saturday, she felt she was not getting enough promotion for the Logie award votes for her former role as judge on the Foxtel reality TV series Australia's Next Top Model, and she had recently been setting up a homewares range.
On top of that, friends say she was struggling after the 60 Minutes tell-all interview with her former husband Scott Miller, whom she had confessed she still loved and would be the only man she would ever marry.
In her last interview just a week ago with Fairfax Media journalist Jo Casamento, Dawson had said she was unsure if she was strong enough to watch the interview that cavassed their failed marriage, his battle with the drug ice, criminal convictions for drug offences, stolen goods and prohibited weapons as well as accusations he was a pimp and a drug dealer.
''I continue to fight my depression - it's a bitch of a thing - and I fear watching something like this as it's the most painful time in my life,'' she said.
''I will be with a friend, but I am not looking forward to it. It was a painful time in my life and it might not be good for me. To me it's well over 10 years ago. This broke me very much. I had to go away for five years and leave this country and rebuild my life ... I've adjusted and moved on but it is still very painful.''
Whatever the trigger points, the troubled New Zealand born star was found about 11.20am on Saturday morning just a few minutes after her apartment was due to be open for inspection ahead of a noon auction.
It is understood an agent from real-estate company Morton and Morton, which was selling the property, found her. Dawson had spent her last 20 hours at Nine filming a morning show and later brunching with photographer James Jamie while her apartment was open for inspection. The last known photos show her happy and smiling and walking in the sunshine.
Dawson's long-term manager Mark Byrne paid tribute to her on Saturday, remarking how much people loved her.
''She touched a lot of people. She took me under her wing and was my first big client. She was a friend and mentor as well. She had an acerbic wit and such a media savvy mind - her brain ate media for breakfast," said Byrne.
After 15 years as her manager, he knew her well and described her as a woman who knew how to take charge.
"She was a tough woman, she knew what she wanted and what was sad, that later no one tapped that brain.
"She was the queen of the acerebic one lines. I remember saying I don't feel as close to you any more and she laughed 'Darling, that's because my face doesn't move.'''
Ben Fordham, who met Dawson on a weekly basis last saw her on Friday.
"It's just awful for the people who knew and loved her closely but also for those who knew and loved her form afar - they might never have met her but would have related to her because she was so raw and so real," said Fordham.
Dawson was adopted at birth and grew up in Auckland. She has described herself as a perfect little kid, well behaved, happy and bright. She also revealed publicly that she had been sexually assaulted when she was eight.
There were recent hints that all was not right with Dawson.
Earlier this month when Casamento posted a picture on Twitter of former fellow judges Alex Perry and Didier Cohen at the Astra Nominations for media personalities, Dawson tweeted back ''guess I'm not nominated this year? Phewsies NOT to be subjected to another crushing defeat.''
It is understood that friends were already suspicious something was up, when the usually prolific tweeter and instagrammer had left her accounts dormant for 19 hours.
A few locals gathered outside Dawson's apartment on Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo after news of her death broke Saturday morning.
Woolloomooloo resident Friday White was saddened by the news, saying: "I live nearby. I always used to see her at China Doll restaurant.
"I was really shocked [to hear of her death]. She stuck up for the gay community, she supported us heavily. She was just an amazing person."
Dawson posted her last photo of herself about to go on morning television to talk about sex.
''As you can see I'm racking my brains & have gone blank," she wrote.
The picture had attracted admiring comments from followers saying how beautiful she looked.
At the top of her Instagram page she had also posted this poignant message: "Some people think to be strong is to never feel pain. However, the strongest people are the ones that have felt pain, understood it, accepted it and learned from it."
In her last tweets, she was telling her 53,700 followers that the plight of cancer sufferer Lex Oliver was "a sad joke. So preventable, I've been lobbying this for ages but a dumb telly blonde nobody listens to".
Her last tweet said: "We have the hospitals/resources & the doctors & professors willing to help. Where is the govt support?"
Dawson had also been urging her followers to send their love to the mum of five who was about to undergo surgery.
In 2012, Dawson spoke about a sense of helplessness she felt as the target of online death threats, but had to fight back against the taunts, which eventually led to her admission to hospital.
In an interview on 60 Minutes, she said the experience was "really humiliating and embarrassing [but] I will recover from this".
The television presenter said she had never experienced death threats of the "ferocity" she experienced on Twitter. She said when she returned home from a party that night in August, she was confronted with a stream of abusive messages, some of which said "stick her head in a toaster" and "kill yourself".
Dawson spent hours fending off the attacks, but signed off at 2.07am with the message: "you win x", with a picture of a hand holding tablets. She also tweeted: "Hope this ends the misery".
Dawson said that the online trolls got to her. But the anonymous online attackers were cowards, she said. "If you're going to express those points of view, you should do it with a face and a name so that you can be accountable. It's the anonymity they celebrate because they think there are no consequences."
Dawson was released after spending two days under observation at St Vincent's Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre.
❏ Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.