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Simon Gittany's girlfriend reacts to verdict

RAW VISION: Rachelle Louise smokes a cigarette in silence while mobbed by the media outside court after a judge found her boyfriend Simon Gittany guilty of murder. Phone vision.

PT0M28S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2y9zl 620 349

Joan Harnum looked into the eyes of the woman dating the man who murdered her daughter and only saw unhappiness. She never wants to see that look again.

It made her hope the death of her daughter, Lisa Cecilia Harnum, would save at least one woman from an abusive relationship.

Joan Harnum with a doll believed to be her murdered daughter's at court for the decision.

Joan Harnum with a doll believed to be her murdered daughter's at court for the decision. Photo: Peter Rae

This mattered to her more than a court finding Simon Gittany guilty of throwing the former ballerina to her death from the balcony of a Sydney high rise in July 2011.

''I looked into the poor girl's [Rachelle Louise] eyes and I could see unhappiness. I looked straight down at her one day and she just looked at me and I just felt so sorry for her. I saw the same look in my daughter's eyes,'' Ms Harnum said.

"To the girls: if something doesn't seem right, try and get help, someone you can talk to. You gotta reach out to somebody, to share it with, to help you deal with the situation because [you] can't do it alone.

Screamed in court: An emotional Rachelle Louise smokes after the verdict was handed down.

Screamed in court: An emotional Rachelle Louise smokes after the verdict was handed down. Photo: Danielle Smith

''I would not want another parent to go through this kind of thing.''

The night before she was to learn the fate of Gittany, Ms Harnum spoke to Fairfax Media to give her daughter a voice and explain that no verdict would bring her back.

''There [are] no winners in this thing. Two families' lives have been changed forever. We lost our daughter. His family has gone through a lot of stuff.''

Simon Gittany leaving the NSW Supreme Court in July. He was found guilty of murder yesterday.

Guilty of murder: Simon Gittany. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

When Ms Harnum returned home to Canada for Christmas in 2010, she said it was hard to let her daughter go back.

''The last time we saw her it was like somebody had taken the light out of her eyes. She wasn't the same,'' she said.

In the days leading up to her daughter's death, she said, her daughter paid for a ticket for Ms Harnum to come and get her from Australia and a one-way ticket for herself back to Canada.

Murdered: Lisa Harnum.

Murdered: Lisa Harnum.

The pair planned to spend a few days in a Hawaii before going on a family trip to Niagara Falls.

''That's a person who wants to live and wants a life,'' she said.

Ms Harnum sat near her sister Elizabeth in an apartment overlooking Manly Beach and described the ''devastating'' last phone call she had with her daughter, hours before her death.

The accredited hairdresser said she would contact her mother once she was free of Gittany.

But she never called. Ms Harnum said she spent the next five hours calling, emailing and texting her daughter, feeling uneasy.

The next thing a policeman knocked on her door and said her daughter was dead.

''Do you ever expect that the outcome is going to be what happened? Not in a million years.

''She wanted to leave and he stopped her. That's all he had to do, is let her go. Stand aside and let her go. It's as simple as that.''

As she spoke, Ms Harnum held a picture of her daughter taken during the last dinner they ever shared, tears rolling down her face.

She wanted the world to know that she was much more than an unstable girl with an eating disorder - she was a loving, caring, beautiful woman who was fighting to get out of her relationship and who dreamed of gaining residency in Australia.

 

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