Simon Gittany: girlfriend stays away from sentencing

Simon Gittany in January 2013. Picture: SAHLAN HAYES

Simon Gittany in January 2013. Picture: SAHLAN HAYES

The lover of convicted killer Simon Gittany will not be in court for his sentencing, amid reports she has signed a deal with Channel Seven to hold her silence.

A Sunday Night reporter had told journalists sitting in court that Rachelle Louise was not coming to hear how long Gittany would be sentenced to spend behind bars.

Gittany's brother and sister and a few family members are waiting in the public gallery with no signs of Ms Louise at 10am.

Gittany, 40, was convicted of killing his fiancee Lisa Harnum by throwing her off a Sydney high rise on a July morning two years go.

Ms Louise's no-show is a complete contrast to a circus-like protest she held last week during Gittany's sentencing hearing.

She and the Gittany clan entered the Supreme Court complex holding a number of placards with points they claimed proved his innocence.

Ms Louise told Channel Seven she "knows" her boyfriend is innocent.

Picture: DALLAS KILPONEN

Picture: DALLAS KILPONEN

"I don't make a statement based on something Simon's told me. I have worked through the case completely," she said.

"Simon is an innocent person and someone needs to help him, and that is exactly what I'm doing and I plan on standing by him until justice prevails," she said.

Possessive rage

On the morning of the murder, Gittany grabbed Ms Harnum by the throat in a possessive rage as she tried to flee and dragged her back inside.

Neighbours say they heard a woman screaming "Please help me! God, help me!" followed by a man's voice, and then complete silence.

Gittany had knocked the young woman out, the trial judge, Justice Lucy McCallum found.

He then carried her out to the balcony and "unloaded" her over the edge.

This was Ms Harnum's punishment for making one final, desperate attempt to leave her controlling, dominating boyfriend.

For weeks she had been planning to go, leaving bags of clothes with her personal trainer and a counsellor so that Gittany's suspicions would not be aroused, and discussing one-way flights back to Canada with her mother.

When Gittany discovered the plan, he was consumed by rage.

"For all his vigilance, his errant fiancee had found a way to secretly remove her belongings," Justice McCallum said.

Virtually from the start of his relationship with Ms Harnum, Gittany exhibited a burning need to control virtually every aspect of her life - how she dressed, where she went and how she behaved.

When police arrived at the murder scene on the corner of Liverpool and Elizabeth streets, they found a torn-up note in the woman's jeans pocket with the words "there are surveillance cameras inside and outside the house" scrawled in her distinctive handwriting.

This was a reference to the near-constant surveillance Gittany kept his girlfriend under, including monitoring her text messages through a program he had secretly installed on her phone and a bristle of CCTV cameras monitoring the apartment.

During the sentencing process the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, described the murder as "cold and calculating", submitting that that it warranted a minimum sentence of 20 years in jail.

The defence argued that the sentence should be "significantly less" than 20 years.

SMH.COM.AU

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop