Grainy video from CCTV footage shows a Woonona couple walking along the street trying to find a place to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Little did Angela O'Donnell know that these would be among her final moments. Only an hour later she was dead, stabbed by the man she thought loved her.
Yesterday, Petero Baleinapuka, 58, was found guilty of her murder. A 12-person jury returned its verdict an hour after adjourning to deliberate in the Supreme Court trial in Wollongong.
The Crown's case claimed Baleinapuka stabbed Ms O'Donnell, his girlfriend of three years, at least 14 times with two kitchen knives inside her Campbell Street, Woonona unit that he had moved into only a few months before the fateful night in 2019.
The court heard Baleinapuka told police he met Ms O'Donnell at Parramatta in a pub in 2017 and they had been in a relationship since.
The jury heard the couple visited one of Ms O'Donnell's aunts during the day before going to buy swimmers, cigarettes then alcohol at a Woonona bottle shop.
Later that night they walked to Sandon Point Surf Club and stayed for one drink before catching an Uber to the Beaches Hotel.
They were unable to enter because they didn't have tickets to the event and they returned home in an Uber.
CCTV footage captured the couple walking down the driveway of their complex and into their unit.
The court heard only 20 minutes before her death, Ms O'Donnell responded to a text message from her brother with "Yay Woonona" after he had sent her photos from their childhood.
Petero, Petero...Look at me.- Angela O'Donnell
The Crown asserted that Baleinapuka became enraged at Ms O'Donnell before she was killed however a solid motive for the murder was never established.
The Crown alleged Ms O'Donnell could be heard saying, "Petero, Petero, oh my god, f---" before Baleinapuka said in an angry tone, "what do you want?" Ms O'Donnell said, "look at me, look at me" before screaming. Those final words were captured on the neighbour's surveillance camera.
Ms O'Donnell was stabbed in the face, neck, chest, buttock and abdomen. Forensic pathologist Dr Istvan Szentmariay told the jury some of the wounds were inflicted in a "slashing" manner, while others penetrated deep into her body and some were caused by "blunt force".
He said one of the wounds on her forearm and on her fingers may have been defensive. Dr Szentmariay described how Ms O'Donnell sustained a stab wound through her cheek that cut off part of her tooth while another penetrated her first rib bone.
He also described how some of the injuries would have caused "widespread haemorrhaging" and the subsequent blood loss would have led to her death. Dr Szentmariay said 1.8 litres of blood was found inside Ms O'Donnell's chest, stomach and abdomen, which he described as "significant blood loss".
Ms O'Donnell and Baleinapuka's blood was splattered and smeared around the unit following the frenzied attack. Ms O'Donnell's bare footprints were also allegedly found inside.
Blood staining appeared near the hallway and on the handle of a storage door that appeared to indicate Ms O'Donnell was trying to reach and grab the handle to get up.
The television was knocked over, the knife block strewn on the floor, and one of the murder weapons lay underneath her arm.
A serrated bread knife was found near a rocking horse, although it was not one of the weapons used in the attack.
The phone believed to have belonged to Ms O'Donnell was also found in a bag of rubbish near the bin.
The jury heard the only DNA profiles found from swabbed blood, that were able to be tested and identified, were from Baleinapuka and Ms O'Donnell.
The court heard Baleinapuka tended to his own wounds but did not call an ambulance for his partner.
The Crown alleged his fingers were bleeding so much that when he moved them, blood was flicked onto walls.
He bandaged his injured bloody hands - allegedly sustained when the knife slipped and cut him during the attack - in the upstairs bathroom and at the dining room table were Bandaid wrappers were left (pictured).
It was the Crown case that Baleinapuka placed a jacket and a white t-shirt over where Ms O'Donnell's lost a lot of blood, which had pooled.
Callously, he also drank beers as the woman he claimed to have loved lay dead nearby. He left blood stains on the fridge door and bottles. Toohey's Ted bottles were found outside on the deck and broken ones were found in the common area of the complex. Baleinapuka changed his clothes, leaving his bloody shoes upstairs and prints downstairs.
As he left the unit some 90 minutes after attacking Ms O'Donnell, Baleinapuka took her bank card and keys and went into the garage to get into her silver BMW.
He drove a short distance down the road which attracted the attention of detectives in an unmarked car who assumed he was drunk.
He tried to drive off but crashed a short time later.
The Crown alleged that while waiting for a paddy wagon, five police officers claimed they heard Baleinapuka say, "I killed her, I didn't mean to hurt her, I loved her".
Alarmed, police officers went to Ms O'Donnell's unit where they had to break the door down before making the grim discovery in the lounge room.
The next day at the police station, Baleinapuka admitted to stabbing Ms O'Donnell; three times in the body while she was standing then twice in the chest after she had fallen to the ground.
Baleinapuka also told detectives in his interview that he had gotten into an argument with Ms O'Donnell when they returned home and she slapped and threw a Christmas ornament at him.
He said he left the unit but returned to see a man leaving the house and confronted Ms O'Donnell about her alleged infidelity before stabbing her.
However in court while on the stand, he admitted to making up those stories, claiming he lied when he confessed.
Baleinapuka told the jury he did not hear or see who killed Ms O'Donnell because he was on the deck drinking.
He claimed upon finding Ms O'Donnell's body he picked her up from the hallway and "lay her to rest" on the living room mat before leaving the apartment.
The case was adjourned to April 22 for a sentencing hearing.
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