JON KAILA CRIME REPORTER HERALD SUN MARCH 25, 2014 12:00AM
Petrified victim of horrific domestic violence forced into hiding after her ex-partner freed by courts.
A TERRIFIED victim of horrific domestic violence has been forced into hiding after her ex-partner was repeatedly freed by courts despite facing serious charges.
The woman, who the Herald Sun has chosen not to identify, has taken her children out of school and is living at crisis refuge centres because she fears her former partner will kill her.
In one frightening attack, captured on mobile phone footage, he is seen maniacally wielding a large kitchen knife and menacing the woman.
The panel beater and harness racing trainer received a paltry 120 hours’ community work for the harrowing attack.
He is now facing a litany of charges for offences of violence, drugs, stolen property and possessing six guns without a licence — but still received bail.
And while on bail, he is alleged to have smashed into his victim’s home and broken her nose. For a staggering third time, he was allowed to walk from court on bail.
The 33-year-old victim, speaking exclusively to the Herald Sun from a secret location, is convinced she will be killed if she is found.
“People asked why Adrian Bayley was free on bail to murder Jill Meagher. They asked the same question when little Luke Batty was killed by his father. Well, I know how it happens, because I am living this nightmare. And I know I’ll be next,” she said.
“How can a court, knowing all that he has done and is capable of, just release him on to the streets to strike again?”
She said she had come forward to “throw a spotlight on what domestic violence victims are put through … each and every day.”
“This monster has to be stopped, and if the courts won’t lock him up, I have to speak up,” she said.
“The system is a joke. It has let me down, and it needs to be raised why he’s done what he has done and is able to walk free, and I’ve been forced to flee underground.
“I’m only safe because I’m in hiding without anyone knowing where I am. And that’s not good enough. I want people to know what victims of domestic violence go through so that in future, no one has to go through the hell I’m going through now.”
Her brave decision to speak out to expose failings in the system has also been welcomed by her father — a retired police officer of 38 years — who urged his daughter to film the attacks for evidence.
“The system is an absolute joke, a disgrace,” he said.
“Courts have got to realise these are real people’s lives they are playing with.
“They let this dangerous man walk free and my daughter has to run for her life and two kids are dragged out from school.
He said: “I feel helpless, because she can’t even tell me where she is. I’d love her to be home with me so I could protect her, but they’ve said it’s too dangerous and now she’s in isolation.
“How is that right, fair or just?”
In her police statement, she says the man has locked her inside her house for days at a time, pushed her out of a travelling car travelling at about 50km/h, punched, kicked and bruised her, dislocated her thumb, attacked her with a knife, and smashed reading glasses on her face.
She claims he has also tracked her mobile phone.
“He’s tried to stab me, he’s broken my nose in front of my seven-year-old daughter, he’s raided my home, and he’s told me, and tried, to kill me.
“I believe him. Why doesn’t the court?
“Victoria Police says it is getting tough on these men.
“But if the courts are just going to free them, what’s the point in reporting these crimes? I have felt undermined at every turn.”
The Herald Sun is aware of further charges before the court, details of which we are unable to publish for legal reasons.
The woman has fled her family home and will continue to be moved around crisis shelters until the man’s last scheduled court appearance next month — more than six weeks after he was bailed.
By stark contrast with her situation, he has enjoyed his freedom at the Formula One Grand Prix, posing in pictures with models.
He also watched a horse he trains win a race at the trots.
“I’ve left my family, my friends, without being able to tell them where I am, and my children have had to be taken out of school,” she said.
“We are held prisoner, while he can walk free,” she said.
“The justice system needs to realise its actions can get people killed.
“We are now looking over our shoulder in fear, while he is free to enjoy life.”