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JUDGE: There's an application before the courtfor an apprehended domestic violence order against you.
SARAH FERGUSON: Last time on "Hitting Home,"we met women and children escaping violent partners.
WOMAN: But he wants to be in control of me.And he can't stand losing this control.
SARAH FERGUSON: What are you afraid of?
BOY: Him coming back and breaking my jaw.
SARAH FERGUSON: We met police and doctorstrying to protect them.
OFFICER: We're very blunt.If you don't give us a statement and this keeps happening,you'll end up dead.
SARAH FERGUSON: Now we meet the perpetratorsof domestic violence.You're a big bloke.If you were wild, I reckon I'd be really scared.
ANNIE GRENFELL: When do you draw a line in the sandand say, no more of this.It's gone too far?
SARAH FERGUSON: Were there thingsthat you did that made her afraid of you?
LOGAN: I don't think she is afraid of me.
SARAH FERGUSON: Do you think he's capable of change?
KRISTY WOODS: I hope he is.But I don't know.
SARAH FERGUSON: So how do you know how much danger you're in?
LORNA: It's very hard.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: He will try to come back and tell youhe's changed.And people like him, unfortunately,don't change very quickly.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: So.
OFFICER: This bloke-- this bloke will kill you.[WEEPING]
MELISSA MEREDITH: And I didn't realizewhat the guy was capable of.
SEAN MCDERMOTT: You can go from zero,in terms of there being no physical violence, all the wayto 100%, we have a homicide.
WENDY MALONYAY: Take action.Don't just sit there and wait for, you know,what happened to my daughter.[MUSIC PLAYING][MUSIC PLAYING]
SARAH FERGUSON: The South Coast Correctional Centrein Nowra, New South Wales.There are 600 inmates here, held in minimum, medium, and maximumsecurity.Mr. Farquhar.
IAN FARQUHAR: Yes.
SARAH FERGUSON: How do you do?Thanks for having us.
GUARD: Good morning.
SARAH FERGUSON: Morning.We're bringing cameras in for the first timeto follow a program for prisoners on domestic violence.What's your guess on how many of the inmateshave domestic violence in their histories?
IAN FARQUHAR: A lot.At least half would have some level.
SARAH FERGUSON: At least half?
IAN FARQUHAR: Well, there'd be something--not necessarily against their partner,but somewhere within that family group.
SARAH FERGUSON: All of the prisoners in this grouphave committed crimes of domestic violence.The aim of the program is to prevent themfrom re-offending this group is considered high-risk.The program runs over 10 weeks.This is day one.
ANNIE GRENFELL: It's a very, very slow process.
SARAH FERGUSON: Annie Grenfell is one of the facilitators.So how do they start off?What's the state of mind that you get today?
ANNIE GRENFELL: It's often-- they're often very resistant.They're quick to blame, make it her fault. I wouldn't be here.I mean, they're serving time in jail,so it's the last place they want to be.And you know, it's about taking responsibility for themselvesand their own behavior.
SARAH FERGUSON: Do you ever think that it's-- you know,it feels good while it's happening in here,and you might get some moments, but do you ever think thatyou're wasting your time with them?
ANNIE GRENFELL: I don't think I'dbe able to come in every day if I thought it was completelywasting my time.I really think that it is just that domino effect, that chip,chip, chip, chipping away at it.
SARAH FERGUSON: When you look around the room,what do you see?
ANNIE GRENFELL: Hope.I really see the hope that things can change.
SARAH FERGUSON: We'll see.
ANNIE GRENFELL: Mm.Pick a card that just sort of leaps out at you,something that says something to you.That was you being angry?
PRISONER: Yeah, angry and just not feeling too goodabout myself.
PRISONER: Comes down to the other party, as well, you know?Half of us are in here because of their games.We were provoked to get where we are.
ANNIE GRENFELL: When do you draw a line in the sandand say, no more of this.It's gone too far.
PRISONER: Where I grew up, that happens every minute.Yelling and screaming, it's normal to me.
LOGAN: That's the thing.I mean, you might feel like you're forever giving in,because you want the relationship to work,or whatever.And there comes a point where I've had enough of this.
SARAH FERGUSON: 33-year-old Logan from nearby Wollongongis serving 16 months for assaulting his partner.Was that the first time that anything went wrongwith a woman for you?
LOGAN: No, this is the second time.Second time that I've been in domestic violence.But first time as a child, something-- like I said,[INAUDIBLE].
SARAH FERGUSON: What is it that youthink you need to change about the way you are with women?
SARAH FERGUSON: It's a tough question, coming from me,isn't it?[LAUGHTER]
LOGAN: Uh, what do I need to change about women?I get along well with women.I've had a lot of girlfriends, you know what I mean?It's just-- it's more the mother of my child, you know?The ending of a relationship with something that'sso important to both of us.I guess I need to deal with that more than anything else.
SARAH FERGUSON: Wombarra, in southern New South Wales.
KRISTY WOODS: Can I have a kiss?Come here, beautiful.
SARAH FERGUSON: Logan's ex-partner, Kristy Woods,lives here with their child.
KRISTY WOODS: [LAUGHTER]
SARAH FERGUSON: It's her mother's house.Her family have installed security camerasto protect Kristy from Logan.He'll be released from prison in a few months.What was your relationship like with Logan from the beginning?
KRISTY WOODS: He was just really funny.And I love funny people.Because you know, I'm funny myself.And I don't know, he was just funny, and he was different.
SARAH FERGUSON: In what way?
KRISTY WOODS: Full of stories.
SARAH FERGUSON: Yeah.
KRISTY WOODS: Know what I mean?I Just really interesting.Really interesting.
SARAH FERGUSON: And you liked him?
KRISTY WOODS: Yeah.Yeah, I did.But then I guess it did start to get a bit-- he just didtoo much talking.He just always wanted to talk, and he was alwaysthinking about things, like just analyzing everything.
SARAH FERGUSON: So a bit obsessive?
KRISTY WOODS: Yes.He'd get upset about me, on Facebook, talking to my ex.I'm friends with all my exes.I always have been.But he found a way to-- to control me, you know?And just put a leash on me.That's what he wanted.And he did.He got that.
SARAH FERGUSON: Their relationship deterioratedafter their son was born.In December last year, an argumentbegan in the early hours of the morning.
KRISTY WOODS: He kept coming in.Kept coming into the bedroom and waking me up.Asking me questions, because he's going through my phone.We just argued.We're just arguing, you know?And then it was about 6 o'clock.The lady who owns the house, she come outand she goes, oh, can you just shut the fuck up?Stop fucking fighting, you know?And I'm the same, too.
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: It's just like, why are we fighting over this?And I was crying.And I just remember standing there, and he spat in my face.Like, we're like this-- he just spat in my face.And I didn't-- I didn't move, I didn't wipe, nothing.He ended up spitting in my face three times.He was twisting my ears and my nose, and pushing in my eye
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: with his thumb.And he had-- he had our baby in his arms, you know?And I was like, can you not do this?Why are you doing this?And then he said, all right, we're leaving here.We're going for a drive.The lady of the house was there, but I didn't say anything.You know, I just kept-- I wanted to say, I'm scared.
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: I don't want to go.But I didn't, and I really wish I had have.
THERAPIST: All right, what were your thoughts?You want to try to have a look right up until the momentthat you either hit your partner or whateverhappened that got you arrested.
SARAH FERGUSON: In prison, Logan isasked to describe the events leading upto the assault on Kristy.It's called a sense mapping.
THERAPIST: Is it hard to do?
LOGAN: Oh, yeah, I just haven't thought about it for some--
THERAPIST: Well, that's exactly right.Because you haven't thought about it,all this is coming back into your mind now.
LOGAN: We had to leave the house 'cause of the arguing.The landlord got up, you know, stop arguing.It's too early for this crap.Then we went for a drive.Slagging in the car.Yeah.
THERAPIST: Then what?
LOGAN: Oh, then she slammed on the brakesand tried to get out of the car.I grabbed on her leg and she hit her headon the side of the car, and jumped into another stranger'scar and took off.
THERAPIST: Did you grab her at all?
LOGAN: Oh, I grabbed on her leg as she wastrying to get out of the car.
SARAH FERGUSON: In that story, Logan,I couldn't follow it exactly.She said you had hit her.Did you hit her?
SARAH FERGUSON: No.
SARAH FERGUSON: But is that why you're here, because you werefound guilty of hitting her?
LOGAN: Yeah, yeah.There was a little bruise on the side of her--
SARAH FERGUSON: But you didn't do it?
LOGAN: No.She was trying to get out of the car backwards.
SARAH FERGUSON: How did she get that bruise?
LOGAN: Oh, I think she-- because she kicked outat me as I grabbed on her leg, and she hit the side of-- hm.Yep.
KRISTY WOODS: Like, I didn't really want to get in the car,'cause I didn't know where we were going.And-- and he just said, up the mountain.We're going up the mountain.We're going up the mountain.And he's-- he's, like, sitting with his back against the door,
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: just glaring at me.The whole time I'm driving, just glaring at me.And-- screaming his-- his rambles.Then he would get up close, and his head would be right here,you know?Just right in my ear, right in my face.I remember when we turned, looking at the surrounding
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: area, thinking, shit.It's getting less and less residential, the deeper we go.And I'm just trying to rack in my brain,how am I going to get out of this situation?I've never seen him that extreme.He'd be yelling something, and then all of a sudden,he'd just jolt my hair back.
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: And he-- he struck the back of my head, just here,and I swerved.I couldn't leave it, you know what I mean?And he goes, don't cry.Don't you dare cry.Then he hit me here.And I swerved so much, he grabbed the wheel.
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: I ended up-- I just slammed on the brakes.Slammed on the brakes.Skidded.Skidded a good 20 meters.
THERAPIST: You said she jumped out of the carand you grabbed her there.
THERAPIST: Who picked her up after that?
LOGAN: Oh, she jumped into a stranger's car.
ANNIE GRENFELL: So you were fighting in the middleof the road, right?
LOGAN: No, she'd locked on the brakes, 'cause we were arguing.And heading up back of the mountain.The car was oncoming, and she put the carinto oncoming traffic.Locked the car up.Then took the keys and threw the keysout of the car, which I didn't know.I thought she took the keys.I had to push the car to the side of the road, and the childin the car, and yeah.It was an ordeal.
LOGAN [continued]: And here I am.[CHUCKLES]
THERAPIST: So what about the impact?
LOGAN: Anyone got any--
THERAPIST: Where's the impact?Who did it impact on?
LOGAN: Oh.Landlord, myself, and the child.So that's the impact on others.
THERAPIST: And your partner?
LOGAN: Eh.I'm going to put her here.
KRISTY WOODS: I just couldn't believe that he'd justactually struck me.Because he'd never struck, like hit me.You know, he pinched me and squeezed me,and pushed on my eyes, and pulled, jolted my hair,and shoved me .But never-- never a direct hit, you know?
KRISTY WOODS [continued]: And I couldn't believe that he'd done that, you know?It was insane.
SARAH FERGUSON: What are you like when you're angry?How would you describe that person in the car?
SARAH FERGUSON: Intimidating?
LOGAN: I'd say so.
SARAH FERGUSON: Are you frightening when you're angry?
LOGAN: I don't think so, but I guessyou have the sense of being frightening whenyou've been angry, intimidating, and raised voice.
SARAH FERGUSON: And do you think that-- doyou think that in that case, do youthink she was afraid of you?
LOGAN: I can't answer for her, can I?
KRISTY WOODS: I hate him so fucking much.Oh, I hate him so much.I've never hated anyone or anything more than I hate him.How do you do that to someone you love, man?I can't comprehend it.
SARAH FERGUSON: So what is it that makesa relationship turn violent?One of the best sources of expertiseis the New South Wales Police Domestic & Family Violenceteam, run by Inspector Sean McDermott and Sergeant AlissaParker.
ALISSA PARKER: It's all about power and control.Controlling the victim, isolating the victimfrom the family, controlling their finances-- justbasically wearing them down to an emotional statethat they can't get out of the relationship,but they rely on that person for everyday livingand to sustain their life.They get trapped into this situationwhere they can't leave.
SEAN MCDERMOTT: Domestic violence,you can dress it up in no matter what, use fancy words,but it comes down to one thing.That's control.The need for the offender to control the victim.And ironically enough, I think from my own perspective,that need for control comes from their own sense of inadequacy.
SARAH FERGUSON: Sean McDermott hasbeen policing domestic violence for two decades.
SEAN MCDERMOTT: I got sick of going to domestic violenceincidents and seeing women living in fear,and seeing children living in fear.
SARAH FERGUSON: I've listened to lots of offendersand they say that she provoked me.Is there-- is there ever an element of provocationthat's possible?
SEAN MCDERMOTT: No.There simply isn't.Provoked to do what?To commit an assault?To terrorize somebody in their own home?To terrorize somebody in their own homein front of their children?Provocation?Rubbish.
SARAH FERGUSON: The unit is driving changein the way police officers view domestic violence, gettingthem to focus on the potential future risk to victims.
SEAN MCDERMOTT: We're not the first resort.We're the absolute last resort.And we need to teach our police that.We need to know that.And secondly, they need to know that we might notget another opportunity to get involved.Or the next time we come back, it could be a homicide.
OFFICER: Hi, guys.
SARAH FERGUSON: Friday night in Sydney.Throughout the city, police officersare handing over to the night shift.
COMMANDER: I need one person to follow up an arrest for a DVassault. Someone's already been down there todayto check on the welfare of that personand there was no response.
SARAH FERGUSON: I'm with Inspector ChrisLaird, a former prosecutor who works closelywith Sean McDermott.So what about you?Did you always get it?Did you understand what domestic violence was?
CHRIS LAIRD: Not really, when I first started.I just think when I was 19, and never saw an angry manuntil I joined the cops.Sadly, victims of domestic violencehave been taken advantage of for far too long.They've been bashed into submission.They don't know what they want to do.And I think, as you've seen in a lot of the push
CHRIS LAIRD [continued]: that we've been doing, is that if you don'twant to take action, we will.
SARAH FERGUSON: In Roselands, policehave pulled over a car that swervedin the middle of the road.[VOICES ON POLICE RADIO]It's a domestic violence crime.The woman, driving, was punched by her husband.Police are recording her statement on video.
WOMAN: Hit me, hit me, punch me, punch me.
OFFICER: Where were you sitting?
SARAH FERGUSON: The recording will be played in court,if the case goes to trial.
OFFICER: Never.Has he threatened you before?
WOMAN: When he's angry, he just say, maybe I better smash you.Then, you know, to stop all this, if I argue back,something like that.
OFFICER: And the behavior tonight,how did that make you feel?
WOMAN: I was scared.I was really scared.That's why I screamed and yelled out for people to help.
SARAH FERGUSON: It looks simple.But video statements are having a dramatic effect on convictionrates for domestic violence.
WOMAN: Because I know there's a lot of other peoplelike me, too, out there.
OFFICER: Absolutely.It's the first time I'm using it, but it's just great.And being at the scene, as well, it's easier for herto remember what's happened at the time,as everything's fresh in her memory.
SARAH FERGUSON: Once it's recorded,it's also much harder for the victimto change her story under pressure from her partner.
OFFICER: OK, the time is now 9:54 PM.We're resuming the video statement.OK.I'm now going to ask you some questions in relationto an application for an apprehended domestic violenceorder.Has he ever assaulted you or children before?
WOMAN: Yeah, he did.
OFFICER: He did?When was that?
CHRIS LAIRD: The poor lady.The account that she's given is just so compelling.If this did have to go to court, look where we are now.Trying to recreate the scene-- it's impossible.
SARAH FERGUSON: You can get, effectively,the drama of all of this straight into the court.
CHRIS LAIRD: Right now, yeah.The police officer's done a fantastic job.He was trained last week.It's like he's been doing it for years.And he's a transit police officer.His job is not dealing with domestics, day in and day out.So the fact that he's able to get the best available evidencefrom this poor woman, it's a game-changer for the police
CHRIS LAIRD [continued]: force, that's for sure.
SARAH FERGUSON: A game-changer.
CHRIS LAIRD: Yeah.
SARAH FERGUSON: I heard what you justsaid to the police officer.You've had a hell of a night, haven't you?
WOMAN: I don't wish it's me, happening to me.But people always think that I'm-- I'm the bad person.You know, they see how he is good when he's not drunk,and they think that it was me that'scausing all the arguments and things like that.
SARAH FERGUSON: So he's a different personto the rest of the world?
WOMAN: A very different person.
SARAH FERGUSON: Her husband pleaded guilty to assaultand was sentenced to 12 months in prison.According to police, it was the video statementthat secured the guilty plea.[SIREN BLARING][VOICES ON POLICE RADIO]
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: [INAUDIBLE]All cars exercise caution.[INAUDIBLE] with a small kitchen knife, possibly a second knife,as well.
SARAH FERGUSON: In a nearby suburb,another woman has been assaulted.A 60-year-old woman has been stabbed at homeby her ex-partner.Despite the seriousness of the attack,it's the first time the police have had any contactwith either of them.
DISPATCHER: We're looking for a male, 160 to 170, tall,short grey hair.Supposedly went over the back fence.
OFFICER: Have we heard back the dog yet?
OFFICER: Yeah, he's off.
OFFICER: Yeah, he took off that way.
OFFICER: They've got a middle-aged womanthat's been assaulted.It's a laceration to her chest and puncturewound to her chest.And she has a head injury caused by some sort of blunt forceobject.
SARAH FERGUSON: As the shift comes to an end,the ex-partner of the stabbing victim has been found.He'd been hiding in a nearby riverbed.
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: I've returned to Blacktown Hospital in Western Sydney,to the Domestic Violence Forensic Unit--another innovation in the treatment of domestic violence.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: Is that pretty sore?
SARAH FERGUSON: Dr. Maria Nittis and Dr. Fernando Pisani recordspecialized evidence of assault to helppolice secure convictions.
DR. MARIA NITTIS: We're a forensic medical service.And what we'll do is we'll get a story from youabout what's happened.We may need to go back a little bitto get some context about the relationshipand what's happened in the past.
SARAH FERGUSON: This is the only forensic unitof its kind in the country.Along with photographic evidence,the doctors record a detailed historyof how the violence escalated.
PATIENT: --Very violent person.
DR. MARIA NITTIS: Has he ever strangled or choked you?
DR. MARIA NITTIS: OK.
PATIENT: In the beginning, yeah.You know, with the tie?With, like, neck tie?
DR. MARIA NITTIS: With a neck tie?
DR. MARIA NITTIS: So he pulled it tight?
PATIENT: Yeah.He was hitting me, too.Write it down that you're going to kill yourself and putthe signature, so I can kill you and I won't go to jail.
DR. MARIA NITTIS: So he's making you write a suicide note.
SARAH FERGUSON: Nadira, as we'll call her,was separated from her husband, but they stilllived in the same house.
DR. MARIA NITTIS: And most of those bruises on your armsare mainly from him trying to grip you?
NADIRA: Grip me, and he was punching me.And like mostly, he was getting from my hair and--
DR. MARIA NITTIS: Throwing you.
NADIRA: Throwing me everywhere, hitting on the walls.And then, you know, and he said that if you don'twant to live with me as a husband and wife,I will kill you, and I will kill myself.
PATIENT: We were arguing and arguing.He then grabbed me around the throatand strangled and held me there.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: So he was sort of pinching youwith his fingers, was it?
PATIENT: Yeah, like the thumb would be going in further.One was down here, and one was here.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: OK.
SARAH FERGUSON: Three days earlier, Lornawas assaulted by her partner of six years.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: It is escalating.
SARAH FERGUSON: It wasn't the first time.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: In what way doyou think it's escalating, the violence?
LORNA: Him punching me in the face.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: OK, so that'snot something he has done in the past.
LORNA: He's done it in the past, but here.But it's getting more and more frequent.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: OK.
LORNA: Trying to hold me and hurt me in any type of way.It's just become more violent than what it was.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: OK.Can I get you to swallow?Does it hurt when you do that?
LORNA: A little.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: And how sore is that?
LORNA: That's very sore.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: OK.Now can I get you to look down a little bit?That's it.[CAMERA CLICKS]There.Just like this.[CAMERA CLICKS]
DR. FERNANDO PISANI [continued]: [CAMERA CLICKS][CAMERA CLICKS]
DR. MARIA NITTIS: We help the police with their job.If we can help them put a better brief together--
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: Lift your head up a bit.Thank you.
DR. MARIA NITTIS: --that's enormously important.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: So that's about 4.
DR. MARIA NITTIS: We're not here to say that every woman istelling the 100% truth.We're not here to say that every man is evil.That's not our job.[CAMERA CLICKS]Our job is to look objectively at the injuries that they have,compare that to the story that they give us,to help find where the truth might lie.[CAMERA CLICKS]
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: Now, this is the bruiseand the swelling you have on the cheek.And so that's the bruising at the side of the neck.Those are the scratches I showed you on your back.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: And that's the bruise at the bottom there.It's just on the ribcage.
SARAH FERGUSON: What's it like, seeingthose pictures of yourself?
LORNA: Pretty disheartened.Because I really do love him.But it's not love if it's like that, really,at the end of the day.It's pretty upsetting to know that he's done that to me, so.Really, at the end of the day, it'sreally hard, especially knowing that he's tried
LORNA [continued]: that to hurt me on purpose, so.Yeah.It's very hard.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: But now it's-- you have to thinkof the future now.So it's all done.Just make sure.He will try to come back and tell you he's changed,and he still loves you.But people like him, unfortunately,don't change very quickly.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: So.
LORNA: It's just very upsetting to know that it's come to this.
DR. FERNANDO PISANI: That's right.And that's probably not the worst of it, is it?
DR. MARIA NITTIS: I mean, I can't imagine.I can't imagine what life's been like for you, girl.But you have to do what's right for you,and you have to do what's right for your family.And that's-- I get that, whatever you want to do.But sometimes these things don't change with menif-- if you don't take a stand.
DR. MARIA NITTIS [continued]: It just-- sometimes it can get worse.It can get out of hand.And I think that's probably why you're here,is because enough is enough.
NADIRA: I know.It's out of my control now.I can't--
DR. MARIA NITTIS: Can't continue like this.
SARAH FERGUSON: Nadira moved into a refuge later that day.She never returned home.
INTERVIEWER: This is an electronically recordedinterview, number R0264181, being conductedat Bateman's Bay Police Station, Wednesday, the 6th of February,2013.Will you please state your name?
ELIZABETH: [SOBBING][VOICE ON POLICE RADIO]
INTERVIEWER: What can you tell meabout the allegation of you assaulting Elizabeth?
OFFICER: This bloke-- this bloke will kill you.
INTERVIEWER: You don't want to tell me anything in relationto that?
STEVE: I did not assault Elizabeth.
OFFICER: What did you use to smash the windows of the car?
OFFICER: Bricks?No pitchfork?
STEVE: I think I did.I done a pitchfork with one of them, till I found bricks.
SARAH FERGUSON: Steve is now in prison in Nowra.
STEVE: i was watching a show last night,and it's got like-- it had the Hulk.You know what I mean, when he gets upset and that?And how he goes on?But he's there to help people.
SARAH FERGUSON: Yeah.
SARAH FERGUSON: It's week five for the domestic violencecourse.Steve was sentenced to 12 months for assaulting his partnerand smashing their car.I remember you saying that you were wild.I'm just looking at you.You're a big bloke.If you were wild, I reckon I'd be really scared.
SARAH FERGUSON: You're very-- you're very strong.
STEVE: Get wild and a short fuse.Just-- they might say something you don't like,or do something, or--
OFFICER: Since 2000, you've been recorded in 22 AVOs,and currently you've got three enforceable AVOs.
STEVE: Yeah, shit.
OFFICER: Do you agree with that?That's a lot.That's a lot.
INTERVIEWER: Are you aware of an AVObetween yourself and Elizabeth?
INTERVIEWER: And can you tell me what those conditions are?
STEVE: Not to harass her or-- be good behavior,and not to, like, torment her or hit her, and that's it.That's, like, just the main bit.
OFFICER: Just [INAUDIBLE] the bureau corner.Just want you to get that on there, and broken glass.
SARAH FERGUSON: At the time Elizabethwas assaulted in 2013, police were trialing video evidenceat domestic incidents.
OFFICER: [INAUDIBLE] 5th of February, 2013.
SARAH FERGUSON: The police had arrived just minutesafter the assault.
OFFICER: We were called here because we had an allegationthat your partner choking you.You understand that?
OFFICER: Can you tell me what's happened tonight?
ELIZABETH: Um, I don't know what happened tonight.I don't remember.I really don't remember.
OFFICER: Has he put his hands around your throat tonight?
SARAH FERGUSON: Initially, Elizabeth was too scaredto make a statement.
ELIZABETH: I don't-- no, I don't remember.
THERAPIST: And what sparked the argument?
STEVE: Um, locked the door and wouldn't let me in there.
THERAPIST: So she locked the door and wouldn't let you in.How were you feeling then?
STEVE: I was pissed off, angry.
THERAPIST: You were pissed off.That was starting to make you cranky?What happened in the next square?
STEVE: Um, I opened the door.
THERAPIST: You opened the door.How'd you open it?
STEVE: I opened the window and unlocked the door.
OFFICER: He climbed in through the window.So that window there, behind the officer--
ELIZABETH: That's [INAUDIBLE].
OFFICER: All right, so he's got in through there.Is that [INAUDIBLE]?
THERAPIST: You're getting crankier.She's still won't give you the keys.
THERAPIST: So what happened then?
STEVE: She rang the police?
THERAPIST: So you didn't touch her at all?
STEVE: Not then.Not then.
THERAPIST: Not then.When did you actually hit her?
STEVE: When I grabbed her phone.
THERAPIST: What was going through your mind then?
STEVE: I was thinking, like, why the fuckyou ringing the police for?What'd I do?She started getting a bit louder and round with me,and I just grabbed her and put her in a headlock.
THERAPIST: You grabbed her and put her in a headlock.Well, put that there.And what was going through your mind then?
STEVE: I just thought I'd keep it quiet and-- and-- tryand calm things down.
THERAPIST: What did she do?Did she fought back to you?
STEVE: No, she end up, um, putting her to sleep.
THERAPIST: Put her to sleep?
STEVE: Yeah, she passed out.
OFFICER: How'd you get the red marks on your neck, ma'am?
ELIZABETH: I don't know.I don't know.
OFFICER: Just lift your neck up, will you,and show us your throat, then.It's obvious to us that he's assaulted you some way.He's at least-- would you agree that youfelt threatened by him tonight?
OFFICER: [INAUDIBLE] scared for him?
ANNIE GRENFELL: Why was she telling themeverything was fine?
STEVE: I don't know.
LOGAN: She was scared because she knewwhat you were going to do next.[CHUCKLES]
ANNIE GRENFELL: But even when she came aroundand you'd got her in a headlock, she'sstill saying to the police, oh, it's OK.He's OK.
ANNIE GRENFELL: She was afraid of you?
STEVE: I don't know.And we seemed all right.She just wanted them to go.And they called her out the house, said, come down here.We want to talk to you.That's when I took off out the back door, gone.
OFFICER: The time's now 11--
SARAH FERGUSON: The officer and Elizabeth's sister convincedher to make a statement.
ELIZABETH: I rang triple zero, but it onlygot through to a little bit before hegot through the window.I tried to run out the back door,and then he came behind me.And then I think he put his arm around me.He was choking me.And he was-- I tried to scream, but I couldn't talk.I couldn't breathe.
ELIZABETH [continued]: And then all I remember was, um, waking up on the ground,on the floor, and he was still yelling at me.He kept going, and I couldn't get up.But I was saying, please don't touch me.You promised me you weren't going to touch me anymore.
THERAPIST: So if you had the videoand you could rewind it back to a certain pointand start again, where would you rewind it to?
STEVE: I would have just-- I'd have went home to my houseand come back the next day.
THERAPIST: So you can see that--
ANNIE GRENFELL: That was the point?
STEVE: Yeah.I wouldn't have even went back, back to her place.
THERAPIST: Hm.It's easy to say, isn't it?
SARAH FERGUSON: Steve is due for release in a few weeks.What do you think it'll be like when you get out?
STEVE: Uh, bit older now, and a bit wiser.
SARAH FERGUSON: Mm-hm.
SARAH FERGUSON: Think you've picked up anything from this?
STEVE: Yeah.Just, uh, like how it impacts others, and just [INAUDIBLE].Stop and breathe, and stuff.
SARAH FERGUSON: Stop and breathe?
STEVE: Maybe have a drink of water?
SARAH FERGUSON: Mm-hm.
STEVE: Yeah.Because a lot of people, we got tempers, short fuses.
SARAH FERGUSON: Have you got a bad temper?
STEVE: Yeah.And you gotta learn how to control it.
SARAH FERGUSON: Mm-hm.
STEVE: [INAUDIBLE] it'll get to you.
SARAH FERGUSON: What about women?Are women afraid of you?
STEVE: I don't know.I don't know how they think when they approach me.
SARAH FERGUSON: Should they be afraid of you?
SARAH FERGUSON: Would you hurt a woman again?
STEVE: No.It just comes into the thinking part,and think of the consequences next time.Because the sentences ain't getting any shorter.
SARAH FERGUSON: Mm.
SARAH FERGUSON: Elizabeth has movedfrom the town where she lived with Steveand is rebuilding her life.For some women, leaving is the most dangerous act of all.New South Wales Coroner Michael Barneshas a team which reviews the circumstances
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: of all domestic violence homicides.
MICHAEL BARNES: Overwhelmingly, the victims are female.And more men are murdered, but almostnever by their intimate partner, whereas almost all women whoare murdered are murdered by an intimate partner.
SARAH FERGUSON: Mm.Are you safe from your partner if you leave?
MICHAEL BARNES: Separation, in fact,can be a very dangerous time because of the natureof domestic violence.Because it seems to be biased on a need for the perpetratorto control his intimate partner.So it can go quite quickly from controlling, jealous, abusivebehavior to fatal violence.
NEWS ANCHOR: Police are investigatingthe death of a 32-year-old woman in her North Shore unit.Police were called to the home in Mosmanafter Kate Malonyay failed to show up for work.A crime scene's been established,but police say a post-mortem examination will be neededto establish how she died.Ms. Malonyay was employed--[MUSIC PLAYING]
ELECTRONIC VOICE: Level 3.
SARAH FERGUSON: Wendy Malonyay is at Hurstville PoliceStation, in Sydney.She's here to make a speech.Wendy's audience is 45 trainee detectives.
WENDY MALONYAY: Still not easy. [CHUCKLES]There's the pain of losing Kate every day.And I think if I'm going to keep living with pain,let's turn around and do something positive about it.Good afternoon, everybody.
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: In January of 2013, my daughter, Kate,ended a one-year relationship with her boyfriend,Elliott Coulson.She'd had enough of the verbal abuseand the control, the jealousy, and the compulsive lying.Coulson continued to harass Kate by sending abusive phonemessages and stalking her.Three months later, in April of 2013,
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: he brutally murdered Kate in her Mosman unit.I spend a lot of time still ponderingas to whether there was anything that could have been doneto save my daughter's life.My son and I often discuss the fact that none of us,including Kate, thought that this would ever happen.I often recall Kate saying to me, don't worry, Mom.
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: He won't hurt me.He's too much of a coward.But the reality is, murder can happen to anyone at any time.
SARAH FERGUSON: In 2013, Kate Malonyay was 32.She lived in a unit in the Sydney suburb of Mosman.She had a good job with a financial firm in the city,where she'd met two of her closest friends, MelissaMeredith and Brigid Meagher.
MELISSA MEREDITH: When I first met her,she was this absolutely stunning creature,walking around, being introduced to the other PAs.[LAUGHTER]And-- and she just had this massive smile.And she was beautiful.Beautiful to look at, but that smile, and that warmth.And I remember saying to one of the other girls,
MELISSA MEREDITH [continued]: have you met Kate?What a glamazon.
SARAH FERGUSON: Kate's partner was 32-year-old ElliottCoulson, a combat systems operatorin the Australian Navy.
MELISSA MEREDITH: Right at the very beginning,when Kate and Elliott met, they met online.And they met at around October, November, online.And Kate didn't actually get to meet him until Januarythe following year.You know, I feel like he was almostgrooming her and figuring out, how far can he push this girl?
SARAH FERGUSON: Do you remember meeting him for the first time?
WENDY MALONYAY: My impression then was he was charming.He was a gentleman.He was polite.Yeah, but Kate did most of the talking.
SARAH FERGUSON: Could you imagine him and Katetogether long-term, then?
WENDY MALONYAY: You know, she was justdrawn in with what he was offering her, and the charm.Yeah.They were talking about marriage, yeah.
SARAH FERGUSON: Wendy came to see a different sideto Coulson.And were there those classic things there, too, the controland things like that?
WENDY MALONYAY: He definitely did control Kate.He never allowed Kate to meet his family.That was through lying.She never met any of his workmates or friends.And he was very jealous if he ever saw her with another manin the group.He just wanted Kate to himself.
SARAH FERGUSON: Coulson lied to Kateabout his age, his wealth, his job.He even invented tragedies from his childhood.And while there was no evidence of physical violencein the relationship, Coulson was often verbally abusive.
MELISSA MEREDITH: The things that he would saywere-- you know, he would say some vulgar things.And he would send messages of a really horrendous nature.And it escalated.It was escalating.
BRIGID MEAGHER: We thought, at the time, that it wasn't OK.But how did we not see just how much this was--how out of control it was?
SARAH FERGUSON: A year into the relationship,Coulson's behavior was deteriorating further.
MELISSA MEREDITH: There were a coupleof incidents where his behavior was justgetting more and more strange.He was drinking a lot.He was getting more abusive.So Kate was getting fed up with all of this.
SARAH FERGUSON: In January, a large groupof Kate's girlfriends met at the Opera Bar.
MELISSA MEREDITH: Things were kicking along nicely,and it was a nice afternoon.And then I got wind that Kate had received a text messagefrom Elliott to Decided he was goingto come down and-- and meet us.
BRIGID MEAGHER: So he showed up, and he came drunk,and seeming-- on guard would be the best way to put it.Melissa made a comment to him sort of under her breath.And he obviously saw it, and he becameso agitated and so angry.
BRIGID MEAGHER [continued]: And then he was reaching across, and he was yelling and saying,I can see you.You know, he was.It was really dominant, like he was there with his chestpuffed out.
MELISSA MEREDITH: It would almost distort his face.It would just sort of shift into-- I don't knowif it was rage, or what it was.
BRIGID MEAGHER: And then he took Kate away,and he stood just up here with her.And he was saying to her, it's just you and me.It's just you and me.Like, you can't-- look, you know, they're against us.You know, we're happy.I love you.
MELISSA MEREDITH: We saw a fractionof what he was capable of that night,like a tiny little fraction of what he was capable of.
SARAH FERGUSON: When you recall him here,and that look on his face that you're talking about,that rage, do you ever think about the night that she died?
BRIGID MEAGHER: Um--
MELISSA MEREDITH: [INAUDIBLE].Sorry.I don't want to do this anymore. anymore.I didn't mean to stir things up.
BRIGID MEAGHER: He was angry like thatbecause he knew it was over.He knew that he didn't have her anymore.
MELISSA MEREDITH: She would have been so [INAUDIBLE].
SARAH FERGUSON: Later that evening, Coulsonwent to Kate's apartment alone and smashedsome of her possessions.She decided to end the relationship.
WENDY MALONYAY: We were concernedthat he was stalking her.After the relationship finished, she cleaned the flatand she bought a new bed.And she started getting vulgar, crude text messages from himabout the bed.Sleeping with other men.So he knew that this bed had arrived,so he must have been watching the flat.And that's when we really pushed the fact that she
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: should change the locks.And yeah, she'd come up one weekend,and I said, what about the locksmith?Oh, he didn't turn up.I'll have to rebook him.She just kept making excuses.And again-- don't worry, Mum.He's not going to hurt me.
SARAH FERGUSON: In April, for the first time,Kate spoke to Coulson's family and learnedthat a lot of things Elliott had told her about himselfwere false.
WENDY MALONYAY: This is really strange.Why are you still in contact with the family?I said, just leave it, Kate.Let it go.
SARAH FERGUSON: Around that time,Coulson and Kate exchanged a series of brief texts,but there were no plans to meet.On Wednesday, April the 17th, Kate left the officeand made her way home to Mosman.
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: That afternoon, Elliott Coulson had alsotaken the ferry from Circular Quay to Mosman.Coulson remained in Mosman for two days.
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: On Friday, he called Virgin Airlines.
ELLIOTT COULSON: Yeah, I'd just like to booka ticket to the Gold Coast from Sydney today, please.
AGENT: Just a one-way flight?
ELLIOTT COULSON: One-way, please.Yes, thank you.Is there any business class seats available?
AGENT: Yes, we do have business available.499.
ELLIOTT COULSON: OK, I'll take one of those, please.
AGENT: And can I get your last name, please?
ELLIOTT COULSON: Yeah, Coulson.C-O-U-L-S-O-N.
AGENT: And your first name?
ELLIOTT COULSON: Elliott.
AGENT: And the card is under your name?
ELLIOTT COULSON: Uh, no, it's under my girlfriend's name.Her name is Kate Malonyay, M-A-L-O-N-Y-A-Y.
SARAH FERGUSON: Coulson took Kate's mobile phone with him.Her friends and her mother kept calling.
WENDY MALONYAY: Hi, tried again.You must still be asleep.Give us a ring when you wake up.
MELISSA MEREDITH: It's just Melissa.I'm just calling to say hi.Haven't actually spoken to you since Wednesday.I know you've been sick.I'm just a little bit worried about you.
MAN: Just [INAUDIBLE], because wehad you down for an appointment here this morningwith Carl at 11:00.
WENDY MALONYAY: Hey, Kate.Just wondered how you're going.Maybe gonna ring tonight, maybe later.Talk to you soon.Love, Mom.
WOMAN: I'm worried.And I just want you to call me so I can hear your voiceand make sure that everything's OK.
SARAH FERGUSON: There were no more calls from Kate.But her friends and her mother continued to receive textsfrom her number.
WENDY MALONYAY: But when I got the message back saying shewas sick with a migraine-- I know what my daughter's like.She doesn't like being disturbed.And I just kept sending her messages.But I was getting replies saying,I'm feeling a bit better.You know?I'll call you.So I never got to speak to her again.Well, that was, yeah, past tense.
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: She'd already been killed.
MELISSA MEREDITH: The first thinkI thought about on Monday, I justwanted to get into the office, and I just wanted to see Kate.
BRIGID MEAGHER: Melissa came to see me on Monday morning,and she was absolutely-- frazzled is the word I use,but she was very stressed.
MELISSA MEREDITH: Kate still wasn't answering the phone,and she was sending me messages back to say, you know,don't worry.I'm OK.I don't need you to panic.I need to tell you something, but I can only tell you.And that wasn't typical behavior.And we decided the next course of actionwas going to be the police.
SARAH FERGUSON: Police came to Kate's unit on the harbor.Steve Hunt was the lead detective.
STEVE HUNT: And got the call, concern for welfare.So the police came down here and checked on the apartment.This one here.The window was partially open.But once they'd got it a little bit open,they'd just managed to pull the blinds apart.
SARAH FERGUSON: And what did they see through the blinds?
STEVE HUNT: Through the blinds, they can see the bed,and Kate was lying face up, and shehad the doona up to her neck.
SARAH FERGUSON: How much violence was there in that unitthat night?
STEVE HUNT: Well, a lot.To disarm Kate, she's been definitely assaulted.And there was a lot of blood, so she's met a violent end.
SARAH FERGUSON: Melissa and Brigid received a visitfrom the police.
MELISSA MEREDITH: I just knew, as soonas I saw that Reception were calling me and asking me,come out to reception.It was just that panic.And could can just feel that shot of adrenaline going.I remember just looking at Brigidand then looking at these faces, and itwas like, it was Elliott.You need to find Elliott.And that was just, like, the first thing,just straight away.
SARAH FERGUSON: Wendy was at work all day,her phone switched off.In the evening, a policeman arrived at her door.
WENDY MALONYAY: He just introduced himself,that he was from North Sydney Police.Could he come inside?Came in here and basically just said, you know,that she'd been found dead in her flat.Yeah, and that's when I said, oh, it was him.He did it, didn't he?I just remember buckling over in pain, basically.Yeah, I just couldn't believe it.
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: Just disbelief-- no, it's not happening to me.
SARAH FERGUSON: Did you ask many questions that nightabout what had happened?
WENDY MALONYAY: I wanted to know how she was killed.And that's where I knew he was struggling to relay-- you know,he couldn't say too much, but they justsaid they believed she was strangled.Yeah.I don't know.My heart just goes out.She would have been so frightened.And let's just hope it happened quickly, yeah.
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: Without too much suffering.Because honestly, he body was brutally attacked.I mean, I didn't recognize her when I went to view the body,because her face was just-- she had facial fractures.And-- yeah, just stop for a minute.It's awful.He-- he stayed in the unit for two days with her.
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: That horrifies me.I mean, it haunts me to know she was in that unit for fivedays-- dead.
SARAH FERGUSON: In Queensland, Coulson's behavior in publicappeared normal.He'd checked into the Marriott Hotel in Surfer's Paradise.In a penthouse suite on the 26th floor,he watched pornography on the internetand searched for stories about Kate's death.
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: On April the 22nd, when Steve Hunt and Queensland Policeentered the suite, Coulson stepped onto the balcony.
STEVE HALL: He's standing on the other side of the balcony.From where I was, I could just see Coulson, what looked like,pull away, and certainly pull his right arm away.Didn't say a word, and he just floatedsort of back down 26 floors.
REPORTER: This morning, as policewere trying to force their way into his room,he went over the balcony and fell 26 floors to his death.
SARAH FERGUSON: When the news broke,an ex-girlfriend of Elliott Coulsonapproached Queensland Police.
STEVE HALL: Anne's put forward a statement,but it hasn't been tested.But that statement is of such detail,and that detail is quite strikingly similarto the events that befell Kate.Anne says that they were at home.She told him that they were breaking up,
STEVE HALL [continued]: and he's pushed her head into a wall.Anne was an athlete and, fortunately for her, forced himoff her, ran to her room, where he forced his way inand was stomping on her.And again, she kicked him and got away.
STEVE HALL [continued]: She's very lucky.
SARAH FERGUSON: Coulson's ex-girlfriendsaid she'd been too afraid to press charges.Did he threaten her?
STEVE HALL: Yes, he was telling her he was going to kill her.
SARAH FERGUSON: A few days after Coulson's suicide,the Australian Navy, well aware of the circumstances of Kate'sdeath, gave him a funeral with full military honors.
MELISSA MEREDITH: Those kind of ceremonies are for heroes.And this guy was not a hero.No.He was no hero.
BRIGID MEAGHER: He took an incredibly beautiful friend.He took a little bit of my faith in human beings.He-- he took away that sort of lightness,and he made the world really ugly.Because this doesn't happen to people like us.
SARAH FERGUSON: When you look back on that periodafter they split up, is there anything nowthat you reproach yourself for, that youwish you'd done differently in that period?
WENDY MALONYAY: Yeah.Both myself and her close friends,we all say the same thing.Why didn't we just act, instead of--like, Kate was making the excuse.He's all right, Mum.And were just leaving it go, yeah.We weren't presuming that she was going to be murdered,but now, this is the message.Any of these signs, these subtle signs, for goodness' sake,
WENDY MALONYAY [continued]: just go to the police.Don't just sit there and wait for whathappened to my daughter.Because it's horrific.
SARAH FERGUSON: Like all of us who made this film,I'm sure that many of you are feeling pretty devastatedright now.And I wish there were easy answersto give you about what we should do, but there aren't any.What I learned from the courage of the women whochose to speak to us was that their stories demandnot just anger, but action.It's up to our political leaders to recommit and treat
SARAH FERGUSON [continued]: this as the national emergency it is.And we should speak plainly to our children--to girls and boys-- and to each other, and commit, if we can,to end this crisis in a generation.In the meantime, the women I met filmingare doing their best to start again.What is it that you like about your new life?
LORNA: The freedom.The sense of freedom.The knowing that I'm loved by my family,and just having my own self back,and having-- to be able to do thingsthat I never used to be able to do,and it's the smallest of things.I can walk up the road without getting a phone call--what are you doing?
LORNA [continued]: So it's a big change.
SARAH FERGUSON: Do you feel safe now?
LORNA: I do.I feel very safe.
SARAH FERGUSON: Since you've been in the refuge,do you think you're getting yourself back a bit?
NADIRA: Yeah.Yeah, I think once I take the step to get my own place,I think that's when the big change will come.And that's what I'm scared of, as well.That's why I've been sort of taking it slow.
ANNIE GRENFELL: Logan.Congratulations.
SARAH FERGUSON: Meanwhile, the perpetrators wemet in prison are graduating, ready for release.
LOGAN: Just want to say thank you.
SARAH FERGUSON: You're out soon.Do you think that you're going to be able to stay out of hereand stay out of domestic violence offenses?Stay away from that?
LOGAN: One can only hope so.I believe so, yes. [CHUCKLES]
SARAH FERGUSON: And Kristy Woods has had another baby.What are the chances of you gettinginto another bad relationship again?
KRISTY WOODS: No chance.
SARAH FERGUSON: No change?
KRISTY WOODS: No way.
SARAH FERGUSON: No way?
KRISTY WOODS: No.
SARAH FERGUSON: How come you're so sure?
KRISTY WOODS: Because I just won't let it happen.I mean, we're all worthwhile.And having this little one truly makes you feel worthwhile, too.[BABY COOS]It's a new life, you know?I don't have time to worry about the past.[LAUGHS] 'Cause-- 'cause I'm holding my future in my hands.
SARAH FERGUSON: Or I am.
KRISTY WOODS: Or you are.
SARAH FERGUSON: For the moment.
KRISTY WOODS: You're holding my future in your hands.
SARAH FERGUSON: He looks like a pretty good future.
KRISTY WOODS: Yeah.Yeah.[BABY COOS][MUSIC PLAYING]
Hitting Home, Part 2
View Segments Segment :
Domestic violence has historically been a hidden problem, only recently coming into the open. Sarah Ferguson examines the domestic violence crisis across Australia and the offenders who commit this crime. This documentary examines individual stories of abuse, policing strategies for domestic violence, and the murder of Kate Malonyay.
Domestic violence has historically been a hidden problem, only recently coming into the open. Sarah Ferguson examines the domestic violence crisis across Australia and the offenders who commit this crime. This documentary examines individual stories of abuse, policing strategies for domestic violence, and the murder of Kate Malonyay.