Tara Brown's mother Natalie Hinton and her partner Jonny Gardner are devastated by the recent domestic violent incident in Rockhampton. Pics Adam Head
Tara Brown's mother Natalie Hinton and her partner Jonny Gardner are devastated by the recent domestic violent incident in Rockhampton. Pics Adam Head

Families united by horrific domestic violence nightmare

THE tragedy of Karen Gilliland's alleged murder at the hands of her estranged partner is all too familiar for Jonny Gardner.

His family faced its own devastating loss in 2015 following the horrific murder of stepdaughter Tara Brown on the Gold Coast.

Ms Brown's ex-partner Lionel Patea was found guilty of her murder after he ambushed her as she left their daugter's daycare.

Mrs Gilliland's alleged murder, Mr Gardner said, was another tragedy that should have been prevented.

TRAGEDY: Tara Brown was killed in a violent domestic violence attack in 2015.
TRAGEDY: Tara Brown was killed in a violent domestic violence attack in 2015.

"I read the story as it was unfolding, and I jumped to the assumption that it was probably a partner or husband," he said.

"It brings tears every time you see something like this happening, especially when there's kids involved."

Both Mr Gardner and Tara's mother Natalie Hinton have since opened the Tara Brown Foundation for Domestic Violence Relief to both create awareness and raise funds for the growing crisis.

"We feel every single one [of these incidents], when kids are involved it just amplifies massively. Every single one of them hurt."

Mr Gardner extended his condolences to the Gilliland family during what would undoubtedly be their most challenging time.

"Our hearts just obviously go out to them and their children, it's hard to say. We obviously know the pain they're in, but no matter what anyone says it doesn't help the pain," he said.

"Each day is a new day; we do seriously feel for them and their children."

The pair has been vocal in their fight against domestic violence, even calling for a royal commission earlier this year following the murder of ­Brisbane woman Hannah Clarke and her three children.

Rockhampton woman Karen Gilliland and her three children.
Rockhampton woman Karen Gilliland and her three children.

"At the moment I think we're averaging one woman being killed per week, which is actually higher than the normal average. But the figure is always too high, anything over zero is too high."

Attempts by politicians to piggy back off public outrage has done little to positively impact the necessary changes needed, he said.

"Police attempt to throw lots of money and resources at it, yet here we are with this still happening," he said.

"We need more physical change, more refuges, but also counselling for the women so they're not left unsupported after leaving a violent situation."

BRAVE: The family of Karen Gilliland front media today in Rockhampton to thank first responders and the community.
BRAVE: The family of Karen Gilliland front media today in Rockhampton to thank first responders and the community.

He also suggested a police officer specialised in domestic violence be available at Police Stations across Australia.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.


Set to boil: ‘Water wars’ about to ramp up over Dunoon dam

Premium Content Set to boil: ‘Water wars’ about to ramp up over Dunoon dam

RESULTS of water plan’s public exhibition feedback to Rous were leaked to a group...

SBS food journey samples some of our region’s top nosh

Premium Content SBS food journey samples some of our region’s top nosh

FIVE-PART series promises to take viewers on a journey to some of the best...

Get ready for a rollercoaster week of weather

Premium Content Get ready for a rollercoaster week of weather

MAXIMUM temperatures are set to vary by as much as 10 degrees this week.