First published: December 3, 2011
BRONWYNNE Richardson's mother, Noel, was one of the first witnesses called at the inquest into her death this week.
She gave evidence with a strong resolve but at times her emotions were at breaking point.
After giving her evidence, she read a statement on behalf of herself and family expressing just how traumatic Bronwynne's death and the 38 years since have been.
This was the statement she read and gives an insight into the impact of the murder.
I am so proud to say that I am the mother of Bronwynne.
The tragic events that lead me to be here today and read this statement have been by far the most difficult and painful that myself and my family have ever had to find the strength to endure.
The heartache has been immense to all of us.
The tragic and needless loss of Bronwynne devastated us all and still does to this very day.
I don't even know where to begin to express the pain I hold in my heart.
There's not one single day that goes by that I don't have a thought of my daughter and these precious memories are all that's left now ... that and a grave.
What once was an amazing and beautiful, loving and gentle young woman is now and forever more just ashes that lie in the cold dark ground.
When Bronwynne was taken from me, a part of me also died that night with her, to wake up every day and have to face yet another day without Bronwynne is still such a struggle for me, my family and all who knew and loved her.
To have my child taken from me and her family at such a tender age under such horrendous circumstances is something I've been forced to live with against my will.
Bronwynne was a happy, charismatic, extremely loveable, funny and deeply caring human being.
All our lives are poorer for having lost her and all because of a cowardly act of rage, obsession and stupidity and we pray that it will haunt the perpetrators for the rest of their lives.
At only 17 years and nine months, she was an inspiration to me and others.
She was always there to listen, never did she complain.
To Bronwynne, her family and their happiness and well-being meant everything.
I was so lucky and rich to have her in my life.
I cannot emphasise enough how much she loved life.
My life stopped on October 12, 1973, and our family life crumbled forever.
Our beloved was snatched from us for the rest of our lives.
I have found it hard to make sense of my life.
I have an immense feeling of weariness, added to many years of anxiety and despair, waiting for answers, for justice so that I might be able to put "rest in peace" on her gravestone.
I suffer nightmares where I am searching for Bronnie and wake up screaming.
I feel I didn't protect her enough.
A story like ours destroys you very rapidly on all levels -- it destroys the family psychologically and financially.
We had a comfortable life in Corowa, we were surrounded by family and friends, but all that changed after Bronwynne's death.
We sold the house that we raised her in because the memories were too hard to bear every day.
We built a new home in another part of town and tried to settle, but things were too hard and the pain was a burden for us and our remaining daughters we had at home.
We were forced to sell up our house, business, our entire life and move to a safer place.
To be here today and tell you how this has affected me and my family is impossible.
Bronwynne's murder affected her siblings immensely with the breakdown of some relationships ongoing.
She died suffering in such a way.
I could never forget what was done to her.
This barbaric act is indescribable and inexcusable.
No human deserves such a death.
My daughter, Bronwynne, wanted to live.
She loved life and everything it had to offer.
She would enter and win country showgirl pageants representing Corowa in district finals.
She loved doing this because she loved the fact that she could raise money for charities.
My relationship with my daughter was wonderful and precious.
She was a beautiful, talented and exceptional human being with a heart of gold, who was adored by her brothers and sisters.
The heartache is always there.
In closing, I would like to say that it has taken immense strength for me not to collapse and I feel very fragile.
This is the first opportunity I have had in a forum such as this in 38 years to speak about our daughter and our pain and suffering.
I don't know what the outcome will be or what the future holds.
All I want is justice for Bronwynne so that she can rest in peace.
On behalf of my husband and family, we thank you.