Simon Gittany 39, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Cecilia Harnum by "causing her to fall" off the balcony of their rented 15th floor apartment overlooking Hyde Park on 30 July 2011. Gittany maintains he was trying to help her back to safety when she slipped. He faced a committal hearing yesterday in Downing Centre Local Court.
Lisa Harnum was a beautiful Canadian girl engaged to Simon Gittany. They lived in a very smart part of town, on the 15th floor overlooking the park in the heart of the city. Two months after Gittany asked her to marry him, he is accused of throwing her off their balcony to her death.
Gittany wanted to prove his innocence to the world so he posted online a series of intimate home videos and tender moments the couple shared, including his surprise proposal.
In one video, Gittany gets down on one knee and says "......I thank God every day for Cecilia, because she's a beautiful person, she has a beautiful heart and she's basically a gift from God for me." He went on to say how he had lost faith in women because "I couldn't find a woman that was going to serve me, going to love me." Cecilia then self-consciously covers her face with her hands, nods and tearfully embraces him.
Another video shows Cecilia being baptised into the Catholic Church. "After this moment, she knew heaven would be her eternal home with God her creator" the YouTube caption reads "Lisa Cecilia Harnum is in heaven and she has appeared to a few of us confirming that she truly made it to heaven."
Gittany's barrister Anthony Bellanto QC said that some police were baffled as to how Ms Harnum could have been forced off the balcony when it has glass barriers and metal bars. He also pointed out that Ms Harnum suffered from eating and sleeping disorders and the medication she took was known to have side effects that included irrational behaviour.
When asked to explain why Ms Harnum's fingerprints were not on the railings of the balcony, last year Mr Gittany's barrister Robert Richter QC told a Supreme Court bail hearing that Ms Harnum was a ballerina and suggested she could have leapt over the ledge, and subsequently to her death, quite easily.
It became clear that Cecilia was worried about her partner when she discovered he had been monitoring her phone calls and emails and she allegedly told friends he "absolutely controlled" her life.
But there is damning evidence. When Cecilia tried to escape, one minute after a cctv camera captures Simon Gittany violently dragging his fiance back into the apartment with one arm around her neck and a hand over her mouth, she lay dead on the footpath 15 storeys below. That final moment of her life was played to the committal hearing yesterday and a neighbour also gave evidence that she heard her screaming "God help me, help me" moments before she died.
Police found a packed travel bag with Ms Harnum's Canadian passport inside. Last year in March, her heartbroken mother said "All she wanted to do on that fateful day was get on a plane and come home to her family, knowing full well it was giving up her dream of getting Australian residency."
Crown Prosecutor Daniel Noll and Anthony Bellanto will appear again today before Magistrate Clare Farnan.
Ladies, be wary of a man who wants to make a big show of his proposal, http://annamariacom.blogspot.com.au/it reeks of narcissism. We see it more and more every day, frustrated wannabes who crave attention, getting down on one knee, preferably in front of a large audience, and then uploading it onto YouTube. It's sad and pathetic.
Edit 16 January 2013. The thing that saddens me most about this tragic case is that when a woman dies as a result of domestic violence, somehow the blame is taken off the man and turned back onto the woman. We know that his defence team has already tried to portray Cecilia as unstable by pointing out she had an eating disorder and sleep problems, which has nothing whatsoever to do with her death.
Edit 18 January 2013: Simon Gittany, 39, showed no emotion this afternoon when he was committed to face a jury for allegedly killing Lisa Cecilia Harnum, 30, in July 2011.
Simon Gittany trial begins http://annamariacom.blogspot.com.au/
Simon Gittany Guilty http://annamariacom.blogspot.com.au/
New witness in Simon Gittany case http://annamariacom.blogspot.com.au/