A policeman said he'd never seen such a tragic situation in over 40 years policing. On Friday night, a homeless woman who had been living rough in bushland, just metres away from private homes, was found crying behind a fence with horrific burns to 80 per cent of her body. They found her lying face down in the bush with injuries so severe, she couldn't be identified. Police were shocked and said she must have been in terrible agony for days.
She told police a man had thrown chemicals at her about a week ago in a park in Liverpool. Her wounds had turned black and all her hair was burnt off. Her head look deformed, as though she had been in a car accident.
There were people all around her, they heard her crying and saw her shuffling up and down their street - Ferraro Crescent, West Hoxton, near the Sydney suburb of Liverpool - but residents believed she didn't want their help and left her alone.
But there were those who did help her. One woman gave her food and money for bus fare, another came home to find her using her garden tap to bathe her wounds. When she suggested calling an ambulance, the woman pleaded with her not to, and hurried away.
Residents of Ferraro Crescent, West Hoxton
Another resident, Lesley Billington, said they were scared of her and is feeling guilty for not stepping in earlier. "None of us helped her" she said. "We all saw her, we all watched her - it makes me feel sick." But Detective Superintendent James Johnson said she didn't want to be taken to hospital when they found her. She was taken to Concord Hospital and put into an induced coma.
Her name is Monika Chetty, the mother of three children, two boys 15 and 13 and a girl 6. Police contacted her ex-husband Ronald Chetty who said he had no idea what happened to her. "We split up about five years ago and she rings every so often to talk to the kids, she seemed okay last time we spoke" he said.
He said she rang him about three years ago and asked him to take the children because she was homeless. To his knowledge, she has never suffered from any mental problems. "I'll take my eldest son to visit her in hospital tomorrow, the others are a bit young" he said.
Edit 1 February 2014: Monika Chetty passed away yesterday in Concord Hospital.