28 October, 2012Reporter: Ross Coulthart
Producer: Mick O’Donnell
Associate Producer: Debi Marshall
In December 2009, Nadine Haag, a fit, healthy 33-year-old woman in the middle of a bitter dispute with her former partner, was found dead in the shower of her Sydney unit.
Based on what they saw at the scene – her wrist slashed, empty pill packets strewn around the bathroom and a supposed ‘suicide’ note in Nadine’s hand – NSW Police immediately deduced she had taken her own life. But had she?
Disturbingly, police had missed a secret message hidden under the ‘suicide note’ that read, “He did it”. They also missed the same message scratched into the bathroom wall tile with pen. Dissatisfied with police findings, her distraught family are now awaiting the findings of an inquest to discover the truth about what happened to vivacious Nadine. Did she commit suicide, or was she murdered?
According to Nadine’s diaries, submitted to the inquest, Nestore knows all about violence towards women: growing up, he regularly witnessed his father’s physical and emotional abuse of his mother. When she eventually left her violent husband, he took his own life.
In 2006 Nestore, an IT expert met 30-year-old Nadine, a dance instructor, in Brisbane. They fell in love and shortly after, Nadine fell pregnant and moved to Sydney with Nestore. But Nadine’s happiness was short-lived. Within a short time, according to the evidence of Nadine’s family at the inquest, Nestore became controlling and demeaning - abuse that Nadine, an obsessive writer, recorded in her diaries. The inquest heard that Nestore controlled the household finances, giving her the bare minimum of money to survive.
The inquest was told that by the middle of 2009, Nestore was increasingly hostile and physically violent. Nestore Guizzon denied in the inquest and in Sunday Night’s interview that he had been violent or threatening towards her. Relationship counselling failed and, broke and desperate, Nadine took a job as a night packer so she could save money to leave with her daughter. A GP noted that Nadine suffered no self-harm or suicidal tendencies. When Nadine finally left Nestore and returned to her family in Queensland, she wrote to him explaining why she was going, including outlining fears for her own, and her daughter’s safety. She sought an AVO from NSW police. It was declined.
In August, 2009 Nadine reluctantly relocated to Sydney. She sought another AVO against Nestore and this, too was declined. She found accommodation at Castle Hill and instructed that no one disclose her address to Nestore. He hired the video, State of Play, about a murder staged to look like suicide from a video store less than two minutes from Nadine’s apartment. With their financial dispute becoming increasingly bitter, Nadine was preparing to return to Queensland with the child. Her family says she was ecstatic, happier than she had been in years.
On Dec 3, the last day of her life, Nadine had a busy day planned. But she failed to keep an appointment with her lawyer that afternoon and did not pick up her daughter at the arranged hand-over at 5pm. Nestore has given conflicting statements to police about his whereabouts on the day. His phone records also place him at Castle Hill for six hours – the suburb where Nadine lived.
On December 4, Nadine was found dead in the shower at her home. Her left wrist was cut through to the bone. There was barely a spot of blood on the walls. The cold water tap was running and there were 33 unexplained bruises on her body. The bathroom was littered with empty painkiller packets but, when the family insisted on a toxicology report, there was virtually no sign of the drugs in her system. Three towels and two steak knives, gifted to Nadine from her family not long before, were missing from the apartment. So, too was the dress she was wearing on the morning she died.
While police deemed it suicide, Nadine’s family set about the terrible task of collecting evidentiary material that police had missed. This included the secret words “He did it” under the supposed suicide note, in which she does not say goodbye to her family. OIC Julia Brown proffered the theory that in Nadine’s mind, Nestore had mentally made her take her own life. That theory was called into question when earlier this year, tenants in Nadine’s former flat found an inscription in pen scrawled on bathroom wall tiles that also read, “He did it.” Police had missed this message from the grave, too.
Nadine’s family are adamant she did not commit suicide. They say she was happier than she had been in a long time, making plans to return home to her family, away from Nestore. They say she was also a loving mother to a child she adored and that she would never have willingly left her daughter. They are determined to keep fighting until the truth is found.
If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline Australia - 13 11 14 or beyondblue: the national depression initiative 1300 22 4636.
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