‘Living nightmare’: Salim’s ex after smothering
A woman who was suffocated by a controversial politician has taken to social media to break her silence over her “living nightmare”.
Salim Mehajer is facing sentencing after he was found guilty of perpetrating six counts of domestic violence against his former partner.
A jury took less than a day to return their guilty verdict on Wednesday after a three-week trial.
Jurors accepted the former Auburn deputy mayor had subjected his girlfriend to four vicious assaults over two years while the pair were dating.
The victim took to social media to thank everyone who supported her through the “living nightmare” she endured at Mehajer’s hands.
“Whether you were called up, supported me from a distance, or if you’re just a stranger who sent a message thinking I probably wouldn’t even see it,” she said.
“I saw it. It made a difference.”
The woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, said she hoped that the highly publicised outcome of Mehajer’s trial would encourage other victims to report domestic violence.
“I hope that other survivors have been watching this and I hope you feel empowered to find a way out,” she wrote.
“I hope that other abusers see this and are afraid that the truth can expose them too.”
On the same day the victim broke her silence, Mehajer told the NSW District Court that he had already lodged a notice of intention to appeal the guilty verdict.
“I say the images provided by the complainant have been manipulated or tampered with,” he said.
The 36-year-old told the court that bruising and swelling had been edited into images of injuries sustained by his former partner.
Judge James Bennett acknowledged Mehajer had attempted during the trial to elicit evidence from an expert in relation to the alleged doctoring of the photos.
“(He) was unsuccessful in that endeavour,” he said.
The former politician told the court he had engaged an expert who would provide a report about the images by Wednesday.
Judge Bennett adjourned the matter to return to court on May 17, the day before Mehajer is due to appear in court ahead of an unrelated trial.
Crown prosecutor Ken Gilson said Mehajer had been “charming and nice” when the couple first met, but their three-year relationship was marred by his “bouts of episodes of anger”.
In one violent incident, the court was told the 36-year-old punched his girlfriend in the head 10 times during a heated argument in his car.
Later that month, he accused his partner of letting people into his home to steal his belongings and became infuriated.
The court was told the embattled former politician knelt on top of the victim as she lay on a bed and grabbed her hand so forcefully that her phone screen cracked and cut into her hand.
During an argument about the woman’s ex-boyfriend, the jury was told Mehajer became enraged and dragged the victim through the house before pinning her against the wall of the laundry room.
He threatened to end her life and kill her mum by “putting a bullet in her head”.
“Listen here you little sl*t, if you ever go to the police, I’ll get you and I’ll get your mum,” the court heard he told her.
The former politician told the woman she wouldn’t be safe if he went to jail because he would have someone else follow through on his threats.
Mr Gilson told the jury the “most serious of the offences” happened when he suffocated his partner until she passed out in the bathroom.
Mehajer was yelling at the woman and calling her useless as he followed her into the bathroom, the court was told.
She screamed but her boyfriend held his hand over her mouth and nose until she lost consciousness.
The jury was told that the victim woke to find herself lying on the ground while Mehajer was banging his head on the toilet bowl.
“He put his hands over my mouth and nose and kept threatening to beat me to death and I couldn’t breathe,” she wrote in a text to a friend.
Mehajer represented himself throughout the trial and told the jury that the domestic violence charges were “bizarre allegations” that contained a “pattern of lies”.
He accused his girlfriend of calculating an attack on him and falsifying screenshots of text messages.
His denials continue even as the formerly high profile local councillor pleaded guilty to a supporting charge of contravening a prohibition in an apprehended violence order.
Court documents reveal he called his sister from prison after the domestic violence charges were laid before Christmas 2020.
A provisional AVO prohibited Mehajer from contacting the victim but he asked his sister to make appeals on his behalf.
A text from Mehajer’s sister to the victim on December 28, 2020 reveals she attempted to persuade the victim to withdraw the restraining order on orders from her brother. Mehajer’s sister is not accused of any wrongdoing.
“He was broken about the avo (sic),” she wrote to Mehajer’s ex.
“He said he never did anything wrong … He wants u (sic) to withdraw it.
“I don’t know man he was saying all this stuff about loving u I felt sorry for him.”
Mehajer agreed he had spoken to his sister on four occasions and reminded her to contact the victim about the AVO, despite the clear instructions contained in the order.
The 36-year-old will attempt to apply for bail when he returns to court on May 17, but the court was told he must prove there are exceptional circumstances.