Sunday February 9, 2014
Reporters: Ross Coulthart and Steve Pennells
Producers: Nick Farrow, Naomi Shivaraman, Richard Andrews
Rachelle Louise, the girlfriend of convicted murderer Simon Gittany, has opened up in an explosive new interview with Sunday Night saying she 'knows' her boyfriend is innocent.
Gittany is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday for throwing his former fiancee Lisa Harnum off the balcony of their Sydney CBD apartment.
Speaking exclusively to Sunday Night, Louise vowed to prove her boyfriend innocent and refuted the evidence which is likely to see him serve 20 years in prison.
“I don’t make a statement based on something Simon’s told me. I have worked through the case completely,” Louise said.
On July 30 2011, Lisa Harnum fell to her death from her apartment overlooking Sydney's Hyde Park.
The only other person inside the apartment at the time was Simon Gittany.
Gittany was found guilty of throwing Lisa off his balcony in an 'apoplectic' fit of rage when she tried to walk out on him, refusing to reveal a secret from her past that he was obsessed with discovering.
The Sunday Night investigation revealed a telephone call in which Harnum is heard trying to placate Gittany's control and rage.
"I am not having a go at you,'' she says in the recording of the phone call," to which Gittany replies: "We can do this nicely or we could do it a different way."
"I always wait at home for you," Harnum pleads.
"Like, I don't go anywhere. I don't do anything without your permission, without asking, without you being OK with everything, and I don't do anything other that what it is you tell me to do. Nothing."
The Sunday Night investigation also revealed the heartbreaking text message exchange between Lisa Harnum's mother, Joan, and Gittany on the morning she was killed.
"Let me speak to Lisa. Simon. Why are you doing this? Please let me talk to her or let her come home," the flurry of desperate, unanswered text messages from Joan Harnum to Gittany reads.
"Please let me know if she is OK. If you believe in God, Simon, please let me talk to Lisa.. this is a mother begging for her child."
As well as speaking with Rachelle about her love affair with Gittany, Coulthart also interviewed the counsellor Lisa Harnum confided in before her death.
Gittany's current girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, says she was the woman who initially gave Simon Gittany's phone number to Lisa Harnum when the couple first met.
By the time of his trial, Gittany was escorted to court each day by his glamorous new girlfriend - a 24-year-old who bears an uncanny resemblance to his deceased fiancee, Lisa Harnum.
Despite the evidence against Gittany's version of events, Louise told Sunday Night she "knows" her boyfriend is innocent.
"I know Simon. He is an honest person. He does not lie to me about anything. He has been completely transparent and honest with me."
She admitted CCTV video showing Gittany drag Harnum back into his apartment just 69 seconds before she was killed was "horrifying", but said Gittany was just "acting instinctively" and trying to stop her from running away.
When Sunday Night's Ross Coulthart asked Louise if Gittany had ever stopped her from leaving their apartment, she responded:
"He’s never stopped me like physically restrained me from leaving, but he’s stopped me from leaving like, stood at the door.
"I know that he doesn’t like to leave me to leave the apartment so I purposely said ‘I’m leaving the apartment’, and he was like ‘No you’re not leaving’ and I said ‘Yes I am’."
If you are a victim of domestic violence, find help by calling the national White Ribbon hotline on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).