'GOOGLE ME': The Aussie wife-killing monster
THE tiny, neglected children of a battered mum and a twisted dad lived in a ramshackle home and struggled with the most basic tasks, including speaking.
They were taught nothing, never went to school and associated with nobody. Deprived of anything resembling a normal childhood, they scribbled on the walls and were beaten, burned and humiliated.
Then they were forced to watch as their Broadmeadows home - sparsely decorated with milk crates, broken couches and a long green table - was turned into a house of horrors.
They watched as their father, a 36-year-old Islamic State sympathiser, cut out his wife's right eye and flushed it down the toilet.
They watched as he cut off two fingers on her left hand and slashed her repeatedly with a sharp knife, scissors and a meat cleaver.
They watched as he wrapped her body in a blanket, a plastic sheet and electrical tape and drove it to a nearby tennis club where it was dumped in the bushes for a jogger to find.
And they still think Mum is coming back.
Last week, the killer was sentenced to life in a maximum-security prison for what is one of Australia's most disturbing murders. He won't be eligible for parole for 30 years.
He cannot be named to protect the identity of the pair's three children, now aged 4, 6 and 8, but the victim's family spoke to news.com.au about the fate of the children before and after their mother's killing because they want the world to know what kind of monster he was.
The victim's sister and brother-in-law told news.com.au they knew something was wrong the first time they met him.
"He was really weird ... he told us, 'Google me'," the woman's sister told news.com.au.
"We looked him up and the pictures were scary - they showed him with police. We didn't stay long."
A PROLONGED AND VICIOUS MURDER
The 27-year-old woman died from blood loss in the early hours of June 17, 2016. Some details of what happened to her the night before are too disturbing to be published.
In court last week, Justice Lex Lasry said she was likely still alive when her eye was removed.
"As your children watched, you removed her eye and flushed it down the toilet," he said, before commenting on the trauma such an act would have caused the two boys and their younger sister.
"It was grotesquely violent," he said. "What you did was disgusting. It is hard to forecast the impact this will have on your children."
Judge Lasry said one theory about the removal of the woman's eye was that she was being made to look like Islam's anti-Christ. It's believed the killer told his children she "looked like Dajjal" with her eye missing.
After the murder, the children and their father drove to a kebab shop and later to get pastries. They paid for them with the debit card belonging to the victim.
It's bizarre behaviour family members say was typical of a man they described as "weird", "awkward" and "scary".
Their first meeting, at the home in Broadmeadows, in Melbourne's west, was one of many strange encounters the family shared.
"My sister came here from Lebanon and met him within a month and got married," the woman said. "I came to Australia later and I'd been here for 15 days before he even let me see my own sister."
The victim's brother-in-law said he was warned by friends to be careful around the 36-year-old.
"Everybody I met told me, 'stay away from him, stay away from him'. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because I wanted to make the relationship work so my wife could see her sister," he said.
"I thought he was a normal person but he turned weird. When we were alone all he talked about was ISIS, how he wanted to go to Syria, how he wanted to take the family to Syria."
In court last week, Judge Lasry said the killer held "extremist Islamist beliefs".
It's believed his wife resisted efforts to move the family to the Middle East to join the fight. Police said that played a role in why he decided the kill her.
Family members said the victim - the eldest of 10 children - was "strong" before she moved to Australia but suffered under her husband.
"In Lebanon, she was strong, but when I came here I couldn't hear her," the woman's sister said. "When she talks, I can't hear her voice. She forgot everything. She was under stress."
'THE KIDS COULDN'T SPEAK'
One of the three children told police after the murder that his father closed the boot of the family's car and sat on it, looking at the body in the bushes at Dallas Tennis Club "to see if Mummy got up".
The same boy told his aunty and uncle what happened the night their mum was murdered.
"The oldest boy goes, 'My mum (was thrown out) of the car then dad took us for kebabs," a family member told news.com.au. Later, the same boy said he thought his mum was "going to be OK, she's going to come back".
The children were themselves beaten by their dad. On the day of his arrest, police performing a welfare check discovered the run-down home they lived in.
The court heard all three children showed signs of physical abuse and told police their father had beat them.
One of the children had bruising across his face and blood around his nose. He was dehydrated. Another had swelling on the left side of his face and blood behind his ear.
The youngest child had burns on her left foot which appeared to be the result of contact with a hot object and had been "left with urine and faeces in her nappy for a prolonged period".
The victim's sister and brother in law told news.com.au the children were so badly neglected that they couldn't communicate.
"They couldn't speak. They weren't taught anything, they had broken English," the children's uncle said.
"Who lives in Australia for six years, at age six, and has broken English? No kid does, but they did. He didn't let them associate with anyone, so they didn't know what to do. They were just jumping around with nothing to do."
All three children were taken in by a family member and are now doing well. They're in school and getting on with life.
"They're good, they talk now, they go to school, they're happy," the children's aunty said.
It's a miracle given what they went through. Family members said inside the home was a set of office chairs, a broken couch, some milk crates and beds. Those same beds were urine-soaked by the time police arrived, the court heard last week.
'WE WOULD TELL HIM NOTHING'
The killer frowned, sipped his water and rested his head against the wall in court as he was sentenced for his crimes last week. A family member in the packed Melbourne Supreme Court gallery gestured towards him and was thrown out.
Other family members have nothing to say to him.
"What would I say to him?" the victim's sister said. "I wouldn't tell him anything. He killed the mum in front of the kids. It's not normal."
The victims' brother-in-law said it more simply: "He's a scumbag. He gouged out her eyes, he did unspeakable things. I don't know, maybe something went in him. They say the devil goes in people and changes them."