that's life (Australia)

Shocking family secret – My evil Nan plotted to murder Mum

Izzy Conoly, 17, had no idea her own family was behind her mum’s disappeara­nce

- As told to Kathryn Lewsey

Running through the playground, my eyes scanned the crowd. I was seven and looking forward to seeing my mum, Sunday, 28, after a day at school.

But then I spotted my nan, Ruby.

‘Where’s Mum?’ I asked. ‘She’s not home yet,’

Nan said. I think she’s still at work.’

Mum and I had been living with my grandparen­ts – my dad Theo’s mum and stepdad – for a few months after my parents had split.

That afternoon, Nan drove us to Mum’s work, but the boss said Mum hadn’t been there all day.

‘How strange,’ my nan remarked.

I had a weird feeling in my tummy and, back home, I kept asking for my mum.

‘She’ll be home soon,’ my pop, Roy, reassured me.

When it got late, Nan called the police.

But as Mum was an adult who’d only been missing for the day, they couldn’t do anything. All night I listened out for her and, when she still hadn’t turned up the next day, I called Mum’s mum, my gran Deborah.

‘I knew something was up when she didn’t ring yesterday. I’m coming to nd her,’ Gran said.

From there, search parties began, with police and locals scouring the area.

Missing Mum every second, I went to live with her mum. And a few weeks later, Gran sat me down and told me a story.

‘There was a group of water beetles living in a pond,’ she began. ‘Every now and then, a beetle would climb the stem of a lily pad and never be seen again. The other beetles knew their friend was dead; gone forever.’

Then she pulled me in for a hug.

‘That’s what’s happened to your mum, Izzy,’ she said.

So young, I couldn’t quite grasp what Gran meant.

But from that day on, everything changed.

I stayed on with Gran and Mum’s sister, Summer, but I didn’t ever see my other grandparen­ts.

‘I miss them,’ I said to my aunt a year later.

‘You don’t need to miss them, they killed your mum,’ she blurted.

‘What?’ I gasped, but she refused to tell me more.

It wasn’t until I was

12 that I found out the shocking truth from Gran.

Police investigat­ing Mum’s disappeara­nce had spoken to my pop’s best friend, Kenneth Tomlinson, then 48.

He’d eventually confessed to helping bury my lovely mum’s body and told police where she was – in a shallow grave in the bush near my grandparen­ts’ home.

My nan, Ruby Anne

Evans, then 45, and pop,

Roy Herman Evans, 44, were charged with murder.

They pleaded not guilty, but ahead of the trial, Pop switched to guilty.

He was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 30 years.

He then testi ed at Nan’s trial, saying she’d repeatedly urged him to kill my mum.

‘If you loved me you’d do it… if you were a man you’d do it,’ he said she had taunted him.

Pop said that, on April 22, 2010, he had entered his home where Mum was

It wasn’t until I was 12 that I found out the shocking truth

on the couch.

He then shot her in the head with a gun.

Believing my mum was dead, he dragged her into the bedroom before driving to Nan’s work, asking her

‘if she could handle it’, if he killed Mum.

When she said yes, Pop told her that Mum was already dead.

But when he went back home, he found my mum sitting up against the bed, crying out for help.

That’s when he tried to strangle her with an extension lead.

When that didn’t work, he stabbed her in the heart with a knife.

Kenneth Randall Tomlinson also testi ed, saying that Pop had asked him to bring bleach to the house.

When he got there, Tomlinson says that he saw Mum’s body on the oor.

‘I was in shock and terror. It’s the most terrifying experience I’ve had in my whole life,’ he said.

When he asked Pop what he’d done, Pop said that Mum ‘had to die’.

Tomlinson helped Pop clear up the blood, while Nan burned a pillow with blood on it, along with the couch that Mum had been sitting on.

Pop and Tomlinson then wrapped Mum’s body in plastic and blankets and drove her to the woods, where they buried her.

When detectives searched my grandparen­ts’ house, they found a burn pile in the yard.

A jury found Nan guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and she was sentenced to life in prison with no parole.

It’s never been con rmed, but detectives believe that my mum was killed because my grandparen­ts wanted full custody of me.

My evil nan had plotted the whole thing.

It still breaks my heart that my own family took my beautiful mum away from me.

I think about her every day and on big occasions, such as my graduation and birthdays,

I wonder how different life would be if she was still here.

I haven’t seen my grandparen­ts since Mum’s murder and don’t ever intend to.

I can’t forgive them for what they did.

I’m determined to keep Mum’s memory alive.

Such a vibrant, kind, funny person, that’s how she deserves to be remembered. ●

 ??  ?? My beautiful mum, Sunday
Mum and my dad, Theo
My beautiful mum, Sunday Mum and my dad, Theo
 ??  ?? My nan Ruby Evans
I’m determined to keep Mum’s memory alive
Me with two of Mum’s sisters, Sunshine and Promise
Me as a bub
with Mum
My nan Ruby Evans I’m determined to keep Mum’s memory alive Me with two of Mum’s sisters, Sunshine and Promise Me as a bub with Mum

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