A woman murdered at the hands of her controlling and abusive former partner did everything right when she ended their toxic relationship, a social worker has said.
Doreen Langham died at the hands of her former partner Gary Hely, both aged 49, in a fire at her townhouse in Browns Plains, south of Brisbane, on February 22, 2021.
The loving grandmother lived in fear after breaking up with Mr Hely and took out a protective order days before the tragedy.
She also sought help from specialist domestic service The Center for Women & Co, social worker Ines Ilijasevic said Wednesday during an inquest into their deaths.
Ms Ilijasevic said Ms Langham had done everything she could to guard against Mr Hely.
“I thought about it a lot,” said the social worker.
“I did everything I could with Doreen. It’s tough…very simply, she did everything right.”
Not only did Ms Langford engage with specialist DV services, but she repeatedly contacted the police for protection.
She changed the locks and had a full security audit performed on her home.
“She did all the security planning,” she said.
“She had extra security added to her house and somehow it still wasn’t enough.”
Ms Ilijasevic said they could have made additional changes to the house if they had additional funding for the security upgrade.
“But if you follow the logic, we should all go home tonight and make sure our homes are in Fort Knox and hope we don’t get robbed.
“It always seems to impose that responsibility on him…I think we should hold the authors accountable for what they do and what they did.”
Ms Ilijasevic said the Women’s Center receives hundreds of referrals a month with limited government funding.
Women fleeing abusive homes and relationships have had to wait six to 24 months for emergency payments to escape violence to be approved – if they are eligible for funding.
Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley is investigating the adequacy of the police response to Ms Langham’s latest triple zero call and pleas for help in a bid to prevent another similar tragedy.
It also reviews the response to complaints against Mr. Hely.
The inquest previously reviewed police camera footage showing Mr Hely claiming to be shocked to be served with a domestic violence order.
He appeared to accept the order calmly, but maintained Ms Langham had ‘nothing to worry about’ and that he still loved her.
A few days later, they were both dead.
Mr Hely forced his way inside, dozing the house they once shared with gasoline before setting it on fire.
Earlier in the night Ms Langham saw a shadow lurking outside her house and called the police for help.
Police recorded the emergency call but, despite Mr Hely’s documented death threats, classified the work as non-urgent.
Four hours after the triple zero call, police finally arrived to carry out a wellness check – leaving minutes later when no one came to the door, without speaking to Ms Lanhgam or ensuring her home was secure.
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Australian Associated Press