Tears flowed and candlelights flickered in memory of a Melbourne mum at the shopping strip where she was slain.
Those who knew mother of four Fiona Warzywoda, 33, stood alongside strangers in a silent protest to say no to domestic violence.
Hundreds turned out in Sunshine on Tuesday night, amid piles of floral tributes and heart-shaped balloons.
Participants cried and hugged as a minute’s silence remembered Ms Warzywoda, allegedly stabbed to death by her partner in front of lunchtime shoppers last Wednesday.
Sunshine local Sophie Dutertre said the vigil was about standing as one to abhor domestic violence.
“Women have a right to be safe in the street and in their homes,” she told the crowd.
Donation tins were passed around to raise funds for Ms Warzywoda’s children.
Clutching a candle, Ms Warzywoda’s best friend Raquel McGrath was still in shock.
“She’s so young,” she said.
“It’s hard to wrap my head around.”
Ms McGrath said Ms Warzywoda was a kind friend and both their children started prep together.
She was embarking on a new life direction, getting ready to move house, and get her life back in order when she had her life brutally cut short.
Simone Warzywoda, surrounded by Fiona’s two sisters Karen Kelcey and Jazmyn Warzywoda, said the justice system failed her stepdaughter.
“As it has been time and again with domestic violence, the justice system continues to fail women and children,” she earlier told reporters.
She said the family was touched by the community’s kind words, donations, flowers and prayers in the wake of her stepdaughter’s death.
Rod Beckham, of Coburg, was attending the vigil because he was passionate about ending family violence, having once been a perpetrator himself.
“There are avenues for men to recognise what they do wrong. I’ve done that,” he said.
“I’m very passionate that people should take responsibility for themselves and do something about their behaviours.”
Fiona Warzywoda’s partner of 18 years, 38-year-old Sunshine North man Craig McDermott, has been charged with her murder.
The murder allegedly occurred after they were in court over a family violence order, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.