Rachelle Yeo’s simple message was that she didn’t love him anymore. But Paul Mulvihill just would not accept it.
Instead, she was hunted, beaten and killed by a man who could not abide her ending a relationship against his wishes.
Paul Mulvihill made no reaction as he was sentenced to a maximum of 29 years for the “vicious” stabbing murder of Ms Yeo in her apartment in Sydney’s north in July 2012.
In sentencing him, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton described Mulvihill’s moral culpability for the crime as being of a “very high order”.
He went to the 31-year-old’s apartment with the intention to “intimidate, menace and attack her in retaliation at nothing more than her wish to terminate a relationship”, she said.
It comes after a jury took only two hours last month to find Mulvihill guilty of Ms Yeo’s 2012 murder.
During the trial, the jury heard how the pair had begun an affair a year earlier while working together at Sanofi Pharmaceuticals in Brisbane.
At the time, Mulvihill was married and Ms Yeo was engaged.
By 2012, however, the romance soured and Ms Yeo accepted a job promotion and moved to Sydney.
She took steps to try to ensure Mulvihill would not discover where she lived and repeatedly refused his advances.
Obsessed, Mulvihill eventually tracked down her Curl Curl apartment and travelled to Sydney on July 16.
Mulvihill claimed Ms Yeo had let him into her home that night to “talk about their relationship”.
But Justice Fullerton rejected this, saying Ms Yeo was suffering anxiety due to Mulvihill’s “obsessive behaviour”.
While she did not find the murder was premeditated, she said Mulvihill managed to gain access to Ms Yeo’s apartment either by stealth or force.
During the violent struggle that followed, neighbours called `Triple 0′ as they heard Ms Yeo begging and crying, saying: “I can’t open the door … he won’t let me.”
Ms Yeo’s final moments must have been spent in “indescribable torment”, Ms Fullerton said.
Far from stabbing Ms Yeo by accident – as Mulvihill claimed – Justice Fullerton said the 46-year-old knifed his ex-lover in the chest to “ensure she would not survive the attack to identify him”.
He then jumped over the balcony and dumped the knife and his clothes in a bid to conceal the murder.
Mulvihill, Justice Fullerton said, had shown no remorse.
Speaking outside court, Roger Yeo, who wore a white ribbon on his jacket, said his daughter “didn’t deserve to be stalked or hunted or beaten or killed”.
Mr Yeo said such violence against women should not be tolerated.
“Rachelle’s simple message was that she didn’t love him anymore and she wanted him to go away and leave her alone but her decision was not respected,” he said.
Dressed in her daughter’s “spirit colour” yellow, Kathy said Ms Yeo would be missed “every second of every day”.
“We can only hope the difficult lesson of her death will encourage women to seek help when they find they are involved with men who are violent, obsessive or suppressive.”
Mulvihill faces a minimum of 22 years in prison. His earliest date of release is February 2035.