Family of nurse slain in front of her children speaks out

Karen Gilliland, 42, was tragically stabbed to death in her Brae Street, The Range, Rockhampton home on Tuesday, 23 June, 2020.
Karen Gilliland, 42, was tragically stabbed to death in her Brae Street, The Range, Rockhampton home on Tuesday, 23 June, 2020. Facebook

FOR almost five excruciating hours they drove from Hervey Bay to Rockhampton knowing their lives and those of their grandchildren would never be the same.

Hervey Bay's Nev and Cheryl O'Sullivan had just learnt of the death of Cheryl's daughter, Karen Gilliland, on June 23.

The 42-year-old mother of three was allegedly stabbed multiple times in her Brae Street home in The Range, Rockhampton, in front of two of her children.

Her estranged husband, Nigel Gilliland, 45, has been charged with one count of domestic violence-related murder and entering with intent.

Mr Gilliland appeared in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court last week where he was remanded in custody to reappear on August 19.

Mum-of-three Karen Gilliland was allegedly stabbed to death by her former partner. Her family have spoken about their trauma.
Mum-of-three Karen Gilliland was allegedly stabbed to death by her former partner. Her family have spoken about their trauma.

Karen's stepfather, said she was a great mother and daughter.

"She was very loving and affectionate," Mr O'Sullivan said

"She was loved by her workmates."

The O'Sullivans previously ran the Mensland store on the Hervey Bay Esplanade and an ice-cream shop.

Karen was the head of the Rockhampton Hospital's pathology unit and more recently, at the forefront of the region's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was a huge responsibility and she had been working long hours, Mr O'Sullivan said.

Karen had lost three babies, one three weeks after he was born and twins to miscarriage, before she welcomed her three much-loved children.

There were fears she would not be able to have children after she suffered so many losses.

But Karen never gave up on her dream of being a mum and eventually had Saul, 14, Lara, 11, and Jade, 6.

The children are now safe in the care of the O'Sullivans.

Bryan Cranston spoke at the candlelight vigil held at the Rockhampton Riverbank on Sunday night in honour of his sister Karen Gilliland who was allegedly murdered by her partner in a domestic violence incident last week.
Bryan Cranston spoke at the candlelight vigil held at the Rockhampton Riverbank on Sunday night in honour of his sister Karen Gilliland who was allegedly murdered by her partner in a domestic violence incident last week. Vanessa Jarrett

Karen's brother, Bryan Cranston, said his sister always put herself last.

"She cared about so many other people," he said.

"She always had a smile on her face."

He said the lives of her three children had been turned upside down by the loss of their mum.

"She loved her kids, they were her world," he said.

"Her biggest passion in life, bar none, was reading, it was her escape."

It was a passion she passed on to her children, who all excelled academically, he added.

"They are the three most incredible kids you can imagine."

The family of Karen Gilliland thank first responders and others for their support
The family of Karen Gilliland thank first responders and others for their support JANN HOULEY

A Go Fund Me page has been started by Bryan to ensure his sister's children will have the lives their mum always wanted for them.

So far $43,319 has been raised to support the children.

Karen's funeral will be held on July 7 at St Joseph's Cathedral in William St, Rockhampton.

It will start at 10.30am.

Instead of flowers, people are asked to donate to the Go Fund Me page.

Karen will be buried at the Memorial Gardens next to her late son, Thomas.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.


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