Tears and relief for family of Lynette Daley
IT TOOK five years of false hope, disappointment, outrage and a push from an entire community, but on Wednesday night Lynette Daley's family received the news they've been waiting so long to hear.
On August 2, Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris will face Grafton Local Court charged over the 2011 death of the Clarence Valley mother during a camping trip on Ten Mile Beach, north of Iluka.
Attwater has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated sexual intercourse without consent, while Maris will be prosecuted for aggravated sexual intercourse without consent and accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
The development comes after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lloyd Babb SC, was pressured by the community to order an independent review of his decision not to prosecute the two men despite the NSW Coroner recommending the case go to court.
And for Lynette's mother and stepfather Gordon and Thelma Davis, the news has brought immense relief.
Mr Davis said his phone hadn't stopped ringing since; first from the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Attorney General, then media organisations, family and friends.
"They told me before it hit the news," he said.
"We were all choked up, crying and that because it was a relief. It was a big relief for all of us.
"All of the emotions from the last five years just hit us all last night; all the despair and knock-backs and injustices. This is all we wanted and it wasn't too much to ask. Something good must come of it now."
Mr Davis said no one really knew what the family had gone through in the past five years as they struggled to comes to terms with the circumstances and the "injustice" of Lynette's death.
"We look at the kids every day and they're growing up to be just like their mother - all their idiosyncrasies, their hair, their eyes, the way they act - and to see them grow up without a mother... it's sad," he said.
"(She) should never have been taken away from them. It's been bloody hard."
The Yamba grandfather credited a far-reaching change.org petition, sparked by a Fours Corners investigation on Ms Daley's death and the aftermath, as the driving force behind the uplifting result.
"It was people power," Mr Davis said.
"It was that petition plus the Four Corners story. They were the two main things that really hit home to everyone. I had a phone call from the online petition coordinator today, and she said 70,000 signatures were signed and they all weren't from Australia.
"We're just grateful for all the support. It's been overwhelming and your faith in humanity has got to be restored by this. Before, didn't think anyone cared but we know now that you do."
Mrs Davis said the couple will turn their focus to the impending court case, asking for as many people in court as I possible, "just for the support."
"I just feel so glad that they have got these blokes and charged them," she said. "We can think ahead. I knew in my heart that it was her year, and it is her year."
The family also plans to go back to Iluka soon to visit Ms Daley's memorial, and have no doubt the eagle, which followed them all the way back to Iluka after their first visit to the site, will be there too.
"She'll be there, she'll be waiting," Mr Davis said.