“I thought that’s really strange that he would go without saying goodbye and I felt uneasy.”
After a frantic search, police eventually approached Julia and said they had found the pair – but what happened next is every mother’s worst nightmare.
Last night, Julia spoke publicly for the first time about the horrific events of last year.
“They sat me down and said we’ve found Dave and Luca, but that Dave had hurt Luca,” she told Carrie Bickmore on The Project. “They said he stabbed Luca and that he’s on his way to hospital and that we don’t know that he’ll survive. I thought that he was going to be ok, that he’d wake up. But he didn’t.”
Luca and Dave had been close – playing football and riding bikes together, along with Luca’s younger brother. But Dave had been struggling with bipolar disorder, and despite seeing a psychiatrist less than 24 hours earlier, he had slipped into a psychosis.
“He would more often than not be on the more depressive side, rather than the up side,” Julia recalled. “But Dave adored Luca. There was never a bit of me that feared for myself or my family – and especially not my boys.”
Six months ago, Dave was found not guilty on grounds of mental incompetence and will spend the foreseeable future in mental health facility. Incredibly, Julia has managed to forgive him for what happened.
“I’ve had momentary feelings of anger,” she admitted, “But anger in this situation isn’t going to bring Luca back. It was not Dave in his right mind who committed this offence. It is a very challenging position to be in because the person I loved the most – my husband – did the most horrific thing imaginable to our boys.”
Around 26 children are deliberately killed by a parent each year. Julia hopes that by speaking about her experience, she can raise awareness around mental health and prevent anyone else going through the heartbreak she has experienced.
Being a single mother has not been easy for Julia, and friends have set up a crowd-funding page to help out. You can lend your support by heading to youcaring.com/rainbows4julia
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.