Here, Kylie Ferguson, 37, tells the story in her own words.
W￼alking down my sister-in-law’s hallway, the walls could talk and they told a story of love.
The entire length of Adelle’s corridor was one big blackboard.
Have a good day, love you! she’d written to her kids, Declan, 11, and Ava, seven, in colourful chalk.
Around it, the kids had drawn rainbows and flowers. I’d adored Adelle from the moment I’d met her.
Married to my brother, they’d sadly split when Ava was three months old.
But Adelle was still a huge part of our family. Lately, we’d become even closer though.
In July 2014, after a tumultuous relationship, Adelle had kicked out her fiancé Steven.
Meeting online, they’d been together for three years – and now Steven was using social media to bully her, posting horrible comments on Facebook.
She was too scared to even answer the door, as her ex kept rocking up without warning.
‘He’s not the man I thought he was,’ she confided in me.
So strong, Adelle hid any fear she felt from Ava and Declan.
Six months after they broke up, one Sunday in February 2015, Adelle sent me a terrifying message.
She’d gone to vote and Steven had appeared at the polling booth.
‘You’re dead...’ he whispered, forming a gun shape with his fingers. That would’ve been so scary, I replied, terrified for her.
He’s finally been served the temporary protection order, Adelle wrote. No more online dating for me, I think I’m joining the nunnery! she quipped.
It was so like my bright, bubbly sister-in-law to crack a joke.
That Friday, Ava and Declan slept over at my place while Adelle caught up with girlfriends at the RSL.
Although excited for a rare night out, she was frightened of running into Steven. You’ll have so much fun! Be careful, I texted.
The next morning, my sister Elisha drove the kids back to their mum’s house.
Calling me, she sounded worried. ‘I think something is wrong with Adelle,’ Elisha said.
Turning into her street, she saw it was blocked off with crime scene tape. ‘It’s my mum,’ Declan had said instantly.
Hanging up, Elisha called me back 10 minutes later. ‘Adelle’s been killed,’ she choked out.
My beautiful Adelle was only 39 years old. I instantly knew who’d taken her life – Steven. I was right.
Soon after, he was charged with Adelle Collins’ murder. How could he? I fumed, devastated.
Deep in grief, Ava, Declan and their dad stayed with me and my hubby, Ian, and kids, Jacob, then 15, and Hollie, 11.
‘Mummy and I used to have tea parties,’ my niece said two days after Adelle’s death.
So, the next morning Ava and I made cuppas and walked across the road to the beach.
‘I want my mummy,’ Ava sobbed, as my heart broke.
That Christmas, Ava and Declan each set free a white dove to spend the holiday up in heaven with their mum.
Last November, three and a half years after her death, Steven Murray Storie, 48, appeared at Brisbane Supreme Court and pleaded guilty to murder.
Then the court heard exactly how he’d taken Adelle’s life.
Driving to her house while she was out, he broke into her garage, slashing her front car tyres with a box cutter.
Before he fled, he stole one of the kids’ bikes, which he dumped in a waterway. Adelle got home just before 1am.
Slipping a knife into his pocket, Storie drove back to her place, broke in and stalked into the bedroom they’d once shared.
‘You held a knife to her throat, you told her what you were going to do...’ Justice David Boddice said.
As Adelle fought for her life, Storie slit her throat. At least three times! I thought with disgust.
Then, the monster slid the engagement ring off Adelle’s finger, before burying it.
The kids, now 14 and 11, weren’t in the courtroom, so I read out their victim impact statements, along with my own.
‘I have a gap in my heart because of him,’ I read on my niece’s behalf, staring Storie right in the eye.
‘When I found out my mum was killed by someone I call my stepdad, I felt like I was drowning,’ I said for Declan. Storie burst into tears.
Reading out his own statement, he apologised, but it was all about him. There was no remorse. He was sentenced to life in prison.
As I went to speak to the waiting TV news crews, Ava walked over.
‘I want to tell you guys that domestic violence isn’t right and you need to speak out,’ she said, her voice cracking. ‘Because you don’t want to lose your loved ones.’
‘You’ve just done your mum proud,’ I smiled, hugging her tight. Nothing will bring Adelle back, but she lives on in her beautiful, brave kids.
- If you or anyone you know needs advice on how to leave an abusive relationship, call 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732 (Aus) or It’s not OK: 0800 456 450 (NZ).
Read more in this week's issue of that's life, on sale now.
LISTEN: How I Survived - a gripping new podcast from that's life!