‘I’m so proud of you, love,’ I told her.
She also mentioned the man she’d been seeing, Elliot, 20. They’d only been dating a few months and she felt like she was too young for anything serious.
‘I think I’m going to end it when I go back,’ she said.
Over the next few weeks, Emily spent her time hanging out with us and catching up with friends.
Saying goodbye was tough, but Emily was planning to come back again in five months for the Rugby World Cup.
A week later, we were chatting over Facebook about our weekend plans.
I knew that she’d ended things with Elliot, but she didn’t go into much detail.
Off to sleep now, speak soon, I typed.
But at 2am, I woke up with a start to see heaps of missed calls from Caroline and Hannah. There was a voicemail from Hannah too, though I could barely work out what she was saying.
Then I heard Caroline screaming in the background, ‘Emily’s dead!’
Sure I’d misheard, I called my mum, Zosia, who was crying hysterically.
Then, a policeman came on the line.
‘I’m sorry to tell you that your daughter Emily is dead,’ he said.
No she’s not, I thought. She was sitting on my couch a week ago.
Flying to the UK, I still refused to believe it.
But her body had been found in Elliot’s bed.
He said she’d died in her sleep. That didn’t seem possible either – she was young, fit and healthy.
Seeing my daughter in the morgue, it looked like she was asleep, but when I shook her nothing happened.
I felt helpless, I just wanted to bring her back.
Staying at my parents in the UK, we were all distraught as we tried to get our heads around what had happened.
The police didn’t believe that Emily had died in her sleep either.
‘I can’t tell you everything right now, but you have to trust me,’ one of the detectives said.
Some people were even saying Elliot had killed her.
As I hadn’t met Elliot, I didn’t know what he was like.
But a week later, police revealed they suspected he’d strangled her.
Placing my faith in the officers, I focused on looking after Hannah and trying to deal with my own grief. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
We’d made a video of our lovely girl for her memorial service and I couldn’t stop watching it.
How was it possible that she wasn’t here any more?
That July, about two months later, Elliot Turner was charged with the murder of my beautiful daughter Emily Longley.
I felt a mixture of emotions – so angry that Emily’s life had been senselessly taken away, but also relieved that police had worked out the truth.
Elliot pleaded not guilty to murder, which meant there would be a trial.
The day before, the police wanted to meet to tell me all the details that were going to come out in court.
I felt sick to my stomach as I heard how my girl had been subjected to months of abuse – both physical and verbal.
In May 2012, Elliot Turner appeared at Winchester Crown Court.
The jury heard that almost as soon as he got with Emily, he was showing signs of obsessive and controlling behaviour.
They had gone away for the weekend just before she came out to New Zealand and Emily had written a note.
- I love you. 2. Don’t say you’ll kill me...You make me scared because you’re so intimidating,
The court was also shown photos of Emily. Taken for a modelling job, the staged pictures showed her posing with semi-naked waiters.
They’d angered Elliot and sent him into a jealous rage.
Almost daily he was sending threats to kill her.
Emily ended things when she returned to the UK. But Elliot wouldn’t give up.
The court heard how days before Emily’s death, Elliot told friends he was going to kill her with a hammer.
He even practised how to strangle her on a friend.
Despite all that, his mates didn’t take his claims seriously, explaining that he was known as ‘All Talk Turner’.
Then on May 7, 2011 – just four months after they’d met – Elliot managed to convince Emily to come to the house of his parents, Leigh and Anita.
There, he strangled Emily to death.
He told his mother to call an ambulance at 9.45am, but it was confirmed Emily had died at 1am.
My girl’s lifeless body was left in his bed for hours.
Police bugged the Turners’ house and the family were heard discussing the murder.
Anita had removed a jacket from the crime scene, while Leigh, with the knowledge and agreement of his wife, had used bleach to destroy a confession letter Elliot had written.
In the recording, Leigh can be heard asking Anita whether it was right that he did this.
‘We’ve done the right thing,’ Anita replied.
Elliot was also heard saying, ‘I just flipped it. I went absolutely nuts… I just lost it.’
Thankfully, Elliot Turner was found guilty.
He was jailed for life with a minimum of 16 years.
Both Anita, 51, and Leigh Turner, 54, were found guilty of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 27 months in prison.
I was pleased that all three of them were held accountable.
But it wouldn’t bring my daughter back.
Trying to deal with Emily’s death has been incredibly painful and difficult.
I felt sad and angry.
I spoke to other people who had lost their kids in similar situations. But sometimes it was hard to help them with their grief, when mine was also so raw.
That’s why I recorded a podcast, Death: A podcast about love, grief and hope.
I will never get closure. The pain I carry will be with me forever. I’ve just got used to accepting the sadness will always be there.
In the hope no-one else will go through the same thing, I also go to schools to talk to children about Emily and raise awareness of domestic abuse.
Love is not intimidating a partner, it’s building them up.
And if people suspect someone they know is being abused, I urge them to reach out and get help.
You could literally save a life.
Since Emily’s death, I’ve married my partner Hilary and we have a gorgeous son, Hunter, five.
My bond with Hannah is even stronger than before and she’s incredibly close with her little brother.
But it breaks my heart that Emily and Hunter never got to meet.
The world was a better place with my daughter in it.
She was such a force of life and I miss her every single day. ●
Sentencing Turner, judge Mrs Justice Linda Dobbs said, ‘The descriptions of Emily Longley paint a picture of a fun loving girl who brought a ray of sunshine into the lives of those she touched. You have extinguished that light suddenly and needlessly.
You told your parents you loved Emily Longley but
you do not know the meaning of love. Your lack of remorse is chilling.’
If you are experiencing abuse, call 1800 737 732 (Aus) or 0800 456 450 (NZ). Or head here.