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Australian guilty of throwing fiancee off balcony to her death

Nov. 27, 2013 at 2:44 PM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A judge in Australia Wednesday found Simon Gittany guilty of killing his Canadian fiancee, ex-ballerina Lisa Harnum, by throwing her from a 15th-floor balcony.

"I have stood on the balcony at the point where Lisa Harnum is said to have climbed, according to the accused," Justice Lucy McCallum said in announcing her decision. "I simply cannot accept that any person with a will to survive could have regarded it as an option for escape.

"I am satisfied to a point of actual persuasion and beyond reasonable doubt that the accused maintained his rage and, in that state, carried her to the balcony and unloaded her over the edge."

The ruling sparked a courtroom outburst from Gittany's current girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"You're wrong! You're wrong!" she screamed before being escorted out of the New South Wales Supreme Court.

"It's OK baby, it's OK," Gittany told her.

Gittany's mother also yelled out: "He didn't get a fair trial."

Joan Harnum, the victim's mother, had a calmer demeanor when giving her reaction to the verdict: "There are no winners in this case. Two families have had their lives dramatically changed forever," she said.

"We will always mourn the loss of our beautiful Lisa Cecilia and are working towards making her legacy a powerful wake-up call to young women."

Police said Gittany, 40, threw Harnum, 30, off the balcony of the Sydney apartment building they shared July 30, 2011. He says she slipped and he tried to save her.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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