This powerful, unforgettable and uplifting story is one part wrenching family memoir, and one part inspirational journey towards healing and forgiveness – but most of all, it’s an unputdownable journey through one family’s tragedy and how they refused to let it define them.
On the day of Rebecca Poulson’s 33rd birthday, her father, niece and nephew were murdered. The murderer had been part of her family; her brother-in-law, Neung, the father of the children. Killing Love is Rebecca’s journey through homicide; grief, the police investigations, the media interest, the court cases, the moments of great despair – and the healing. It is a story of individual tragedy and a family’s strength, but it is also a story of a community’s attitude to family violence. As a reluctant warrior for those who cannot speak for themselves, Rebecca talked to the NSW State Premier and politicians, on multiple TV shows and to print journalists in the hope that the mistakes made by the police force, DOCS, the legal system and solicitors will never be made again. Rebecca’s contact with policy makers has been nothing short of history-making, and her story has directly influenced domestic violence laws in the state.
Neung left a note for Rebecca’s family; he hoped that he would destroy them. This is the story of how he didn’t.
About the Author
Rebecca Poulson is an award winning Author and Speaker who Inspires Change.
Her first book Killing Love was the winner of the Australian Society of Authors Emerging Writer Prize and also of the prestigious 2015 Varuna fellowship. Winner of the Great Australian Story St Barnardos.
Killing Love is due for publication 2015.
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Rebecca Poulson's book is a compelling read, a raw, intensive look at the suffering endured by Rebecca and her remaining family through the crisis and the following years.
It was an agonising time to live through and it is really inspiring that the Poulson women came through it with such strength, grace and dignity. This book is right up close and personal, heart wrenching and unbelievably sad at times.
It is inspiring that the family is not only surviving, but thriving, a wonderful ending. I really hope that Rebecca will finally be able to celebrate her birthday again, and keep writing, as I do look forward to her next book.
In early October, a relative rang. 'Well, that's it then, isn't it? Your life's over.' But even while my relative's voice intoned the death of joy, a tiny voice within me rebelled… something inside me seemed to incite me to fight, fight, fight.
'Happy birthday, Becky,' Dad exclaimed down the phone. I could hear the warm smile in his voice. It was Monday morning, my 33rd birthday, 15 September 2003…
Her birthday was the day on which Becky's world, and that of her sister and mother, would be tipped on its head. It was the day her brother-in-law murdered her beloved niece and nephew, and her father.
The story told by Rebecca Poulson in her book, Killing Love, has an incredibly sad element, one that describes the worst possible form of family aggression, child murder. It is not light reading, but I do believe essential. Initial empathy becomes admiration in the way the story – Rebecca's life – turns around and acts as a beacon for others on whom the world seems to dump.
Ten years before, the family had borne the loss of their 22-year-old son and brother, Adrian, to suicide. From that sad event, they learned much about themselves. But even that loss, and the trauma surrounding it, could never prepare them for this later occurrence.
Close-knit and caring, the Poulsons had no inkling, when the youngest family member Ingrid met and married a gentle Thai, Neung Kongsom, it would turn their world around. Ingrid and Neung moved from Thailand to live close by her family outside Sydney. They had two children, Malee and Bas. The marriage – as with most – had a few bumps but there was nothing to indicate the horror that was to come.
On the afternoon of her birthday, Rebecca writes, I opened the door to four serious-faced police officers. 'We have some bad news. There has been an incident… Your father, niece and nephew have been killed.' All I could think of was what a stupid, inadequate word 'incident' was.
Through the preceding months, the situation within the marriage deteriorated to the point where Ingrid felt it necessary to take out an AVO against Neung. There were operational delays initially in issuing an order and, later, when it was broken. On that fateful day, Ingrid left her children in the care of Peter Poulson, their doting grandfather, while she went with the police following a serious breach of the AVO.
In the early hours of the morning, Neung had gone to Ingrid's residence and sexually assaulted her. Later, leaving the children with her father, Ingrid was taken to hospital by two officers and then to Windsor Police Station to sign a statement. The police intended to investigate the charges and arrest Neung. Driving Ingrid back to her children, they arrived at the scene of the crime. Peter and the children were dead and Neung seriously injured, dying later from self-inflicted stab wounds. He left a note saying he hoped, in killing the children, it would destroy the family.
Killing Love is a truly inspirational story of a woman determined not be bowed by such a horrendous event. Beyond describing the dreadful days following the funeral, the police investigation, the media, some poor – but thankfully better, later – counselling, the inevitable inquest, Rebecca's story becomes one of hope. She is now a counsellor and an advocate, and CEO of the Poulson Family Organisation, its primary objective the prevention of child homicide.
Neung's wish to destroy the family in fact generated an equal and opposite reaction.
This book was so exceptionally sad to read. I remember when these murders did in fact occur. Very well written. My heart goes out to this Family.
Published: 1st September 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3
Weight (kg): 0.47