Vicki Blackburn has relaunched Shandee's Toy Box Appeal
Vicki Blackburn has relaunched Shandee's Toy Box Appeal Madura McCormack

Mother marks murder anniversary with appeal for love

AS A child Shandee Blackburn loved animal books and hand-me-downs, and as a young adult she longed to be a mum.

That dream was cut short five years ago today, after she was stabbed and killed on her way home from work.

No one has been found guilty of her murder.

Vicki Blackburn, who has penned a poem to mark the fifth anniversary of her daughter's death, said the pain she feels is permanent.

"I often say that the sadness and the pain have sort of become my comfort now, that's where I am, it's just a feeling that's with me forever,” she said.

"I think you just have to expect that's the way it's going to be.”

But instead of dwelling on what could have been, Ms Blackburn has decided to concentrate on who her 23-year-old daughter was and is using the anniversary to help women and children affected by violence.

Ms Blackburn yesterday launched the "Shandee Toy Box Appeal” at Harrup Park Country Club, and is calling for donations of toys for children living in crisis accommodation provided by Samaritan House.

"Shandee loved children, she always wanted to be a mum so I think there's nothing better than using her childhood toy box to help other children,” she said.

"I'd like to try to concentrate on Shandee and bring something positive rather than what happened to her, because that was not of her doing.

"This toy drive is for children at the refuge who come there from a usually traumatic background and sometimes they have nothing... none of them deserve to be in that position.”

This is the second toy box appeal in Shandee's name, after a hugely successful campaign in December 2016.

"It was a massive response and I've been advised that they (Samaritan House) have nearly run out, so it's perfect timing,” Ms Blackburn said.

The Blackburn family endured a lengthy investigation and continues to hope the State Coroner will hold an inquiry into Shandee's death.

"What we would like to see is the truth of what happened, being put out there, which we didn't see at the trial,” Ms Blackburn said.

"I feel nobody except the perpetrator is advantaged by the truth not being told.”

The matter is currently under investigation by the Coroner.

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