Rae Wilson

Simon Gittany faces sentencing hearing for murder

MURDERED beauty queen Lisa Harnum feared her fiance Simon Gittany would kill her and "make it look like suicide", the NSW Supreme Court has heard.

Gittany, who was found guilty last year of "unloading" Ms Harnum off the balcony of their Sydney apartment, faced a sentencing hearing before a packed court room on Wednesday.

Outside court, Gittany's current girlfriend Rachelle Louise and other supporters staged a bizarre protest - holding up signs, spruiking conspiracy theories and comparing his to other cases where people had been convicted of murder only to have the decision overturned on appeal, such as Lindy Chamberlain and Gordon Wood.

Early in the proceedings, the court heard from Ms Harnum's grief-stricken relatives.

A statement tendered on behalf of her Canadian mother Joan read, "when a parent dies, you lose your past... when a child dies you lose your future".

The victim impact statements were followed by the chilling evidence of a surprise witness who was called by the prosecution to give an insight into the control Ms Harnum had been subjected to before her decision to leave proved deadly.

The woman told the court she had bonded with Ms Harnum after enrolling in a beauty college course at Bondi where she worked as a receptionist.

When the woman disclosed that she had moved to Sydney to escape a violent relationship, Ms Harnum repeatedly asked her how she had managed to leave.

Over the next few months Ms Harnum said her boyfriend "Simon" had cameras set up in their house and showed her text messages that suggested he was keeping track of her movements and what she wore.

The woman began to cry as she recalled a time when Ms Harnum had told her that she was worried her boyfriend would poison her food and had warned that, if she left, he would kill her and make it look like suicide.

Asked why she had not come forward to police earlier, the woman said she had originally thought there was "enough evidence" without her.

She was also concerned her role in the case would attract unwanted media attention and anger Gittany's supporters.

Gittany rejected the witness's evidence and said being charged with a crime he did not commit was "a cross almost unbearable to bear".

At his trial, Gittany claimed Ms Harnum had run towards the balcony and "disappeared" over the railing.

Justice Lucy McCallum instead found that Gittany had discovered his fiancee's plans to leave him and, in a "fit of rage", picked her up and dropped her from the 15th floor.

The hearing continues.

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