Coming home

Sunshine’s slain mother-of-four will be laid to rest in Bendigo

SLAIN mother-of-four Fiona Warzywoda planned to return to Bendigo and start a new life, but will instead be laid to rest in her former hometown.

Ms Warzywoda, 33, of Melton West, was allegedly stabbed to death by her de-facto husband in the middle of a busy Sunshine shopping strip last Wednesday.

She had been at Sunshine Magistrates Court that morning over a family violence order in place against her de-facto of 18 years, Craig McDermott, and had left her solicitor's office just minutes before he allegedly stabbed her with a fishing knife.

Tributes are flowing for Fiona, who has been remembered as a brave woman who had the strength to start afresh. 

Ms Warzywoda's step-mother, Simone Warzywoda, said on Tuesday that the justice system had failed their family.

"We understand this has affected the community as a whole and this tragedy has touched many of us in one way or another," she said.

"It's been time and again with domestic violence ... the justice system continues to fail women and children."

Craig McDermott, 38, handed himself in to police on Thursday morning after spending a day on the run.

Mr McDermott, of Sunshine North, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court later that night, charged with the murder and was remanded until August 7.

On Tuesday night, more than 600 people gathered at the corner of Hampshire and Devonshire roads for a vigil in memory of Ms Warzywoda. 

It remained a silent protest against family violence.

Friends and family stifled sobs into each other's arms and dozens of bouquets and heart-shaped cards were piled on the public bench on the footpath where Ms Warzywoda became the latest tragic victim of family violence.

Several people held signs saying, "Domestic violence, not in my name", and "How many more?"

Vigil organiser and Sunshine resident Sophie Dutertre said she felt compelled to take a stand, and was overwhelmed at the turnout.

"Women have the right to be safe on the street and safe in their homes," she said. 

Fiona's funeral will be held in the Mulqueen Family Chapel, 15-25 Bridge Street, Bendigo, on Wednesday, April 30, at 11am. 

Following the service, the cortege will proceed to the Eaglehawk Cemetery for a short burial service. 

- with THE AGE

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