A mother who found the strength to live on after the triple murder of her children and the sudden death of her last surviving child revealed that she has turned her home into a sanctuary for them.
Shirley Singh lost three of her children – 24-year-old Neelma, 18-year-old Kunal and 12-year-old Sidhi – after Neelma’s ex-boyfriend killed them in April 2003 at the family’s Brisbane home in Bridgeman Downs.
Ms Singh said she holds on to the happy memories she had with her children but admitted her biggest regret was not hugging her youngest daughter, Sidhi, enough.
“One day I said to her ‘can you leave me alone?’ I’m sorry I said that. I tell parents, ‘Don’t say that,’ because she left me for good,” she said A current situation on Friday.
Mrs. Singh still lives in the house where the murders took place along with her estranged husband, Vijay, as roommates.
Shirley Singh (above) revealed how she stayed strong after three of her children – 24-year-old Neelma, 18-year-old Kunal and 12-year-old Sidhi – were murdered in April 2003
Ms. Singh still lives at the family’s home in Brisbane, the site of the gruesome murders (pictured Ms. Singh with her husband Vijay and only surviving child Archana at a press conference a week after the murders. Archana has since died of a brain aneurysm)
Photos from the lives of her children fill the home, and specialized shrines highlight key points of the gruesome murders, including the hot tub where they were left, and their childhood.
Every night, Mrs. Singh puts pictures of her children in bed and wakes them up every morning.
“I’ll talk to them and think about all the good memories,” she said.
‘I tell them good morning, I kiss them. I feel like they are still with me. Call me crazy, but that’s how I live.’
A memorial in the family’s living room displays photographs of all four of Mrs. Singh’s children and the ages they would have lived if they were still with her.
This year would have been Neelma 44, Kunal 38, Sidhi 32 and Archana ‘Sonia’ Pathik – the only child to survive the attack and die of a brain aneurysm in Melbourne three years ago – would have turned 46.
Mrs Singh released her book Shirley’s Story on the twentieth anniversary of her children’s murder.
She said she hopes to help others struggling with grief realize their own strength.
“Don’t be a victim of anyone, raise your head and fight,” she said.
The book was written by the daughter of her good friend and former journalist Emily Eklund Power and was released on Thursday.
Ms. Singh said she puts pictures of her four children to bed every night and wakes them up every morning (picture, Ms. Singh with the pictures)
Neelma (left), Kunal (center) and Sidhi (right) were murdered on Easter weekend in 2003 by Neelma’s ex-boyfriend Massimo ‘Max’ Sica
Both Ms Singh and Ms Power said while writing the book that they discovered a disturbing pattern of abuse in Neelma’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend and murderer, Massimo ‘Max’ Sica.
Sica killed Neelma, Kunal and Sidhi on Easter Sunday in 2003.
After viciously killing them, he threw their bodies into the master bedroom’s hot tub and called triple-zero, pretending to have discovered them there.
It took police five and a half years to collect enough evidence to bring Sica to justice and nearly a decade before he was convicted.
Neelma and Sica met as neighbors before she moved to Dubai in early 2002 to become an Emirates flight attendant.
While in Dubai, Neelma used a laptop that Sica installed with spyware so that he could track her and was often subjected to loyalty tests by him.
Neelma had decided to return to Brisbane in May 2002, after being assaulted by a female roommate in Dubai, but instead of going to her family, she moved in with Sica.
However, she fled back to her family six weeks later after seeing a dark side of the would-be killer.
Sica was still legally married to another woman, was considerably older than Neelma at 33 years old, had previously been in prison and told Neelma about his plans to kidnap a businessman to demand ransom.
Ms Singh has written a book about how she coped with the grief of losing her children, which was published on Thursday (pictured, Ms Singh, right, her close friend, centre, and the daughter of her friend and former journalist Emily Eklund Power, left)
Sica (above) had a controlling and abusive relationship with Neelma before he killed her and two of her siblings on April 22, 2003
After Neelma broke up with her, Sica anonymously emailed nude photos of her to her friends and family.
Finally, Sica told Neelma that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and had only a few weeks to live.
Neelma felt sorry for him and invited him to spend time with her while her parents were in Fiji for a wedding on April 22, 2003.
“Something happened between you two in Neelma’s bedroom,” Judge John Byrne told Sica during his sentencing in 2012.
“Probably enraged by jealousy, you strangled Neelma with both hands, applying sustained pressure for about a minute, intending to kill her.
‘So that Kunal and Sidhi wouldn’t tell you that you killed Neelma, you killed them too.
“You put your victims in the hot tub in the master bedroom ensuite.
“Your savage attack on Kunal had knocked him unconscious. He drowned after you filled the bath with water and covered the three bodies with bedding.
“These are vicious, heinous crimes—in the worst categories of murder.”
Sica was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison.
Ms Singh said her children were so disfigured from the attack that she could barely recognize them.
In 2012, Sica was convicted of killing Neelma and then her siblings to cover up the murder and leave their bodies in the family’s hot tub (Photo, Photos of Neelma, Kunal and Sidhi)
Ms Singh said she still lives her life as if her children are with her, even celebrating their birthdays (Pictured Ms Singh, her husband Vijay and daughter Archana at the children’s funeral in 2003)
But she chooses to focus on the happy days with her kids and keeps making memories with them.
“Archana’s room, Neelma’s room and Sidhi’s room are always open,” she told the Courier Mailexplaining that her son Kunal had joked that she wanted more privacy, so she still knocks before entering his room.
On special occasions she brings Kunal a beer and Vodka Cruisers to her girls.
“If it’s a spiritual day, I make offerings, I dress them with flowers. I have a candle I’ve lit since I lost my kids,” she said.