Killing has left huge hole in lives of victim's families
The killing of Michael Valentine has left his young son wondering where his father is, and assuming blame for his dad's death.
Valentine's family and friends have also suffered sleepless nights, visions of his murder, broken relationships, falling grades at school, simmering anger and urges for revenge, according to their victim impact statements.
Thirteen victim impact statements were filed to the court, with four read out yesterday.
Throughout their readings, Stoyan Militch, Brayden Windley and Michael Paul Zimmerman stood emotionless in the dock, eyes either glued to their feet or wandering around the courtroom.
Laura Hill, the mother of Valentine's son Luca, said it was difficult to explain to the 4-year-old boy what had happened.
He had asked why his "daddy" had left him, if Valentine still loved him and if the death was his fault, she said.
When Luca first saw Valentine's body, he asked his father to get up to go play with him.
"Luca went to grab his hand, and that's when the realisation hit," Hill said.
The past year had been difficult for Luca.
"He refuses to take off his suit from the funeral because it gives him comfort," she said.
"He cries when people leave him, because [Valentine's killers] have put the fear in him that they will not come back."
Valentine's mother Lynda Timmer-Arends said the impact on her had been "overwhelming", but she too talked about Luca's manner since her son's death. "He asks me where the bad people are . . . and I can't give Luca the assurance they won't come and hurt him."
She said she wished the killers were dead instead of her son.
Valentine's stepfather John Timmer-Arends continually looked at the killers while telling them how he felt. "I have no forgiveness and nothing but contempt for you.
"I have been left wanting justice and vengeance for his killing. My greatest wish and dream is that you could swap places with Michael."
He said his daughter Monique had gone from being a good student to dropping out of school without qualifications.
Rebecca Valentine said her brother's death caused her stress when she was pregnant, and resulted in her having an early induced labour. She had suffered depression and separated from her partner since her brother's killing.