Monday, April 15, 2024

Daiane Pelegrini murdered by stalker David Tran in ‘vicious attack’

Pelegrini, from Brazil, moved to Australia with her husband in 2016 and studied nursing and aged care while also working in a massage parlour that provided paid sexual services, where she met Tran in early 2020.

The parlour was forced to close due to COVID-19 lockdowns, but Pelegrini remained in contact with clients directly “to pay the bills”, the court heard.

Lonergan said: “Application of the terms dating or friendship or romance does not adequately reflect the complexities of the relationship between the offender and Daiane.”

Pelegrini separated from her husband in April 2020 and had been in a relationship with another man at the time of her death.

Pelegrini’s sister, in a victim impact statement, described her as a determined, brave and beautiful woman who was “terribly missed” and “who cannot write anything more in the book of her life”.

Tran sent hundreds of harassing phone calls and texts to Pelegrini between June and August 2020, including “in excess of 60 sexually explicit messages over a 10-hour period” in July to which she had replied “no is no” and “over is over”, Lonergan said.

Pelegrini had repeatedly blocked Tran on WhatsApp, over which he told her “she was his first proper girlfriend” and said he loved her, according to the agreed facts.

Tran showed up uninvited at Pelegrini’s gym and the beach, and in bank transfers to her wrote “Can you unblock me” and “forgive me please”.

Police outside Daiane Pelegrini's Oatlands apartment complex.

Police outside Daiane Pelegrini’s Oatlands apartment complex.Credit: Rhett Wyman

Days before her death, Pelegrini and her partner had contacted police about Tran, however when officers attended the unit hours later, he had gone. Pelegrini sent Tran a photograph of a police car at her home and a message reading, “Just to let you know you can’t come anymore”.

On the day of her murder, Tran climbed over the gate of her unit intending to frighten her when she returned home, and saw her with her partner, the judge said.

As Pelegrini went into her bedroom to get a jacket, she was attacked by Tran, and her partner was struck when he tried to pull Tran away before running from the unit to get help.

Pelegrini suffered more than 20 wounds including to her sexual organs and a 15-centimetre injury to her abdomen. Police found her alive but bleeding, surrounded by blood-soaked walls and floor.

After surrendering, Tran was asked by police how many times he had used the knife, and replied, “I’m not sure, I lost count, I almost fainted in there when I saw the blood.” He said Pelegrini had begged him to call an ambulance.

“She told him she forgave him, no doubt in a desperate attempt to negotiate for her life,” the judge said. “But he did nothing to help her.”

The court heard Tran had been “fixated” and exhibited “stalking behaviours”, and had since been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“The bodycam footage and what the offender said in that immediate aftermath showed that he knew what he had done and why he did it,” Lonergan said.

Tran will first be eligible for release on parole in February 2042.

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