My daughter Sophie

sophie_2.jpgSophie was born in 1985. She was a loved daughter and a sister to two older brothers.

She was vibrant, energetic, full of life, drove us mad at times with her energy and quest for the best. She was a caring and loving person who would be the first to apologise after an argument. She was a hard worker and loved life. She loved dancing, had learned ballet for at least ten years. She was always twirling around in happy flight. She liked to go to the gym regularly. She wasn’t fanatical but liked to exercise when she could. She loved ice skating and took any opportunity to go to the local rink when her friends were available. Her main hobby was photography. She spent many hours Photoshopping, and putting them into folders. Maybe we are biased but she did seem to have an eye for a stunning photo. We reap the benefits now with many photos. We would love more.

She was bright and intelligent and throughout her school and university life was dedicated to learning. Some of her teachers even said she was even challenging to them – in a polite way. She finished university with a 1st Class honours degree in economics. She put pressure on herself to do the best and did admonish herself if she didn’t get top marks. She said in her 4th year that an honours degree wasn't worth the paper it was written on if it wasn’t first class. We were proud of her achievements whatever the level but we knew she worked hard and so felt she earned the results.

She was published posthumously in the prestigious Oxonomics Journal (Vol 4 2009) from Oxford university. An essay on Equality. A great honour for someone so young (22) and we are proud but so sad she did not live to reap the rewards of such recognition. Her dissertation was published in the Otago University EconNZ@Otago economics faculty magazine February 2008. It was titled 'Wondering about Welfare? Characteristics of New Zealand beneficiaries.

Not only was she stressed with completing her degree, she worked every weekend at a photo shop, she had a social life with her friends, loving any opportunity to dance. She had more hours in the day than the rest of us. She was fussy about her appearance and managed to also have a good sleep and sensible diet.

She was nervous about her next stage in life but I have no doubt she would have risen to the challenges. I am sure that any future employer would not have been disappointed.

Tragically Sophie died in January 2008 aged 22. She was murdered by an ex-boyfriend after what was described at the trial as a “tumultuous” and “toxic” relationship. Sophie was confused; she said to me: "He's doing my head in. Why does he treat me like this I try to do nice things for him. I am not sexy enough for him."

After her death I recognised the relationship for what it was.

Sophie was an abused woman.

"I ask myself many times over as I am sure other families do, what did she do to deserve this? There is nothing that could be that bad that deserved an ugly ending to her life. My legacy to my daughter is for all families and friends to support any of your loved ones through abusive relationships and, even more so, when they end be there for each other. We only get one life. This is it."

Sophie’s Mum, Lesley