‘Cold-blooded killer’: Distraught parents turn and face pregnant daughter’s murderer in court

A grieving mother needed medical treatment after facing her pregnant daughter’s killer in court where she vowed to make sure the man is forever known to the pair’s surviving children as a “cold-blooded murderer”.

Mother of two Michelle Darragh, 32, was in the process of leaving her partner Ben Coman when she was fatally attacked at Bayswater North in October 2021, leaving behind two young sons.

Michelle Darragh was killed by her former partner.

Coman was found unconscious next to the slain Darragh, with multiple stab wounds to the abdomen but survived and was later charged with Darragh’s murder.

On Monday, the victim’s mother Dianne Darragh sobbed as she relayed the torment her family face raising two young boys – now aged 3 and 5 – who were left with just a photograph of their mother to kiss goodnight every evening.

“My daughter Michelle never wanted to be a statistic of a broken relationship. She wanted to be loved,” she said.

“Ben Coman, look at me. I will make sure your boys know that you are a cold-blooded murderer and that you killed their mother.

“If you ever get out I will move countries so that you will never find them. Our lives will never be the same.”

Darragh left behind two young sons.

As she walked back to her seat after reading her statement, Dianne Darragh fell and injured herself. Court staff rushed to her aid and she was expected to need further medical attention.

Earlier, the court heard that Michelle was 12 weeks pregnant with the pair’s third child when she left the Bayswater North home they shared to stay with her parents in late 2021.

Crown prosecutor Nanette Rogers said Darragh, a well respected social worker, and Coman had been having relationship troubles.

Rogers said despite Coman cheating on his partner with prostitutes and having issues with drug use, Darragh had earlier tried to make the relationship work to provide her sons with a stable and loving home.

But she then learned he’d taken $80,000 out of their home loan savings to buy a car without her knowledge.

Ben Coman pleaded guilty to Michelle Darragh’s murder.Credit:Facebook

Around the same time, Rogers said Coman had become “fixated on the unfounded belief” Darragh was having an affair with his friend, that he wasn’t the father of their two sons and he wanted her to terminate their unborn child.

Darragh returned to the Bayswater North property to collect some of her belongings about 3pm on October 9, 2021, texting and calling her former partner on the way.

Rogers said Darragh was a stickler for routine with her boys, so when she hadn’t returned home by 6pm for their dinner time, her parents began to worry.

The home in Bayswater North.Credit:Luis Ascui

She said Darragh’s father then drove to the home where he found his daughter and Coman unconscious and covered in blood on the floor of one of the boy’s bedrooms, about 7.30pm.

When police arrived they discovered Coman was still alive and he was taken to hospital where he received emergency surgery for stab wounds to the abdomen.

He was later charged with murder and entered a plea of guilty in November.

On Monday, the victim’s father Ashley Darragh also read out a victim impact statement and revealed the struggle he faced every day remembering the crime scene he discovered.

He turned to his daughter’s killer, telling him: “I hope the rest of your time on Earth is a living hell”.

“My life was ripped apart and our third child … was stolen from us when she was brutally murdered by her partner. We all trusted this person and in no way saw this coming,” Ashley Darragh said.

“I don’t understand how anybody could do anything to such a beautiful soul. She was simply going back to her old house … to finish off what had become a bad relationship.

“I’ve never been able to get the events of that night out of my mind; seeing our precious girl left in such a way by a monster.

“These days the vision is still there. I just don’t gasp any more.”

The plea hearing is expected to continue on Tuesday with Coman – now aged 31 – to be sentenced at a later date.

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