Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

A Mother's Pain as Killer Is Released 15 Years on from Daughter's Brutal Murder

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

A Mother's Pain as Killer Is Released 15 Years on from Daughter's Brutal Murder

Article excerpt

Melanie

Plane

Reporter

melanie.plane@capnews.com.au

A SOARING seagull looks down from the lounge room wall of Lara Ashcroft's mum's house.

Every time she looks up at it, she is reminded of her daughter and best friend - a beautiful, bubby 23-year-old.

The image of the seagull, snapped by Lara with the camera her mum gave her on her 21st birthday, was meant to be a Mother's Day present.

A present Lara's mum, who preferred not to be named, said her daughter never had the chance to give her because her life was cut short by Stephen Wayne Robson.

"Lara had told my other daughter she was going to give me the photo for Mother's Day," her mum said.

"She actually told my other daughter where it (the photo negative) was and when she was murdered we found it in the top drawer of her bedside table."

April 7 marked 15 years since Robson murdered Lara by strangling and running her over next to the DPI on the Yeppoon to Rockhampton Rd after tricking her into a meeting at a Rockhampton motel.

Robson, a self-confessed conman and known gambler, owed Lara $45,000 and had lured her to the motel and ultimately her death by telling her he had the money.

Tears flowed as Lara's mum recalled the time leading up to her daughter's death.

"Lara and I worked together at a freight company and spent a lot of time together there. She moved on and did secretary work at Tucker and Nankivell and that's where she met him (Robson)," she said.

"We became a little bit distant for a while. It was close to that time that I had a tumour. I had the tumour removed and Lara and I got back together.

"When I was a little bit better she'd say 'come on mum, get your gear on, we're going dancing at the (Great) Western.

"Life kept on being busy and we kept being friends even though she was with him. It was like the tumour had brought us back together."

With Lara acquiring $50,000 from a workplace injury claim, her mum said she warned her daughter Robson was after her money.

Devastatingly, Lara's mum's suspicions about Robson were correct.

"Lara came over one afternoon and told me she had split up with him," she said.

"I was like, okay, what is going on, and she told me he had taken $45,000 of hers, she'd had a deed drawn up and he had gone out of town.

"We spent a fair bit of time together that week and then she came to see me early on the Saturday morning with a friend and she looked absolutely gorgeous.

"She sat outside and had a smoke and then she said she had to go because she had to find somewhere else to live. Before she left me she kissed me and said 'mum I'll ring you later'.

"We were going to go out for tea and dancing. So I waited and waited and then I got a phone call to say they (Lara and Robson) had met up, that he said he had the money for her that he'd taken.

"Then people started coming and saying she was missing. …

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