Six years ago, Kirra-Lea McLoughlin was found dead in her home with more than 105 bruises on her body.
On the night of her death neighbours heard chilling screams from inside the house in Wolvi, near Gympie, in Queensland.
When paramedics were called to the house they found her heavily bruised, unconscious and with a severe head injury.
The mother-of-four, 27, was rushed to hospital but was declared brain dead on arrival before dying the next day of a traumatic brain injury.
Ms McLoughlin had been in a violent de facto relationship with a 27-year-old man at the time of her death.
When the ambulance arrived at the couple’s house on Beenham Valley Road, Ms McLoughlin’s partner told first responders that she had overdosed on her antidepressant tablets and he couldn’t wake her.
On the way to hospital, Ms McLoughlin’s brain was so swollen that it had extended down into her spinal cord. Upon arrival, she was brain dead and later died
Kirra-Lea McLoughlin was found by paramedics at her property in Wolvi, near Gympie in Queensland, heavily bruised, unconscious and with a severe head injury in July 2014
On the way to hospital, Ms McLoughlin’s brain was so swollen that it had extended down into her spinal cord.
Suspicions surrounding her cause of death were first raised when doctors didn’t find any signs of an overdose or any alcohol in her system.
She was flown to Gold Coast University Hospital where her mother Alison was forced to say her goodbyes to her lifeless daughter.
‘The doctor just looked at me and she said ‘there’s nothing, there’s zero brain activity,’ the tearful mother told Australian Story on Monday night.
‘She said that the X-ray looked like as if it was shaken baby syndrome. Considering the marks on her face… it seems to me that she was bashed into the ground continuously.’
Suspicions surrounding her cause of death were first raised when doctors didn’t find any signs of an overdose or any alcohol in her system
It’s understood Ms McLoughlin may have laid for up to 12 hours with her injuries without any medical attention
Now, her devastated family are one step closer to finding out what really happened to the beloved mum-of-four after an inquest into her death was opened earlier this month.
High-profile lawyer Peter Boyce, who was involved in the Daniel Morcombe murder, has agreed to take on Ms McLoughlin’s case pro bono.
On the third day of the inquest, a former girlfriend of Ms McLoughlin’s partner told the court he had confessed to hurting her on the night she died.
‘He said he was in a violent rage and shaking her and her head was banging on the floor or wall,’ the woman said, the ABC reported.
‘But he said they sorted it out, everything was fine and they went to bed … said he woke up early that morning, noticed she’d urinated on herself and wasn’t able to wake her up.
‘He said he freaked out, rung somebody and then rang the ambulance.’
The woman told the court the man ‘needed to get it off his chest’ when confessing.
The inquest also heard from Ms McLoughlin’s boyfriend’s mother, who claimed her son was violent towards the young mum.
‘If you’re trying to point out domestic violence, in three cases they were all as bad each other, if one was hitting, he was hitting back,’ she said.
Mr Boyce then asked if she was suggesting her son only ‘gave as good as he got?’
‘They were unpredictable people, my son included,’ the woman said. ‘I’ve known both have been violent.’
Damo (left), Ms McLoughlin’s neighbour, remembers hearing ‘blood curdling’ screams coming from her house the night before she was found unconscious
Neighbours of Ms McLoughlin told the inquest they heard harrowing screams coming from the Wolvi property before she died.
Joan Benson said she often heard loud arguments coming from the house, but said the fight on the night before the young mother was found unconscious was ‘very, very overheated’.
Ms McLoughlin’s partner went to jail in August 2018 for unrelated offences, and will be eligible for parole once he registers a legitimate address.
He was set to testify at the coronial inquest via video link from jail earlier this month, but it was adjourned.
Alison said she hopes the inquest will lead to a criminal conviction.
‘I want changes to be made because this happens every day. If we can save one woman from ending up like Kirra did, then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something,’ she said.
‘If she didn’t achieve something in life, well, maybe she’s going to achieve it in death.’
The inquest is ongoing.