Description - Shirley's Story: A Tale of Strength, Courage, and Hope by Emily Eklund

From the oppressed shores of India to a racially charged Fiji, her mother’s death at her birth, early adoption, marital abuse, military takeover, and move to Australia, Shirley had already overcome a life of adversity when she was subjected to a nightmare no mother should endure. On April 22, 2003, three of Shirley’s children, Neelma, Kunal, and Sidhi, were found murdered, submerged in the spa bath of their home in an affluent Australian suburb. In a crime that gripped the nation – and led to a five-and-a-half-year investigation involving more than 1,500 lines of inquiry, 750 witness statements, 490 exhibits, the elimination of 180 DNA profiles, and the collection of 10,000 foot impressions, Shirley and her husband, Vijay, faced accusations of domestic violence, molestation, affairs, prostitution, and bad business deals. Strong, sassy, passionate, and loving, Shirley depended on her love for her children, her faith in God, and her decision to keep a ‘clean state of mind’ to overcome alcohol and substance abuse while battling mental illness to help catch the killer. After a 95-day committal hearing and 80-day criminal trial – the longest in Queensland legal history – a Supreme Court jury deliberated for four days before finding Massimo ‘Max’ Sica guilty of murdering Shirley’s three children. When her only surviving child, Archana, died of a brain aneurysm in February 2020, Shirley was once again forced to dig deep, finding strength in memories captured over 43 years. This is Shirley’s Story, a tale of strength, courage and hope as told to Emily Eklund Power.

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