Mum bashed to death at SA shopping centre in random attack
A SELFLESS citizen tried valiantly to revive a mother of two who was bashed to death in a horrific random attack outside a southern suburbs shopping centre.
Police are still to ascertain why the Ethelton woman was assaulted so severely at Colonnades Shopping Centre that she was left unrecognisable to a cyclist who administered first-aid.
The 36-year-old victim - described by her brother as "beautiful" - succumbed to significant head injuries at the Noarlunga Centre complex just after midnight on Thursday.
A man of no fixed address, 20, was arrested nearby and charged with murder.
Police said they had not established any links between the man and woman and that the attack was random. They have, however, ruled out robbery as a motive.
Chris Graham, 43, of Christie Downs was on his bicycle and had planned to withdraw cash from the BankSA ATM at the shopping centre when he saw the woman lying facedown.
"At first I didn't know if it was a man or a woman or if it was a set-up … when I saw the blood I realised it was pretty serious," he said.
"I rolled her over and tried to stop the bleeding but it was no use really."
Mr Graham administered CPR after calling the ambulance and police.
"I'm sorry I couldn't do more. I've got a child myself and I couldn't contemplate that happening to her.
"I thought, 'If I had been here 15 minutes earlier' but I can't think like that."
When asked about his heroic actions, he said: "Anyone could have done it. I did what I could. It's just wrong place, wrong time."
Mr Graham said the victim was lying in a big pool of blood and her head injuries were "horrific" to the point that her face was unrecognisable.
When officers arrived shortly after, they used Mr Graham's shirt to stop the bleeding while the good Samaritan continued chest compressions.
"I find it hard to believe (the alleged murderer and victim) are not related in any way with the hate and anger that cause that sort of injury," he said.
"When (police) brought him in handcuffs he was quite calm, subdued. It was surreal really.
"It's sad someone had so little respect for someone's life." He described the attack as "gutless".
Women's Safety Services SA director of services Ginny Cisneros said she and other frontline workers were "outraged and saddened" at the woman's death.
Ms Cisneros said it was "simply unacceptable" that women were dying at the rate of one a week across Australia as a result of violence.
"Whether in the streets or in our homes, violence against women is caused by the same underlying harmful behaviours and attitudes that deny women equality, dignity, respect and, in the most extreme cases, their lives," she said.
"As a community, we urgently need to address this issue. From the streets to our homes, we all have a right to safety and a role to play to ensure that women and children are safe."
The alleged murderer faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court just before 4pm on Thursday, still dressed in a white forensic jumpsuit.
He showed no reaction as his lawyer told the court there would be no application for bail.
SA Police sought, and were granted, suppression orders over the identities of both the man and his alleged victim.
They told the court investigators needed time to locate and speak to potential witnesses "in isolation", without influence from news reports or social media posts.
They said those investigations would help discern the movements of the both the alleged murderer and victim before the incident.
However, upon application by The Advertiser, the length of those orders was narrowed to 28 days.
Magistrate Greg Fisher remanded the man in custody to face court again in March 2019.
Earlier in the day, detective Chief Inspector Scott Fitzgerald said the victim's head injuries were "quite severe and significant" - but that no weapons were used.
"This murder of a mother is shocking and tragic, our thoughts are with the family," he said.
"This is a tragedy where a mother of two was murdered in our community.
"We are currently looking at the motive however, at this stage, both parties are not known to each other and we're not certain of what the motive is."
Det Chief-Insp Fitzgerald ruled out robbery but said police had obtained CCTV from the area.
"It is still subject to the investigation why she was here," he said.
"Police believe this man was hanging around the Noarlunga Centre from about 7pm (on Wednesday). He was wearing a dark hoodie and shorts."
Police crime scene investigators worked through Wednesday night scouring the shopping centre carpark for evidence.
Several brown paper bags were filled with items of interest and photographs were taken.
Local residents and shoppers told The Advertiser they were on edge after the attack.
Emily Doran said she did not feel safe walking at night around the shopping centre.
"You heard a mother being murdered for no reason, that's terrible, it's horrifying," she said.
"I wasn't really surprised to be honest, people make jokes about Colonnades all the time because it's not really safe. Security do what they can."
Shopper and mother Deborah said the violent, random incident had left her shaken.
"I think it's absolutely disgusting and I feel sorry for the family and the kids because they have to grow up without a mummy," she said.
"As soon as the sun goes down, I don't come here (to Colonnades) at all."
Local resident Elizabeth said the murder made her nervous.
"I know bad things go on around here but not as bad as a murder," she said.
"I think they need to have more patrols … or someone around all the time to keep an eye on things."
The investigation is continuing and police ask anyone who was in the vicinity of Colonnades last night or who has any information that may assist the investigation to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestopperssa.com.au.
- with Sean Fewster, Lauren Novak and Gabriel Polychronis