Parents warn of DV signs as murderer jailed for life

MOMENTS after Natalie Leaney's boyfriend was sentenced to life in jail for her murder, her parents spoke out about the warning signs of domestic violence.

Christopher Charles Koani had been seeing Ms Leaney for six months before he pulled a gun on her and shot her in the head at their Rochedale unit in Brisbane's south in March 2013.

Thursday was his 32nd birthday and the day he was sentenced to life in jail.

Ms Leaney's mother and father, Deborah and Malcolm, spoke during his sentencing hearing about the loss of their daughter.

Mr Leaney read a statement from his son, Natalie's brother Daniel, about how he had recognised the warning signs when she started seeing Koani.

He said Natalie "was like the glue that kept us together"; she would regularly call and text message family.

But within weeks of her relationship with Koani, "something wasn't right".

"She stopped showing up for dinners… she stopped answering her phone, she took forever to get a reply via text and she seemed to withdraw from us."

She told family she'd had enough and was breaking up with him.

Speaking outside Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday Mr and Mrs Leaney said Koani was controlling of their daughter and urged others to watch out for the warning signs, such as a change in a loved one's behaviour.

Mr Leaney said domestic violence offenders should face harsher penalties.

"I think we need to bring the hammer down hard on this domestic violence issue," Mr Leaney said.

"(It) is just getting out of hand and I think the justice system should come down fairly heavy handed on it to try and rub it out."

Koani, who was also sentenced to a string of other charges, will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

- APN NEWSDESK


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