True Christmas miracle for murdered man's family
The family of murdered man Billy Guest was granted a Christmas miracle when they discovered he had fathered a child just two weeks after his death.
Now, a year on, they will celebrate baby William's first Christmas while paying tribute to the father he will never know.
Partner Emily Mawson discovered she was pregnant with Mr Guest's child a fortnight after his lifeless body was found slumped against a toilet block at Barwon Valley Park on December 21 last year.
Harry Dickenson is accused of shooting Mr Guest and has been charged with his murder.
He has previously indicated he will plead not guilty and is expected to face the Supreme Court again next year.
Ms Mawson said she was still grappling with her partner's death when she learned in January she was expecting the couple's second child.
"I was just numb," Ms Mawson said.
"I don't even think I felt anything."
Ms Mawson and Mr Guest have a son Brock, 8, and stepson Levi.
They were not planning to add a third child to the family and Ms Mawson admits to feeling overwhelmed at the time.
"I didn't know how I'd feel about it," Ms Mawson said.
But after giving birth to William in August, Ms Mawson said she immediately fell in love with him.
She named the baby boy, also known as Billy, in his father's honour and can already see similarities between the two.
"It's like Billy coming back and it's a really beautiful gift from Billy, I believe," Ms Mawson said.
Billy Guest's mum Roxanne Ryder told the Geelong Advertiser she still could not comprehend the loss of her own child.
The Winchelsea woman said the pair shared an inseparable bond and recalled Mr Guest's love of riding motorbikes and breakdancing as a child.
"Behind that great big cheeky smile was a great heart and (Billy) lived life to the fullest and on his own terms," Ms Ryder said.
"Billy was one of a kind and no mother should ever have to bury their child."
Ms Ryder said she now felt like a "broken person" with all special occasions tinged with sadness.
The family marked Mr Guest's 28th birthday on November 15 by releasing a balloon.
The occasion was made more difficult because Mr Guest and his oldest son Brock shared the same birthdate.
"My heart and soul is broken into a million pieces and this is something I'll never get over," Ms Ryder said.
She said December 25 was particularly hard because she had such fond Christmas memories with her son.
"I feel like I died too, but that they forgot to bury me," Ms Ryder said.
"I've lost everything, he was my life."
But, Ms Ryder said the birth of William had brought the family some joy.
"It was a blessing but it breaks my heart knowing that William will never meet his father and that Billy is not here for little William.
"It breaks my heart and the sadness takes over."
Originally published as 'I feel like I died too': mum's pain a year after Billy's death