An inquest into the suicide of Renae Marsden has heard she was in a romantic relationship with her friend before allegedly being catfished by the same woman.
An inquest into the suicide of Renae Marsden has heard she was in a romantic relationship with her friend before allegedly being catfished by the same woman.

‘We want answers’: Family’s plea amid catfishing inquest

The creator of the catfish account that targeted Renae Marsden before her apparent suicide is believed to be her best friend whom she had an "obsessive" romantic relationship with, a court has heard.

On the first day of the coronial inquest into the death of the 20-year-old, the court was told Camilla Zeidan was possessive and abusive towards her, and created the Brayden Spiteri fake account to get closer to Renae after she broke off the relationship.

Renae Marsden.
Renae Marsden.

 

Renae’s parents Teresa and Mark Marsden.
Renae’s parents Teresa and Mark Marsden.

In her opening statement, council assisting the Coroner Ms Sasha Harding said that in 2008, Renae confided in her school counsellor that she was romantically involved with Camilla and was afraid she would have to leave home to be with her.

In emails read in court, Camilla sent threatening and obsessive messages to Renae before their relationship broke off.

"If you kill me, I'll be your ghost … if you hate me I'll still love you," the email said.

The relationship started to turn sour when Renae started dating someone else, and she became "frightened" of Camilla, who would wait outside the Marsden residence and turn up at Renae's work unannounced.

Ms Harding alleged that when Renae tried to separate from Camilla, she became angry and Renae's mother had to physically pull her off the young woman.

Renae’s parents, brother Jake and grandparents Giuseppe and Anna Costa outside court. Picture: Toby Zerna
Renae’s parents, brother Jake and grandparents Giuseppe and Anna Costa outside court. Picture: Toby Zerna

Camilla's obsessive behaviour led to her calling Renae more than 50 times in one night.

Renae was joyed when Camilla seemed to reconnect with her by introducing her to Brayden, who is alleged to be a fake identity set up by Camilla.

The court heard that Renae and Brayden fell in love, and exchanged more than 11,000 text messages. They never met in person, as Brayden told her he was serving time in Goulburn Prison for involvement in a motorcycle accident.

Brayden became possessive over the course of their digital relationship, getting access to Renae's Facebook messages and demanding to track her movements.

"I have never kissed or held you in my arms but everyday I feel like I have … I know I have hurt you in more ways than possible and only beg for your forgiveness," Renae sent in one message to Brayden.

Renae’s parents are begging for answers. Picture: Toby Zerna
Renae’s parents are begging for answers. Picture: Toby Zerna

Ms Harding said that phone records recovered show multiple texts between Renae and phone's associated with Camilla and Brayden in the hours leading up to her apparent death.

Detective Senior Constable Brent Bell said that he was unable to find any record of Brayden Spiteri existing at all.

Renae's family, including her crying grandparents Anna and Giuseppe Costa, said they desperately missed Renae and wanted answers over her death.

"I still wait for my granddaughter, every Saturday she used to come and have dinner with me, lunch with me, and my grandchildren. She doesn't come anymore and I still wait for her. I still love her and I still want her to come back if she's alive, if she's around," Mrs Costa said.

"I love you Renae, forever … we want answers, I want her back.

"I feel like every car I'm going crazy, that's her, could be her, could be her."

Mr Costa cried outside the courthouse: "come back Renae, I love you?"

Renae’s family: Sister Monique, parents Teresa and Mark and brothers Jake and Luke. Picture: Toby Zerna
Renae’s family: Sister Monique, parents Teresa and Mark and brothers Jake and Luke. Picture: Toby Zerna

Renae's mother Teresa Costa said she wanted to eyeball the woman behind the alleged manipulation of her daughter when she stepped into the Lidcombe courtroom to give evidence, which is expected to occur this afternoon.

"I want to see her. The one thing I can't get around my head is the afternoon the so-called Brayden sent me a text message she had an opportunity to come then, even as a friend," Mrs Marsden said.

"On the night Renae went missing she took me looking for Renae, to a so-called house that belonged to Brayden's family, Mrs Marsden said.

"It took us a long time to understand, to even think that someone could do that. I didn't believe it was true because I still remained talking to her, I still believed her she till wanted to have contact with me after the family started to pick on the fact that they believed she was Brayden.

"I still maintained a bit of a friendship with her because I couldn't believe it … she met up with I confronted her about it and she said 'no'."

Renae's father Mark said he wanted to ensure online manipulation such as catfishing could be criminally prosecuted.

"I won't stop until this gets changed.

Lifeline 13 11 14

 

The 20-year-old is believed to have died by suicide at The Gap in Sydney’s east in 2013.
The 20-year-old is believed to have died by suicide at The Gap in Sydney’s east in 2013.

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