‘We are mourning’: Lauga praises CQ for standing together
EMOTIONALLY compelled to honour Karen Gilliland, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga organised and hosted a candlelight vigil on Sunday night.
Karen was killed on Tuesday night at her South Rockhampton home, allegedly by her estranged husband in what has been described as one of the worst scenes Rockhampton police officers have seen in more than 20 years.
Ms Lauga wanted to honour Karen and send love to the Rockhampton Hospital worker's three children, aged 14, 11 and 6.
"We are mourning the loss of someone who has allegedly been murdered in our community and has been taken from us," she said.
"I wanted to send a message that we are standing together."
In the past week since the traumatic incident, Ms Lauga has spoken to various family members of Karen.
She said they have been amazing and "real soldiers".
"They are still in a lot of shock," Ms Lauga said.
"They miss her terribly from what they tell me and the children in particular."
Karen's only sibling Bryan Cranston spoke at the vigil, sharing fond memories of their childhood, Karen's love of reading and her selfless nature of always putting herself last.
Ms Lauga commended Bryan for attending the event and giving a speech at what was such a devastating time for himself and his family.
"Bryan really wanted to come today, he thinks it is more than Karen now, it's about the community wanting to send their love and support," she said.
The Rockhampton community has poured its love and support to the family, from leaving flowers on the fence at Karen's Brae St home to raising more than $30,000 for her children in less than 24 hours.
Many also took part in the virtual candlelight vigil, sharing a photo of a candle they lit in honour of Karen.
"It makes me so proud, it's not surprising," Ms Lauga said.
"We always come together in traumatic events whether it be a natural disaster or the loss of a woman in our community as a result of an (alleged) heinous crime.
"It just goes to show the community wants to stand together."
Ms Lauga is dedicated to ensuring Karen's story isn't forgotten about and her loss of life won't be in vain.
"The conversation won't stop," she said.
"We all need to take a personal responsibility when it comes to supporting someone we know and love."
Karen's estranged husband Nigel Gilliland has been charged with one count each of murder relating to domestic violence and enter with intent. He will remain in custody and his next court hearing is on August 19.