Seven years ago today, Toolamba sisters Colleen and Laura Irwin were killed by a convicted rapist. Today their parents talk about the tragic impact the killing had on their lives.By Riahn Smith
Allan and Shirley Irwin don’t live anymore, they just exist.
They stopped living the moment they learned of the death of their two daughters.
Toolamba sisters Colleen and Laura Irwin were raped and murdered at their home in Melbourne in 2006.
Today marks the seventh anniversary of their passing.
‘‘We relive it every day,’’ Mrs Irwin said.
‘‘The minute you open your eyes until you close your eyes it’s just there.
‘‘Some weeks we don’t even talk, we’re going through the motions. Life is passing us by.’’
Mrs Irwin hasn’t worked since their death. Mr Irwin only works three days a week and even that’s sometimes more than he can cope with.
The pair rise each morning without purpose and spend the nights tossing and turning, wishing for sleep to come.
Sometimes during the night, when the pain is most unbearable, Mrs Irwin will sneak into the lounge room and watch old footage of her girls.
‘‘When we put the DVDs on, we close our eyes and they’re in the room,’’ Mrs Irwin said.
‘‘We just live in the past when they were here. That’s our existence. That’s all we have.’’
And there’s no light at the end of this tunnel; Mr Irwin said the past 12 months have been the worst yet.
‘‘At the moment we’re both as low as we can get,’’ he said.
‘‘The first ‘x’ amount of years you really are in shock, you’re doing things, but you don’t know (what you’re doing), but now coming up to this period of seven years, we haven’t got the shock to protect us.’’
‘‘Reality is moving in front of us but we’re not keeping up with it and the gap’s getting bigger.’’
Stepping inside the Irwin’s home is like entering a shrine.
The smiling faces of Colleen and Laura cover the walls, the fridge, the computer and every other surface you could stick a picture to.
The photos are a constant reminder of their loss, but also of the good times that came before.
With a spark of light in her eyes, Mrs Irwin jumped at the chance to talk about her daughters.
‘‘We were close. Colleen, Laura and I were just so close,’’ she said.
‘‘They’d come home and we’d just sit and talk .
‘‘They just loved life. You only have to look at their photos to know how much they loved life.’’
But the sparkle in her eyes doesn’t last long.
‘‘Too much has gone with the girls,’’ Mrs Irwin said.
‘‘We’re empty. We’ll never be the same.’’
‘‘You just can’t be a mum and dad one day and not the next.’’
Today Allan and Shirley throw their support behind a campaign to tighten Victoria’s parole laws. Read more inside today’s News.
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Police allege a man attempted to rob a Cobram supermarket today.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.