When Kimbarlie O’Reilly, 34, met charismatic Jake Frecker, 25, in 2018, they immediately became almost inseparable.
Ms O’Reilly became quickly smitten with Frecker who seemed funny and easygoing and played football for Dimboola Football Club in the Wimmera league in Victoria.
But within weeks, Frecker began showing some unsettling signs, frequently putting down family and friends, and in particular, his former partners.
Ms O’Reilly expressed concern, but was quickly shut down with excuses and gaslighting.
“For some reason I believed his every answer,” she says.
Before long though, his emotional stability began to waver, often shifting between extreme affection to aggressive verbal abuse.
By then, Ms O’Reilly was under the spell, believing it was her responsibility to make things better.
“The only option was to always try my hardest not to upset or annoy him,” she says.
“I hoped that he would become happy over time, and I’d help him be better.”
After months of aggressive outbursts and unpredictable behaviour, things took an even darker turn on January 16, 2019, when Frecker became enraged over an innocent text message and viciously attacked Ms O’Reilly.
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