About Jeff (more)

Jeff’s life before the horrific night in 1993

Jeff Gilham and his mother, HelenJeff was 23 years old in August 1993.  He was loved by his parents. Jeff was especially close to his dad and together they shared a passion for sailing. They would regularly go out on the Woronora River, which flowed right past their house. Jeff raced 16 ft skiffs and was excelling at this. He was just six months away from completing a degree in civil engineering and had good job prospects for when he completed his studies.  Jeff was in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend at the time, and they had celebrated their second anniversary just days prior to the tragedy.
Jeff had many friends who enjoyed his company and valued friendship. He had never been in trouble with the law.    (Back to About Jeff Gilham summary)


Jeff’s life after he lost his family

Steve, Jeff and Helen Gilham

Steve, Jeff and Helen Gilham

Jeff’s life collapsed following the deaths of his parents. He struggled enormously with the fact that his brother had died at his own hand.  He was taken into custody and spent nearly a month in the psychiatric unit at Long Bay Gaol.
Jeff was eventually granted bail and stayed with family friends for over a year following the tragedy.  He tried finding a job but was knocked back because of the criminal charge. There was a lot of work ahead of him to re-build his life.
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How did the court deal with Christopher’s death?

In April 1995, Jeff stood trial for Christopher’s murder. As he had done from the very moment he knocked on his neighbour’s door for help, Jeff admitted to killing Christopher. The prosecution accepted this had happened in an act of extreme provocation. Jeff pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to a 5 year good behaviour bond.
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How did Jeff cope and rebuild his life?

This was a slow process that took many years and much personal determination. Jeff continued to receive regular counseling and lots of encouragement and support from his extended family and friends.  He focused on short term goals, and he knew his parents would have wanted him to complete his degree.  After finishing this he was offered a position with the company that had employed him as a student.

Jeff managed his finances carefully. He applied for access to his parents’ estate as a means to pay for his mounting legal costs. When the estate was finally distributed Jeff continued to work and to live as he had always done. After paying off his outstanding legal expenses, he did his best to invest the remainder for the future.
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Jeff – a husband and father.

Robecca and JeffRobecca and Jeff studied engineering together at University, where they were friends. Following the tragedy, Robecca extended a hand of friendship to Jeff and they became close.  Jeff proposed to Robecca in January 1999 and they married in March 2000. They celebrated their wedding with many family and friends.

Jeff and Robecca GilhamTo people who know Jeff and Robecca, it is obvious that they share a special connection and are extremely devoted to each other. Robecca has always, and continues to describe Jeff as a dream husband and an amazing and involved father. Their home is a partially renovated 1960′s red brick veneer house that they bought shortly before they married. They bought the house with the plan to renovate and raise their children. There is nothing fancy about the way the Gilhams live.

Jeff Gilham in the gardenIn 2002, Robecca gave birth to their first daughter. Jeff was by Robecca’s side the whole way. When Robecca returned to work full time and began studying part time, Jeff, who was also working full time, took on an even greater involvement in her upbringing.

Just weeks before the birth of their second daughter in 2006, Jeff was charged with the murder of his parents. Robecca was devastated and terrified.  Jeff was upset at the effect this was having on Robecca and his unborn child. He tried to maintain calm in the house to reassure and protect them.

Jeff Gilham and daughtersIn 2008, their eldest daughter started school at the local public school while Jeff faced the first of two trials for murder. Just prior to the first trial, they were delighted to learn that Robecca was pregnant with their third child. Hoping to be able to make a happy announcement they decided not to tell anyone until after the trial. They reasoned that because Jeff was innocent, a jury would not convict him. When the first jury returned unable to reach a verdict, Jeff and Robecca were devastated.

Robecca had their third baby daughter in September 2008. Their youngest daughter was born just two weeks before the second trial started.

Jeff and Robecca have supported each other to develop careers that have contributed to the community. They are also raising three beautiful little daughters who are waiting for the day when their injustice is rectified and their Dad can come home to them.
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Why has Jeff never spoken to the media?

Jeff is a private person and has avoided speaking to and confronting the media. He hasn’t been willing to relive the events of the tragedy unless forced by the courts, and has wanted to protect the privacy of his wife and daughters. Jeff does not believe that his personal tragedy of having lost his whole family in one night should be a matter for public entertainment from which the media and others seek to make a profit.

Throughout all of the proceedings, Jeff and Robecca have been advised by their legal team not to engage with the media. In the absence of any information about Jeff as a person, the media has created a false image of Jeff that fits the crime for which he has been wrongly convicted.
Unfortunately, there is little, if anything, Jeff can do to stop the media and other outspoken people saying whatever they like about him and his family.
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