A landmark inquiry into the domestic violence deaths of four Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory has heard confronting details on the its first day of hearings.
A warning, the following story contains the names of Indigenous people who have died.
The series of inquests began in Alice Springs on Tuesday, where the hearing heard evidence about the death of 34-year-old Kumanjayi Haywood.
Ms Haywood died at the Hidden Valley Town Camp on the outskirts of Alice Springs in November, 2021 after her partner set a house on fire while she hid inside.
The NT coroner heard Ms Haywood sent a series of text messages to a loved one before her death, saying: “He’s going to kill me tonight…love you so much…don’t cry for me.”
The court heard the violence had been perpetrated against Ms Haywood throughout her 20-year relationship and included violent incidents including knives, rocks and furniture as well as emotional abuse.
Northern Territory Coroner Elisabeth Armitage said the system had failed not only family violence victims but also the first responders and those working within that environment as well.
Over the six months the inquest will examine each woman’s death separately before calling in a range of experts to detail systemic issues in how the Northern Territory responds to family and sexual violence.