DONNITTA Seckold will spend today waiting for a phone call.
About noon, the Tamworth mother-of-five will find out whether the woman convicted of murdering her father will be released from prison on parole.
It is a wait that Mrs Seckold has endured every year since her stepmother, Noelene Anderson, was sentenced to 11 years’ jail for strangling Bob Grosse and burying him beneath their Central Coast house in 1995.
The body lay in a shallow grave for two years before it was discovered by a cadaver dog on July 26, 1997.
Seventeen years after her father first went missing, Mrs Seckold said that each new parole hearing brought the fear that her father’s murderer would one day be free.
“I’m a nervous wreck until I get the phone call,” Mrs Seckold said.
“I’m not ready to hear those words. In my head she dies in jail.”
It took three trials to bring Anderson to justice, after she successfully appealed her first conviction in 2000, winning a retrial in 2002 which was then aborted.
Found guilty of murder at her third trial in November 2003, Anderson was jailed for a minimum of 11 years. During the three trials, the court heard evidence that the marriage of Anderson and Grosse was violent, and that Anderson had begun another relationship in the months leading up to her husband’s death.
The court was told that after asking her new lover to dig a hole beneath her house, Anderson buried her husband there and stored her lawnmower over the top.
Mrs Seckold sat through all three trials, keeping a scrapbook of press clippings and said the case still affected every part of her life.
Through the Victims of Crime registry, she is kept informed of every development, including hearings and parole board meetings, like the one scheduled for today.
A Victims of Crime support group representative will sit in at the hearing for her. Mrs Seckold said she was unable to the face the proceedings by herself.
Losing her husband early this year and raising five boys on her own, Mrs Seckold said a weight lifts off her shoulders every time she hears parole has been denied.
“It means I can breathe for another year, until it comes back again,” she said.
Mrs Seckold said she knew it was just a matter of time before Anderson, 72, will win her freedom, as this was her fourth parole hearing since 2010.
“I go through this every year. The wound is opened and I grieve all over again,” she said.
Mrs Seckold applied to face her father’s killer in jail, but was told Anderson was not a suitable candidate for the
program ... “I wanted to go and see her and hear the truth, the harsh reality of what she did, but I haven’t been able to.”
She decribed her former stepmother as a “manipulative, cold and calculating woman,” who she knew was responsible for the death of the father she never had the chance to get to know.
“All I wanted was a relationship with my dad. She’s taken that from me,” she said.