Daughter ‘destroyed’ after mum stabbed to death
Marcela Pelegrini de Ataide's mother moved her to Sydney believing she had found a safer place for the eight-year-old to grow up in than their native Brazil.
Now, the little girl is trying to make sense of her mother Daiane Pelegrini's murder two weeks ago at their Oatlands home, allegedly at the hands of friend, 25-year-old David Tran.
Marcela's dad, Marcelo Ataide, had to tell his daughter her mother was dead.
In a tragic twist, the trio moved from the dangerous Porto Alegre, Brazil to Sydney for a safer life in 2016.
"Daiane wanted to have a new life for Marcela because where we used to live, in Porto Alegre, started getting really dangerous," Mr Ataide said.
"She decided she wanted to go to university, do aged care and learn English.
"We wanted somewhere Marcela could go to school and get a good education."
Mr Ataide picked Marcela up from school on August 3 dreading breaking the news Daiane had been rushed to hospital with severe injuries.
"Marcela said 'Mum is going to be OK, she just went to the hospital and the doctors are going to take care of her. She's a nurse, so she's going to be all right'," he recalled.
He sobbed as he recalled telling Marcela that Mummy was not coming back when he learned later she had died.
"The way that she looked and the way that she cried," he said. "I don't know how to say it but it's indescribable. She was destroyed."
Adjusting to life as a duo has been hard and Marcela understands exactly what has happened, Mr Ataide said.
"I always tell her we're together, we're going to be together forever," he said.
"When I tell her that she says, 'Mum used to say this and she's not here anymore'.
"I say 'Now we are a family together' but she says 'No, we are not family. It's only me and you. We have to have more people to be family. Everybody else has more people. We love each other but we don't have a family'.
"She says these things that really hurt my heart, but I have to be strong for her."
Fiercely protecting his daughter is now Mr Ataide's only concern, making sure she has stability and support.
"I'm going to do whatever I can so you're not going to lose anything else," he said of Marcela. "That is my goal. I cannot go without a fight."
Marcela wanted to continue living in the house in Oatlands where she and her mother lived together.
Mr Ataide had to clean the blood from the house himself, saying he was shocked at how far and wide it had spread through the house.
Tran was charged with murder, use a carriage service to menace, enter dwelling with intent to steal, or damage and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was refused bail and is due in court on September 16.
Mr Ataide began to cry again as he spoke about the support he had received from Marcela's school, their church, the NSW government and the Brazilian Consulate, especially with his own mental health. "I am talking to some psychologist because I cannot give up," he said.
" (Marcela) wants to give up and I cannot let her give up. No way. One day I said 'Today is going to be a really good day,' and she said 'I'm never going to have happy days. I lost my mum.'
"And I say 'Yes, but we have to try'."
Supporters of Marcela and Mr Ataide have started a fundraiser to help them adjust to life together. Click here to donate
Originally published as Daughter 'destroyed' after mum stabbed to death