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Mum of murdered teen Tania Burgess opens up about surviving children as DL gets parole

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The mum of brutally murdered teen Tania Burgess has revealed her two surviving children struggle to talk about their dead sister 17 years after she was left for dead on a street.

Tania was 15 when a boy, then 16, ambushed and stabbed her 48 times on the NSW Central Coast in 2005 and left her to die. 

People rushed to her side, where she uttered the killer’s name, but died moments later. 

It was revealed on Thursday that the killer, who is now 32 but unable to be identified due to legal reasons, will be released on August 1 on parole and be able to remain anonymous.

Reacting to the news her daughter’s killer would be released, Mandy Burgess opened up about her family’s grief at the decision – and revealed how her two surviving children Gemma and Blake were left ‘heartbroken’.

‘We don’t get a second chance at getting Tania back,’ she told Ben Fordham on 2GB. 

‘It’s so hopeless to see him walk free and start a new life.’

In a tragic admission, Ms Burgess said her surviving kids barely talk about their dead sister.

‘They haven’t talked much about Tania since it happened. They are just numb. The conversations were quite short. I think they’re heartbroken, both of them, to think that he’s getting out,’ she said.

Chris and Mandy Burgess with their murdered daughter Tania and their other daughter Gemma. Mandy has opened up about the impact of Tania's killing on her siblings Gemma and Blake

Chris and Mandy Burgess with their murdered daughter Tania and their other daughter Gemma. Mandy has opened up about the impact of Tania’s killing on her siblings Gemma and Blake

The now 32-year-old killer, who can only be named as DL because he committed the offence as a minor, will be released on August 1

The now 32-year-old killer, who can only be named as DL because he committed the offence as a minor, will be released on August 1

Mandy Burgess opened up about her family's grief at the decision - and revealed how her two surviving children Gemma and Blake were left'heartbroken'

Mandy Burgess opened up about her family’s grief at the decision – and revealed how her two surviving children Gemma and Blake were left ‘heartbroken’

Ms Burgess said she was terrified the killer would be in the community.

‘He’s somewhere in the community and no-one knows who he is or what he’s done and that’s probably the most scary part about it,’ she said.

The mum said her kids were lost for words when they received the news late on Thursday.

‘Gemma and Blake got the news rather late, yesterday afternoon. I think Blake heard it on the news and Gemma, she was so busy working that she had no idea. I called her at about 5 o’clock, 5.30. They didn’t know what to say,’ she said.

‘They were children at the time and they’re grown healthy adults now who have their own lives to live. It was hard talking to both of them yesterday afternoon.’

Despite pleas by the family that he not be allowed to remain anonymous, the 32-year-old killer can only be named as DL because the offence happened when he was a minor.

Justice James Wood said during the NSW State Parole Authority hearing that he had accepted expert advice that strongly recommended DL should be released with supervision before his full sentence expired next year.

‘The priority is now supervision to foster his reintegration and the protection of the public,’ the report, by the Serious Offenders Review Council, stated.

DL must provide authorities daily notifications of all his movements, be electronically monitored and must engage with treatment by a forensic psychologist along with other strict conditions.

Justice Wood extended the parole authority’s deepest sympathies to Tania’s parents, Mandy and Chris, who were present in court. 

After being identified by a dying Tania, DL was arrested on the evening of the horrific murder.

After being identified by a dying Tania, DL was arrested on the evening of the horrific murder in 2005

After being identified by a dying Tania, DL was arrested on the evening of the horrific murder in 2005

Mandy said that Tania was a'beautiful, caring and loving' teenager who was just starting to bloom at age 15

Mandy said that Tania was a ‘beautiful, caring and loving’ teenager who was just starting to bloom at age 15 

At his trial, the jury only took 90 minutes to convict him. He was jailed for a maximum term of 22 years with a non-parole period of 17 years. 

The sentence was reduced on appeal by four years in 2018, meaning he has been eligible for parole since mid-2018. 

On Wednesday, Tania’s mother Mandy said DL had never expressed remorse and was now getting a chance at adult life, that he denied her daughter.

‘You just wipe 17 years off and he can start a new life and yet we lost our daughter,’ she said.

‘You can only dream what kind of life she would have had. She was such a beautiful caring, loving teenager.

‘It was all taken away from us. She was just a girl, she was just starting to bloom at the age of 15.’

After getting off the school bus, Tania was taking a shortcut home through Forrester’s Beach Resort carpark when DL, a boy she caught the bus with but did not go to school with, attacked her.

After holidaymakers saw him standing above Tania, four people rushed to her aide as she lay dying in a pool of blood, struggling for breath. 

Tania's parents, Chris and Mandy Burgess, have argued that DL should never be released and given the chance at an adult life that their daughter was forever denied

Tania’s parents, Chris and Mandy Burgess, have argued that DL should never be released and given the chance at an adult life that their daughter was forever denied 

While most of the stab wounds DL inflicted were shallow, one reached Tania’s heart.

The motive was unclear but in the Supreme Court trial in 2008, the court heard that he had confessed to feeling rejected by Tania. 

After being named by Tania, he was arrested within hours at home in nearby Bateau Bay, where police found bloodstained clothing in his bedroom. Mandy said she tried not to remember that day.

‘I try to block out those horrible images of what we saw that day and remember Tania for what she was,’ Mandy said.

She said it would be better that DL never get released and continued to argue it would be ‘safer’ for the community if his full identity was released.

‘To wake up one morning and hear that he has hurt somebody else in the community, and put another family through what we have been through,’ she said

‘I could not possibly imagine, in this universe, for that to happen,’ she said.

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