Donna Dall’Acqua has faced more pain and anguish than most people, surviving an attempted murder- suicide perpetrated by her estranged husband in Coonabarabran on Monday, 18 July - and she has now been dealt another low blow.
While recuperating from the attack at St George Hospital and with family in Sydney, Donna’s Robertson Street home in Coonabarabran was ransacked and more than $30,000 worth of goods were stolen.
In addition to “helping themselves” to Donna’s antique furniture and collectables, thieves also made off with a number of electronics, including a laptop, Thermomix, and digital SLR camera.
“What haven’t they taken? They’ve taken anything that’s worth anything,” Donna said.
“It was like they kept coming back and taking orders because there were crystal vases lined up at the front door, wrapped in my clothes, waiting for someone to come and get them.
“They had even ripped the sheets off my bed, which were bundled ready to go - how low do you have to get?
“It could have kept going, they could have taken everything!”
Thankfully, a passer-by noticed Donna’s gate and front door ajar and reported it to police.
Originally from Gwabegar, Donna attended school in Baradine and has strong roots in the region.
Having suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband in Sydney, Donna was ready for a fresh start.
“My four children are now adults and I thought, I don’t have to put up with this domestic violence anymore,” she said.
“I want to be happy with the time I have left, so when Cooinda said they had a spot for my father, I jumped at the opportunity.”
Donna left her husband on 11 January.
Six months later he turned up on her doorstep in Coonabarabran and shot her twice in the stomach and once each in the arm and head, before turning the gun upon himself, sustaining a fatal injury.
Donna said she was still receiving medical treatment for her wounds, as well as counselling to deal with the horrific event.
“I’m coping okay considering the circumstances, I’m a very optimistic person and the glass is always half full, not half empty.
“For me, I feel somewhat relieved as I don’t have to worry about my husband ever again, I’m pleased I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore.
“I need one more surgery and then I will be back to normal, or normal as you can be after something like that.
“A lot of people have been wishing me well and praying for my recovery, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Donna said she was still discovering missing items, as she went to try and use them.
“It feels like I’ve been kicked while I’m down,” she said.
“I’ll be honest, the shooting affects me and I have nightmares and flashbacks all the time, which are getting less and less, but now I feel raped and violated, knowing that someone has been in my house touching my things.
“I’ve recently put in an alarm and CCTV cameras, but it’s a bit late, a bit like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.
“I’m grateful that I’ve got a few items back, but I’d love to see all of my things returned.”
Coonabarabran detectives commenced an investigation and, on 27 September, recovered a portion of the stolen property at two addresses in town.
A 38-year-old man was arrested in relation to the incident, charged with two counts of receiving and disposing of stolen property.
Detective Senior Constable David Aitkin, said no one deserved to have their house broken into and their property stolen.
“But Donna’s unfortunate circumstances in the lead-up to this particular case make the actions of those involved in the theft all the more deplorable,” Senior Constable Aitkin said.
“We are very keen to get more of Donna’s property returned.”
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Coonabarabran Police on 02 6842 7299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Coonabarabran resident, Donna Dall’Acqua, pictured with Detective Senior Constable, David Aitkin, has had more than 25 storage containers worth of goods stolen from her home.