When Brian and Carmel Russell's daughter was murdered by Frankston serial killer, Paul Denyer, they experienced their worst day – it was the day they knew that Natalie would never come home. Over the past 26 years, Brian and Carmel have been vigilant in their ongoing quest to keep Denyer in prison forever even though neither is comfortable in the spotlight. They have never stopped fighting for justice. But now they are in peril, on August 1 they will be forced to leave their house, and possibly their community.
This journey has taken its toll on both of them. After battling cancer, Brian lost his business and was about to lose the family home – a place where all Natalie’s possessions are lovingly kept and a garden where a tree planted in her memory thrived. A family member stepped in and bought the home so that Brian and Carmel could stay there. Now, that family member is facing serious health issues and has to sell the house. This horrible turn of events will see Brian and Carmel – in their 70s and not in good health – leaving their home of many years, and facing huge waiting lists for public housing. Being pensioners, they don’t know how they can put together a bond and face escalating rent payments.
And after what they have suffered, they shouldn’t have to.
Those who love Brian and Carmel fear this impending upheaval will have a devastating effect on both of them and we want to do whatever we can to cushion this blow.
The Frankston home Brian and Carmel must soon vacate is their connection to the community that helped them through their grief and trauma. Their home is where they can get to their hospital, to their doctors, to their friends, and to their local footy club; their home is where they can get to the memorial that marks the place where Natalie was taken from them.
Our family is desperate to help keep Brian and Carmel in Frankston, and give them the opportunity to find what peace they can. For two people as proud as Brian and Carmel asking for help is unfamiliar territory. That is why we are setting up this page to ask the community to help support these remarkable people in their time of need.
If you have been moved by their loss and their courage over the years, we urge you to make a small contribution to ease their suffering now.
Getting the funds to Brian and Carmel: Here is how these funds will be dispersed to Brian and Carmel. I am Brian and Carmel's grandson, Adam Knight, and along with my brother Ben, step-dad Peter and many members of my family we have been helping to coordinate this campaign. When it comes time to withdraw these funds, Peter will bank transfer every single cent to Brian and Carmel's bank account.
The GoFundMe team has asked that I communicate this explicitly on this page to ensure accountability. As the person who set up this GoFundMe account, I will need to withdraw the funds to my personal account. I will then immediately transfer the funds to my grandparents.