Damage done to Western Automotive Services in Churchill.
Damage done to Western Automotive Services in Churchill.

Couple left in lurch months after life-shattering crime

AN IPSWICH couple had to use their wedding cake money to keep a roof over their head after thieves ransacked their business, stealing $20,000 worth of tools.

More than three months after their livelihood was shattered, Peter Vinson and Ellena Corbally are still struggling to pick up the pieces.

They were just weeks out from their wedding day when an unknown number of offenders broke into their car servicing and repairs business, stealing nearly everything of value.

Relying on the business to cover their mortgage repayments, the couple was left with no choice but to dig into their wedding fund to replace essentials.

READ MORE: Business ransacked, $20,000 worth of tools stolen

"They actually stole things clients had already paid for - their car was sitting there but the spare part was gone," Ellena said.

"Peter said 'what do I do?' and I just gave him our wedding cake money and said "take this".

"And we spent some of our wishing well wedding money on tools."

The shock also triggered Ellena's health to spiral, meaning she was limited to only eating very soft food at her wedding.

"I literally had pumpkin soup and mashed potato with gravy because I couldn't swallow," Ellena said.

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The couple launched Western Automotive Services in 2017 after Ellena was diagnosed with a serious health condition.

"The only way to pay our mortgage was to do this," Ellena said.

"It just started out with a Ford ute that we bought off my stepfather."

Though Ellena's sister launched a GoFundMe, calling on the community for help, the family is still struggling to rebuild.

"He hasn't got his specialty stuff back and probably never will. We're still out of pocket about $20,000," Ellena said.

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"Yesterday he told me it had only been a couple of hours since he had gone to reach for something that wasn't there."

Ellena said the emotional impact hadn't worn off but sadness had turned into anger.

"I think people think it's over but it's not. It will be continuing for years," she said.

The couple is navigating the trials of rebuilding without any closure.

"We have heard nothing, absolutely nothing - these guys have walked in, taken between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of stuff and that's all we know," Ellena said.

"We did get told at one point they'll just get a slap on the wrist so don't expect much but closure would be great."

The offenders broke into the Churchill business some time between 6pm Friday, July 31 and 6.30am Saturday, August 1.

Police are still investigating.


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