Mum grieves son, fatally stabbed by his own father
ON TUESDAY a 12-person jury found pensioner Christopher John Gibson, 63, not guilty of the stabbing murder of his son Shawn in a domestic dispute in November 2016, after lawyers mounted a successful case for self-defence.
Now Shawn's mother Patricia Collalti, and the mother of his two children, Jayde McMurray, have come forward together to share their memories of their son and partner, who died in such tragic circumstances at the age of 29.
Ms Collalti said Shawn had been a loving son who had much to live for, not the serial criminal who hated his father that he had been portrayed as during the trial.
"He had a lot of opportunities, he was running his own landscaping business and he'd also been offered a management position running a shed for a family doing non-dairy yoghurt," she said.
"I believed he would have got there if all this hadn't have happened.
She described him as "full of life", a man who loved the beach, the outdoors, was adventurous, and a had a good work ethic.
Ms Collalti said that Shawn had worked incredibly hard to support the couple's young family, juggling multiple jobs to ensure they had a comfortable life.
In contrast to claims that Shawn had a grudge against his father, Ms Collalti said he "felt sorry" for his father, who was a disability pensioner and had lived an itinerant life, which included at least two jail sentences for assaults.
Shawn had even given up work to become a carer for his father briefly when Jayde was pregnant.
Ms Collalti said she would never forget the night of November 18 2016 when she was told by strangers outside Lismore Base Hospital that he son had died, after being stabbed by his father.
"I collapsed on the road, I couldn't believe it.
"All I wanted to do is see him, but no one approached me, no one told me anything."
A week before the death, Mr Gibson had come to Shawn's North Lismore home a week before, pleading to be able to stay with him for awhile.
"I said get rid of him, don't let him stay there... tell him to just get on with his own life, you're not responsible," Ms Collalti said.
"But he said 'what if say go and he does something silly... I'll just let him stay here until we move. He's still my dad'."
"The next minute, that all happened."
Looking back now Ms Collalti said she felt "hollow" by her son's death.
"The only thing that keeps me going is the kids and Jayde. I've got to be here for them they've got have someone who can tell them bits and pieces about their dad."
Shawn's ashes are stored at Patricia's home and through them his children, Mason and Aliah, are encouraged to connect with the memory of their father.
"They sit down and talk to him," Jayde said.
Some of the ashes they also scattered at their favourite beach in Ballina, "so the kids can always go there and know that's that where their dad is."