LIAM BARTLETT: Amy Wensley's tragic story laid bare in The Truth About Amy podcast

Liam Barlett
The Nightly
Amy Wensley had everything to live for.
Amy Wensley had everything to live for. Credit: Unknown/Facebook

Amy Wensley was a young mum with hope in her heart and two young children who adored her.

She had nothing and yet she had everything. She most certainly had everything to live for and any suggestion to the contrary is both ill-informed and nonsensical. Every shred of physical and emotional evidence left behind points to her plans for a future.

From the passport placement at the top of her purse to the presents packed in the car for one of her girl’s birthday two days later, Amy was preparing a new start.

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But that fresh beginning came to an abrupt end in a small bedroom when a shotgun went off in circumstances that can only be described as highly suspicious.

What followed was a series of blunders, incompetence and blind prejudice by WA detectives that allowed a killer to escape justice and left Amy’s daughters and her extended family with a legacy that nobody should wish on their worst enemy.

Seven years later, the Coroner decided those police actions were “negligent” but that overly kind description does nothing to adequately cover the impact or the aftermath.

There is zero accountability, no apology and worse, a decided lack of meaningful action and commitment by police to put their shoulders to the wheel and solve this case.

There are at least three, possibly four men, who know the truth and for a range of reasons, have chosen to fashion it in a way that suits nobody but themselves.

But truth is not transactional and one day soon, these men will be shown to be the cowards they really are. I wonder what their mothers’ think of them.

Their sisters, their aunties, the women who could best imagine what it would feel like to live a life subjugated and demeaned, at the hands of someone bigger, meaner, more vicious and more threatening in a way that is aimed at making someone physically and mentally smaller.

I imagine it’s the way Amy felt in those final weeks and months.

Amy Wensley inquest.
Amy Wensley died from a highly supicious shotgun wound. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

It’s the worst sort of aggression. Acts of violent intent and menace which are specifically aimed at boosting the ego of the aggressor.

It takes a special sort of twisted mental state to produce that type of person but Amy knew one, and sadly, thousands of other women know another. The statistics and the volunteers at refuges don’t lie.

Amy’s home state is divided into a total of 17 family protection units and we know, from leaked internal figures that just one of those receives a staggering 100 domestic referrals each and every week.

When you extrapolate that out to a national reach, you start to get a frightening idea of the real scale of the problem.

It’s little wonder then that Australian Femicide Watch reports one woman being killed every four days in 2024 and an analysis of homicide figures shows that across the country the number of women murdered by their partner has increased in the past 12 months by 28 per cent.

Nobody is suggesting it’s easy to be a police officer. The statistics also tell us that responding to domestic incidents can be one of the most dangerous duties police are asked to do. But that’s precisely why they need to do it right the first time.

Amy’s story is a microcosm of what is happening behind closed doors to thousands of women today who need support and help and who are often not in a position to do something about it until it’s too late.

Ultimately, through no fault of her own, Amy was not able to escape the travails of what she knew were bad choices that had led her into a violent relationship.

But when she tried, the justice system catastrophically failed her and her family and by default, supported the perpetrator instead and that, in itself is criminal.

It cannot be that police attend a scene where a mother has been shot dead, only metres away from her children and they can’t be bothered to even conduct formal interviews with the only two adult males present.

One of the detectives later put that glaring inaction down to “arrogance” and “overconfidence” but even that admission is hopelessly pathetic.

What he failed to mention was there is a lot less paperwork involved in suicide than there is in murder and if the senior police officers who went to Amy’s home that night really wanted to be honest, they would admit that it was sheer laziness that triumphed over any notion of public safety.

Amy Wensley inquest. David Simmons, who is the dead woman’s partner and possible killer
David Simmons who was Amy Wensley’s partner. Credit: Unknown/Facebook

It’s for that reason alone that we are now appealing for help, through a new podcast (The Truth About Amy) to enlist the power of amateur sleuths and those who care about how we deal with domestic violence and its shocking fallout.

The case of Amy Wensley speaks to how everyone we love should be respected and treated.

The sheer act of searching for the truth about what happened to Amy will help all of us to contribute to real change.

Because if we find it and we act on it, we can honestly say we’ve taken a positive step toward shouting down behaviour that none of us should tolerate or overlook, even in its most benign form.

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