The Sydney Morning Herald
A woman of Bangladeshi origin and her ex-partner were found dead on Sunday in a house in Smithfield, a suburb of Sydney in Australia.
The deceased were Tasmin Bahar, 35, and her partner Dave Pillay.
Tasmin Bahar had recently separated from her partner of six years, Dave Pillay, and moved out of the home they shared in Smithfield with their young daughter.
But it was Father’s Day on Sunday and, despite the relationship troubles they had recently endured, Bahar agreed that their three-year-old daughter should share part of the special day with her dad, her family says.
Bahar drove her daughter to the weatherboard home they had previously shared on The Horsley Drive for the meeting on Sunday.
Just after 12:30pm that day, the bodies of Bahar and Pillay were discovered inside the bathroom of the house, in what Homicide Squad detectives are treating as a possible murder-suicide.
The girl was found sleeping in the house and was not physically injured.
Bahar’s sister, Sharagin Bahar, said from New York that she was in utter shock at the sudden death of her sister, and was flying to their home country of Bangladesh and then on to Sydney, hoping to take custody of her niece, who had now lost both of her parents.
“[Tasmin] was perfectly fine when I talked to her two days before,” Sharagin said.
“I am so lost. I just want to take my niece into my custody, I want her with me. I’ll take care of her. I’ll do whatever is best for her.”
Police said no other people were wanted over the deaths and the investigation was ongoing. They have not detailed what is believed to have happened inside the house, before a male relative arrived and discovered the bodies of Bahar and Pillay.
Sharagin said her sister had been in a relationship with Pillay for about six years and her sister had told her that Pillay had physically threatened her and her daughter in the past. Bahar also told her that she had filed a report with police about the threats, Sharagin said.
Several weeks ago Bahar moved out of the house with their daughter and rented her own apartment, Sharagin said.
“We told her not to go [to the Smithfield house] … but she went for Father’s Day,” Sharagin said. “She wanted Dave to see her daughter.”
Bahar’s cousin, Sifat Sharmin Ruponty, said that Bahar had also told her that she had been physically threatened, including with a knife, during her relationship with Pillay.
“Dave wanted to meet her with his daughter, so she [Bahar] took her to his place, just for a Father’s Day celebration,” she said.
“We can’t take it. We can’t believe this has happened.”
Ruponty said her cousin moved to Australia in 2009 and was highly educated, having studied science at university.
Neighbours saw girl screaming ‘mummy’
John Araco’s Smithfield home backs on to Pillay’s tidy backyard, where a pink play set sits neatly in the corner.
On Sunday, Araco’s wife saw the girl run out into her back yard screaming “mummy, mummy”.
“My wife raced downstairs and said ‘John, the little girl has come out screaming, yelling mummy’,” Araco said.
When he looked over the back fence, he could see the back door open and TV on but no one around.
“It seemed very quiet so I didn’t think anything of it until the police came,” the 65-year-old said.
Araco said he saw a man, believed to be Pillay’s relative, walking out of The Horsley Drive home with the little girl about 20-30 minutes after his wife heard the screaming.
The grandfather-of-eight said he couldn’t fault the couple, but admitted something had changed between the two recently.