Four years on from the murder of Tara Brown, her mother Natalie says she still hasn't told her grandchild the truth about what happened.

New Zealand-born Tara Brown was brutally beaten to death by her partner, and her daughter's father, Lionel Patea, in Queensland in 2015.

Now 6 years old, her daughter Aria believes her mum died in a car accident.

In an interview with Kidspot in Australia, the 53-year-old grandmother says she still doesn't have words to describe it.

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"Tara's injuries were so horrific that I would have hated Aria to see her mother in that way," she said.

"And she still doesn't know the real story.

"The worst is yet to come — having to tell it to her — reliving it and dealing with it all over again."

The heartbroken mother and grandmother says she did everything in her power to try to keep Tara away from her abuser but he was "manipulative" and "cunning" and she kept going back.

When the final attack happened, despite a history of abuse, Natalie still couldn't believe Patea had taken things that far.

"I always had hope she would be OK.

"But that hope was finally ripped from me when they told me her injuries weren't survivable."

"I still can't fathom it," she says.

"I don't understand how that's meant to be love."

New Zealand-born Tara Brown died as a result of injuries sustained when her ex-boyfriend Lionel Patea brutally attacked her. Photo / Instagram
New Zealand-born Tara Brown died as a result of injuries sustained when her ex-boyfriend Lionel Patea brutally attacked her. Photo / Instagram

Natalie, who has been looking after her little Aria since the tragedy, says she was robbed of her daughter and robbed of her role as a grandmother.

"It robbed me of being her grandmother, I have to be her mother now.

"I have to do all the things Tara should have been doing with her," she said.

"Tara should be the first one celebrating those milestones, not me. I'm the one Tara should be ringing to say 'first tooth today' and 'first day of school today'.

"She should be there with Aria."

If you're in danger now:


• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

• Run outside and head for where there are other people.

• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

• Take the children with you.

• Don't stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.

Where to go for help or more information:


• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz

• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence

• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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