The Death of Rhian Elsmore.

So, a little over a year ago an Australian girl I knew online was murdered. I'd known her for about 6 years, since I was 16, and we spoke pretty much constantly for about 3 years. We were as good a pair of friends as you could get online, I reckon. After she discovered boys things went a bit downhill for her, I think. She started smoking, as far as I remember drugs may have been involved at times, and all the usual stuff that comes with a nice girl shacking up with a bad boy.

Turns out a bad boy would be the end of her, and she was murdered by her boyfriend at the time, Levi Hayes.

This isn't some heartfelt tribute to Rhian though. Her facebook page, which has turned into quite a wonderful memorial to to her, is doing a more than adequate job of that. What I'm going to write about is the way the newspapers and such have spoken about her. They haven't said anything outright, but to me it seems they seem to blame the fashion culture she was into for her murder.

Rhi was, as I remember her, a fun, passionate and energetic person. She was full of life and always good for one of those crazy chats on the instant messengers at stupid o'clock of the morning about what would happen to an overweight epileptic during fast, hard sex while one of those lights that you clap to turn on and off was active in the room. She dressed in mainly black and red, wore big boots covered in metal spikes, wore a necklace with a pentagram on it, listened to Marilyn Manson and Cradle of Filth.

In short, she was a goth. A happy one. She wasn't one of those moody teenagers who walked the hallways with her head down and arms folded, talking about how pointless existence was and how she wanted to die. The Rhian I knew wouldn't have wanted to die. There was too much for her left to do to even think about that.

For some reason, though, the news papers blamed her "will to be weird" and love of Poi (twirling sticks of fire around) for her meeting Hayes, and eventually getting murdered. I'm pretty sure a naturally impulsive person would have moved in with her boyfriend regardless of what band was on the shirt she was wearing. It's not just people who listen to Cannibal Corpse who enjoy going for long walks with their boy.

When kids bully other kids, they don't just go for the kids who like rock music, they go for whatever they can. I was bullied in school. I was bullied because I was a scrawny kid who wore glasses and was rubbish at football. Not once was a word said about the fact that the bands I listened to rarely had high charting singles, or that when I went home I read a book rather than watched the film, or that I didn't own a single T-shirt that wasn't black.

When I watch the news, I don't think I've ever seen a murder piece that was motivated by a little too much black.

Rhian Elsmore was murdered because her boyfriend was having a bad day or heard a bad rumour about Rhian or was just the sort who would have murdered anyway and it just happened to be Rhian who was there at the time.

She was not murdered because she was part of a counterculture.


  1. This is some powerful stuff.

    people really need to realize that the image of a person's clothing or the associated lifestyle are not simply targets for blame. People need something to dump negative issues off on and often it is a counterculture

  2. I knew Levi, i saw and spoke to him not a month before this horrible thing happened. I never saw him as a murderer and was so shocked to hear what he had done. It's disturbing to realise that there are really dark, hidden sides to people.

  3. I went to primary and high school with Rhi. We were best friends in year 2. She was an incredibly beautiful person. She was so pretty with gorgeous orangey/strawberry blonde hair. She honestly had the loveliest voice I've ever heard. I was just thinking about one time I accidentally poked her in the eye with an orange roll-up crayon and she had to wear an eye patch for a week or so. It made me giggle but also made me sad. We did eventually drift apart as people do.
    This blog is old and no one will probably read this but I wrote it anyway.

    1. Hey, thank you for reading. Life is very sad and very strange sometimes.

  4. So as a family member of Rhian I can honestly say that yes, under those black clothes was a beautiful young woman who was a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, niece, cousin & friend. Under all that exterior show was a person just like the rest of us. Most of us have been guilty at some time in our lives of being friends with someone we shouldn't despite the warnings of people that know better. Rhian's life was just cut short too soon for her to realise that for herself. People shouldn't be so quick to judge someone because of what's on the outside but instead get to know a person, because what's on the inside can be something truly amazing & talented. Everyone has hidden demons. Only some of us choose to show them on the outside. Thank you to all those in support.

  5. I realize this is an old post, but knowing what actually happened in this incident, so much of what you've said is inaccurate.

    Once the trial is over it will become more apparent, and just as people blamed the gothic subculture people are latching onto the paradigm of the "older man, the vicious predator".

    Your comment about her being murdered because Levi was having a bad day is laughable. This was an event where two people were severely mentally unwell, living in seclusion and suffering with mismanaged mental health issues. Something terrible happened, if you need to know the details I'm sure by now you do.

    The trial is imminent, and the facts around what happened will come to light. It is a horrible story and such a shame that neither one of them got the appropriate help to prevent this. Unfortunately Rhi is now gone, and Levi is locked up with this with him every day. Nobody wins.

  6. Yes the trial is imminent, but Rhi will never be able to smile again and that is a is a real crime

  7. Some justice. Life with a minimum of 15 years.


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