Devastated mother struggles to rebuild life
Chandra Mungal will wake up this morning still expecting to see her beloved son, Shijuan.
Exactly a year has passed since the 16-year-old died after a stranger hit him with a baseball bat and Ms Mungal is still trying to pick up the pieces after the devastating loss of her only child.
The conviction on Wednesday afternoon of Kiahna Trott-Edwards for her son's murder brought “justice for Shi” and she now hopes she can begin to slowly rebuild her life without the person she cared for most.
But the last 12 months have been a harrowing and painful ordeal for Ms Mungal and her family.
“It's been really, really hard to get over the fact that I don't have my son any more,” she said.
“It was always just me and him. When he died I was like, what do I do now? I did not know what to do. I did not know what my purpose in life was. I was just lost.
“It's been a whole year and I still can not believe he is not here. I just don't know how to pick up the pieces.
“I have had a lot of support from family and friends along the way, and I have not been by myself for one day. People have been good to me and got me through this.
“I do want to start to rebuild now that justice has been done and start to try and move on with my life without him. It's really hard because of how close we were. We shared everything. He did not hide anything from me.”
Mr Mungal suffered fatal head injuries after being attacked by Trott-Edwards with a baseball bat outside an apartment complex on Ord Road in Warwick.
The teenager and Trott-Edwards, 32, had been involved in verbal altercation on a bus before the fatal attack on September 8, last year.
Ms Mungal had rushed her son to hospital after picking him up from Hamilton, but ultimately her son succumbed to his injuries three days later.
She told The Royal Gazette that giving evidence at Trott-Edwards' trial and sitting in the public gallery every day forced her to relive the trauma all over again.
“The last three weeks have been incredibly painful, not just for me but all my family,” she said.
“We all understand that Kiahna is a mother, but at the same time I just wanted justice for my son.
“The trial took me right back to the day I took Shi to hospital, and how he kept telling me how much pain he was in. I had to relive it all again.
“The fact I was doing it for my son gave me strength when I took the stand. I have tried to be strong for my family throughout this whole thing.
“Giving evidence was not hard for me, it was something I had to do.
“I just wanted it to be over so I could start to heal myself. I'm so glad it's over and I'm happy with the verdict.”
Trott-Edwards was unanimously convicted of Mr Mungal's murder on Wednesday afternoon and faces a mandatory life sentence when she is sentenced.
Today Ms Mungal will find a quiet place on her own and relive all the treasured memories she shared with her son.
“Shi was very funny. He loved his family and had many friends. He was a typical teenage boy,” she said.
“He was a very loving person and a bit of a moma's boy. We loved spending time together and going on trips. We had a very strong relationship.
“Before his knees started messing up Shi wanted to become a professional footballer. When he realised that was not going to happen he set his heart on becoming a mechanic.”
Ms Mungal's niece, Mikaela Smith, added: “Shijuan was always laughing and goofy.
“He was funny and always put a smile on your face. He was like the heartbeat of the family.”