THEY had spent 37 years together, including the last two-and-half on the road travelling Australia, when Orange man Graeme Wilton left his beloved wife, Marlene, for an innocent early evening walk at the southern end of Lake Macquarie.
By the night’s end, Mr Wilton was comatose in intensive care.
Within two months, he was dead - the victim of a road-rage attack where a trained martial arts exponent got out of his car and punched the 56-year-old to the ground before leaving with a burnout next to his victim’s unconscious body and in full view of witnesses.
On Wednesday, as her husband’s killer sat just metres away at his sentencing hearing for manslaughter, Mrs Wilton looked at Kaine Geoffrey Jones and bravely told the world of her loss.
“Everyday I find it hard to escape reminders of what I have lost,’’ Mrs Wilton said.
“Oh how I miss the man who held my hand for 37 years and told me constantly how much he loved me.
“I miss waking up next to him every morning when we had our early coffee in bed discussing what our plans were for the day.
“My heart aches when I see couples talking intimately or laughing together, seeing caravaners on the road enjoying “my lifestyle”, professional cyclists out training, couples on motorbikes.
“The life I knew and loved has now completely gone.’’
In her courageous victims’ impact statement which she read to the court on Wednesday, Mrs Wilton said she had found herself in a place “completely foreign to me” and found herself with a “strange apprehensiveness, I feel somewhat fragile and extremely weary’’.
She was firm when she told the court it was “unacceptable to our society to take it upon oneself to assault another person’’ and told of the loneliness and sadness she know felt was immeasurable.
“I miss his insight, his fun and wit and unique personality,’’ she said.
“I struggle with the reality of never being able to laugh with him again.
“I think of how in love we were and how special that was and now there is nothing, my life has been halved.’’
Mrs Wilton also spoke of how she had to leave her home to “escape memories and torment’’ and sought professional help to help her with insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks.
She told the court of the “vivid memories’’ by her comatose husband’s side and of seeing him with a “no bone” sign on his forehead after it was removed in an effort to relieve pressure and swelling on his brain.
- MORE: P4