What did they see in him?

One of the unspoken questions in the mass of coverage of the Lisa Harnum murder trial is "what on earth did she see in Simon Gittany?"

That question went from postulation to exclamation when Gittany, 40, arrived on the first day of his trial at Sydney's Supreme Court holding hands with a "glamorous" new girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, 24.

This spawned a second mystery: "How does this guy even attract women?"

That now seems clear: Gittany was labelled a liar by his trial judge, Justice Lucy McCallum, and if he's willing to do so with "telling ease" to her, we can be fairly certain he feels no hesitation practising profound deception in his private life.

It's also well documented he's a violent manipulator who used physical, verbal and emotional abuse, as well as technological surveillance, to control and intimidate Harnum, 30, during their relationship.

We now also know when Gittany feels threatened, he's willing to bite part of the ear off a police detective and has now been convicted of throwing a woman he claims to have loved to her death from a 15th story balcony.

All of this, however, doesn't bring us any closer to answering the first question: "What did Harnum and Louise see in Gittany?"

It would be unfair to assess both women by the same criteria because Louise was dating Gittany while he was charged with Harnum's murder; Louise's gullibility thus seems oceanic.

Harnum suspected Gittany was capable of violence and it must have played a part in her fear of leaving him.


The fact he appeared able to deceive Louise, so she would voluntarily comfort and support him while charged with the murder of a woman she'd known, illustrates what a malevolently cunning mind Harnum was living with.

Gittany, however, is still the common element here and he put on good show. He's oddly handsome, dresses the part and had enough disposable income to rent a flash apartment.

He's also one of those guys Sydney mass produces who can't describe what they do for a living in under 10 words.

He's every parent's worst nightmare. He's a predator, but like every predator I'm certain he left tracks.

Men of Gittany's stripe shower attention on women - they consume them - but sooner rather than later they will "test" whether they have the right "mark" by denigrating or intimidating a woman they're interested in.

And they always lie.

I was recently chatting with a woman about a guy she'd been dating who'd sworn blind he'd never been married. He later confessed he was going through a divorce.

"That was strike one against him," she said, "he was a liar."

During another date, the man became agitated when a male acquaintance they'd encountered made a flirtatious remark to the woman. The new suitor demanded to know who the friend was.

"When I declined to even answer and walked away, he grabbed me by the wrists and tried to stop me. Strike two," she said.

"Then what did you do?" I asked.

"I never saw him again. I didn't answer his calls. I don't wait for strike three," she said.

The tragedy of Lisa Harnum is it seems she did.

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