News

Be brave, be careful, leave and don’t go back: grieving mum

Ligita Sternbergs, with the the book she wrote about her daughter Ingrid Lester who was murdered, is supporting the Fraser Coast Chronicle's Hands Off campaign to reduce violence.
Ligita Sternbergs, with the the book she wrote about her daughter Ingrid Lester who was murdered, is supporting the Fraser Coast Chronicle's Hands Off campaign to reduce violence. Alistair Brightman

TWELVE years after she was forced to walk down a cold corridor and identify the broken body of her only daughter, Ligita Sternbergs is no less angry.

Art classes, the company of true friends and her loyal dog Joey provide brief escapes from her grief but the daughter she lost to the hands of a hit man is never far from her thoughts.

Ligita has a picture of her daughter in her mind that is as clear as if she had just spent time with her.

A song, or the sight of a stranger who bears some resemblance, triggers emotions so raw, she could still be standing behind a glass window at the Hervey Bay Hospital morgue, nodding to the officer that the thick blonde mop of hair soaked in blood was Ingrid's.

It is this daily struggle, Ligita wishes she could capture and expose young partygoers to, in an effort to get them to think twice before resorting to violence.

In Ingrid's case, she was pursued by an evil criminal, but Ligita is supporting the Chronicle's #HandsOff campaign in the hope those who would otherwise live normal lives but for a bad choice, can be encouraged to stop and think.

"In reality there is probably not a lot that is going to stop people when they have been drinking but if it saves one life, it's worth it," Ligita said.

"If they could understand the pain of losing a child... then maybe they wouldn't do it.

"It's really not much different then it was back then... the same pain stays with you."

Torturing herself with agonising "what ifs", Ligita still questions whether she could have done something to protect her daughter from the wrath of the Ingrid's estranged husband Jim, who remains in prison for agreeing to pay troubled man Michael Kinsella to stab Ingrid to death in her Pialba home.

Like many women suffering violence at home, Ingrid did not speak up.

Bruises and other injuries were explained away by accidents and when Ligita noticed a hole in the wall of her home, Ingrid made out she and her husband had been "play fighting".

It was only when Ingrid found the courage to leave Jim that she admitted to her mother that she was in fear of her life, and then made the fateful mistake of going back.

"If women have this in their lives, they need to know it could kill them," Ligita said

"Be very brave, be very careful, but leave and don't go back.

"Ingrid made the mistake of going back."

Jim Lester and Michael Kinsella are both serving a minimum of 15 years in jail.

Kinsella never received the $10,000 he was offered in exchange for stabbing Ingrid more than 40 times.

Ingrid had two sons.

Floral tributes will be laid at her memorial at the Hervey Bay Crematorium today.

Copies of Ligita's book To the Bitter End, are available via Margaret Marlow's Facebook page.

>> Join us to help stop the violence and sign our #handsoff petition here

Get help

  • For counselling and support, phone the Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 811 811

Topics:  domestic violence, editors picks, handsoff, mum, murder




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Bruce Highway blocked at Howard after truck rolls

The condition of the truck driver is unknown at this stage.

The condition of the driver is unknown at this stage.

Man hurts leg jumping off car on Fraser Island

News

RACQ CareFlight Rescue has flown to Fraser Island.

Claims M’boro transit centre in a ‘disgraceful state’

Pat Phillips says the Lennox St transit centre is in a bad state

Latest deals and offers

Bennett, Langer, Thurston and others talk Cam Smith

Broncos and former QLD coach Wayne Bennett.

Broncos and former QLD coach plus past and present players talk about Cameron...

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Billy Slater talks Origin Team

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater.

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater talks about this years team and his return to...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked