Bryan Cranston spoke at the candlelight vigil held at the Rockhampton Riverbank on Sunday night in honour of his sister Karen Gilliland who was allegedly murdered by her partner in a domestic violence incident last week.
Bryan Cranston spoke at the candlelight vigil held at the Rockhampton Riverbank on Sunday night in honour of his sister Karen Gilliland who was allegedly murdered by her partner in a domestic violence incident last week.

Brother’s emotional speech at sombre candlelight vigil

BRYAN Cranston held back tears as he talked about his 'awesome' childhood growing up with his sister, Karen Gilliland, who was sadly killed in an alleged domestic violence attack on Tuesday night in South Rockhampton.

Bryan fondly reminisced of forts, typical fights and "all kinds of shenanigans" as he spoke at the candlelight vigil held in honour of the mother of three tonight.

The virtual vigil was hosted by Keppel MP Brittany Lauga on the Rockhampton riverbank as the sun went down with the majestic Fitzroy River as the backdrop.

"We are honouring her and sending our love to her three children, we mourn her loss and stand side by side," Ms Lauga said.

Bryan spoke to the small crowd and to the livestream camera about how Karen would have hated to be the centre of attention.

He said at first he didn't feel he was able to attend the event but after seeing the amount of public support and grief in the community, he felt a sense to go.

"Karen was a very guarded lady," he said.

"She always spent her entire life making sure everyone else's needs were met.

"She always had this great personality but it was a front, that is a message that she would want to be taken from all of this - ask for help, it's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength."

Karen was an avid reader and had been since a child, Bryan said.

He spoke about when she was growing up she would set herself competitions to read a number of books in the weekend and try to beat it the next weekend, easily reading five to six in the space of a couple of days.

"That was something she instilled in her children, they were all reading and writing before they went to school," Bryan said.

Before the event, Bryan had asked Karen's 11-year-old daughter Lara if she could chose something reminded her of her mum.

She chose a book, The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, and relayed a story that Karen had been looking for a copy of the book for years and had only just gotten it a few weeks ago from a friend and read it the night she got it.

Karen also had another son, Thomas, who sadly passed away after almost a month in hospital after birth.

Bryan said it was a tough time for Karen and she always made sure her three children knew who he was.

"They are the most incredible kids and they are our focus now," he said.

Karen always put herself last, any time she had for herself, she would give to her kids.

"I think the last time she treated herself to any pampering was her wedding day," Bryan said.

"I wish she had put herself before others from time to time but she wouldn't have.

"I am going to miss her so much."

She was a natural talker and would often call her brother for a chat.

"I would just answer the phone and sit there, you didn't have to speak, you didn't get a chance to," Bryan said.

"I am going to miss that."

Karen's estranged husband Nigel Gilliland has been charged with one count each of murder relating to domestic violence and entering premises with intent.

Bryan sincerely thanked the police for going above and beyond in helping Karen's family.

"There aren't the superlatives to describe how amazing they are, it's a very large team so it's too hard to name just one," he said.

"They have been reaching out daily with us to check up.

"There is nothing anyone could say to undervalue the work they have done with us.

"I know it's their job and they deal with it all the time but they have done it in such a way that I have been made to feel like they are the only person in the world they are doing."

He also thanked the first responders who attended the incident and the neighbours who tried to assist Karen.

"There are so many people who have been involved in supporting Karen and the kids, and I just thank everyone."

Relationships Australia's Karyn Battersby said a few words at the event and urged anyone to reach out.

"Don't hesitate if you hear something going on at a neighbour's, even if it sounds like a mild argument, just make that call to the police and don't be afraid to do that," she said.

"Watch out for those little things and don't be afraid to have that conversation and reach out," Ms Battersby said.

A GoFundMe page has been created for Karen's three children and can be found here.

More than $27,000 has been raised in 12 hours.



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