A Victorian mother whose three children perished at the hands of their father in a case that shocked Australia has suddenly died after a ‘medical episode’.
Cindy Gambino, 50, passed away despite the best efforts of her husband and medics who tried to revive her on Tuesday.
On Father’s Day 2005, Ms Gambino’s ex-husband Robert Farquharson drove a car into a dam with their three boys Jai, Tyler and Bailey inside. He left them to die.
The family of Ms Gambino (pictured) are ‘shattered’ at her unexpected death
The family car (pictured) after it was submerged in a dam by Ms Gambino’s ex-husband, killing her children inside
Jai, Bailey and Tyler Farquharson (pictured left to right) perished when their dad drove them into a dam along the Princess Highway in Melbourne
Ms Gambino’s family issued a statement dubbing Gambino as a ‘warrior of justice’ since losing her three boys and sharing their ‘sincere thanks’ to all who supported her.
Ms Gambino attracted sympathy across the nation after Farquharson was convicted of the horrific triple murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole some two years after the crime.
Farquharson lost two subsequent appeals.
Meanwhile, after the tragedy Ms Gambino married her ‘devoted’ husband, Stephen Moules, who she had more children with.
‘Through unfathomable tragedy and suffering came new hope, with Cindy and Stephen going on to have two sons, Hezekiah and Isaiah,’ the family’s statement read.
Her death, which was completely unexpected, has brought ‘deep sadness’ to the ‘shattered’ family.
Triple killer Robert Farquharson (left) and Cindy Gambino (centre) at the funeral of the three boys in 2005
The death of Ms Gambino (pictured in Melbourne) whose passing was completely unexpected, has brought ‘deep sadness’ to the ‘shattered’ family.
How the triple murder and Farquharson’s conviction unfolded
On September 4, 2005, the 37-year-old Robert Farquharson had been on a Father’s Day outing with his three sons, Jai, 10, Tyler, 7 and Bailey, 2
Cindy Gambino saw her three boys alive for the last time when she dropped them over to their dad at about three o’clock that Sunday afternoon.
She had ended the marriage 10 months earlier and Farquharson had moved back in with his father.
He was returning his boys to Ms Gambino, when he veered his car off the Princes Highway and into a dam near Winchelsea, 110km south-west of Melbourne
Their car went over the gravel median, crossed the oncoming lanes, crashed through a fence, skirted a row of trees before plunging into the dam.
Farquharson then left the children in the car, with the youngest Bailey strapped in a baby seat, as he swam to safety
The father later recounted he had blacked out from a coughing fit as he was driving, causing him to swerve off the highway – waking up in the car with water up to his chest
Yet, after a six-week trial and three days of deliberations a jury found that Farquharson had driven the vehicle into the water intentionally after damning evidence was heard in court
A witness who saw Farquharson after he had emerged from the water onto the side of the highway said the father was babbling he had ‘killed the kids’.
Shane Atkinson had pulled over after he saw the child killer leaping on to the road and waving his arms
The witness said the father was unwilling to call the police, and rejected his offer to go and save the kids from the dam
Three months after the drownings police charged Farquharson with three counts of murder
An old friend of the father, Greg King, told police he had heard him talking about making his estranged wife pay for their marriage break-up by killing their children on Father’s Day
He wanted to do this so Ms Gambino would remember it for the rest of her life, the court heard
He had also said he wanted revenge for getting the bad car after their separation, and for her seeing another man
Farquharson was convicted of the horrific triple murder in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison without parole