The statements murdered grandmother Helen Dawson Key’s family will never get to read

Helen Dawson Key, 75, was shot at her front door in Paris Place just before 6pm on Wednesday 19 November. Her body was located the following morning. Photos: NSW Police Photo: Daniel AdamsIf the family members of Helen Dawson Key had their chance, they would have faced her killer and told of their pain.

It was a moment some of the 75-year-old grandmother’s relatives had prepared for, taking notes to form parts of their victim impact statements.

But Rodney Boatswain, the 63-year-old man accused of shooting dead Ms Dawson Key in her home over a bitter will dispute, died last week before reaching his trial.

“I thought that after he died I would stop thinking about what I wanted to say to him,” Ms Dawson Kay’s daughter, Kathy, said.

“But every night lying in bed still, as I have done for the past 10 months, I think of what I want to say and ask him.”

Boatswain was already diagnosed with terminal liver cancer by the time police came knocking on his door in February.

He was charged with murdering Ms Dawson Key as she made dinner in her Toongabbie home on November, 19, 2014. Her three beloved dogs were with her lifeless body when a friend came looking for her the next day.

At the time of Boatswain’s arrest, a bizarre question had already surfaced on a Magic Eight Ball website.

Did Rodney Boatswain kill Helen Dawson Keys?

Police say they investigated the strange post but it did not “yield any significant evidentiary leads”.

Detectives alleged Boatswain, a frail and ill man, killed Ms Dawson Key because he believed she convinced his mother to change her will unfavourably to him.

Ms Dawson Key was close friend’s with Boatswain’s mother, Reita. The pair often attended barbecues with Ms Dawson Key’s close knit family.

Mr Boatswain admitted in a police interview that he held a grudge against Ms Dawson key but denied killing her.

However, Ms Dawson Key’s family will never get to see the case against him played out through the justice system. Boatswain died with family by his side last Friday in hospital.

He died hours before he was due to be arraigned for Ms Dawson Key’s murder in the NSW Supreme Court.

“He will never have to face the courts, he will never have to face us,” Kathy said.

“We will never be able to say to him all the things we have been asking for the last year. We may never find out my mother’s last moments.”

The family are approaching Christmas with sadness. It is usually a joyous affair where more than 50 relatives come together and “Aunt Helen” gets to see her precious relatives.

In the absence of a court to read them in now, Ms Dawson Key’s family have shared parts of their victim impact statements with Fairfax Media.

Her niece, Jenny Hitchcock, was dismayed by the fact Boatswain was able to spend his final moments with his family.

“We didn’t get to have these moments of last goodbyes to a very special member of our family,” Ms Hitchcock wrote.

“To say we are so very sad is an understatement.

“Another Christmas approaching us where we won’t have Aunty Helen at our Christmas lunch and dinner table.

“Then her 77th birthday in January nearing another milestone that we won’t get to celebrate with her.”

She said no justice had been served on Boatswain but thanked the homicide detectives and DPP who had worked tirelessly on the case.

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