More than 300 people gathered at Parramatta Park in Sydney’s west to hold a vigil for stabbing victim Prabha Arun Kumar.
The rain and lightning did not deter those who wanted to pay their respects, as they retraced the route with bowed heads, flickering candles and wet roses.
Some had prayed with Mrs Kumar at her Hindu temple, others lived near her in Westmead and many had simply walked the same path in the past without thinking twice about it.
One of those paying tribute, Sona Ahuja, had lived in the same building as Mrs Kumar before she moved to Westmead, and described her as a brilliant woman who was proud of her promotion to a job in Australia.
“She was a very cheerful, very dedicated, very lovely person,” Ms Ahuja, who attended the vigil with her daughter, said.
A tribute left to Prabha Kumar. Photo: Brendon Thorne
“Her company chose to send her here because she was very bright. May her soul rest in peace.”
Mrs Kumar’s close friend Harish Venkatapathaiah said he felt her spirit around him as he walked along the path.
“She was like a sister to me,” he said.
“I’m just thinking about why we are here…I think that she is still here with us…That’s all I can think.”
A question repeated by many of those paying their respects was: how could this happen here, in a thoroughfare close to the middle of the city, where you can see and hear the traffic at both ends?
Parramatta worker, Sonya Tuplin, said she often walked past the place where Mrs Kumar was found.
“We work in the area. I always walk past this. I feel so sad at the moment. I thought coming here might help. Everyone is a bit scared at the moment, so this might give us some closure,” Ms Tuplin said.
Another local resident Richa Jaiswal lives just metres from where the brutal stabbing occurred and said she occasionally went for walks at night in the park.
“It’s so sad. This could literally happen to anyone. You would think you’re safe here,” Ms Jaiswal said.
Flowers, prayers and a minute’s silence were held at the spot next to the tree where Mrs Kumar was attacked.
Police said the investigation was continuing and Mrs Kumar’s husband Arun and brother Shankar Shetty would address the media on Thursday.
The tribute was organised via social media by Merrylands resident Arunesh Seth. He said he had cried for days thinking about Mrs Kumar’s young daughter losing her mother and that the murder was attack on the whole community.
Sources: ABC & HeraldSun