Leah Marchant was popularly known as Princess Unicorn. Picture: Supplied
Leah Marchant was pretty, friendly and intelligent. The 18-year-old Athlone woman was popular amongst her peers, many of whom called her Princess Unicorn. Leah came from a loving home where her mother did her level best to keep Leah and her siblings on the straight and narrow. 

Most people in the community where Leah grew up remember her as a beautiful, sweet young woman. She had a large number of friends and was a familiar face in the Silvertown area. There was no indication that the young poet would not live a long and successful life.

On Saturday, October 01, 2016, a local man made a gruesome discovery outside his house. Leah's brutalised body had been dumped against the wall sometime during the night. She had been raped and strangled. Nobody in the neighbourhood had heard anything out of the ordinary during the preceding hours.

Word spread around the area quickly, and Leah's aunt was on the scene a short while after police arrived. She had the grim task of sharing the details of the young woman's murder with Leah's mother Bernadine. 

According to Bernadine, her daughter was a drug user and had fallen in with some unsavoury friends as a result. A young man who has admitted to using drugs with her on the night she died has been charged with her murder.

Nobody knows what happened the night Leah's life was so brutally snuffed out but her mother is hopeful that one day, justice will prevail. In the meantime, the people who loved Princess Unicorn are trying to come to terms with their loss.

Leah will never celebrate another Women's Month, another birthday or Christmas. Bernadine will never have the opportunity to see her daughter rise above her challenges and fulfil her potential. Leah will never have the chance to turn her love for poetry into a career.

For Leah's sake and the sake of women everywhere, if you know somebody who has committed an act of violence against a woman  Don't Look Away
If you know a young woman's life is in danger,  Don't Look Away
If you are able to help prevent another tragedy,  Don't Look Away.

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