Digital art for the tele
Digital art for the tele

‘We created Brayden together’: Catfisher tells inquest

A young Sydney woman who allegedly catfished her ex-girlfriend with a fake online boyfriend before she suicided has told an inquest they created "Brayden" together so no one would find out about their love.

Renae Marsden wanted to marry Brayden and even got his name tattooed on her body as she waited for him to be released from jail, the NSW Coroners Court heard on Tuesday.

But "Brayden" was actually a fictional online persona allegedly invented by her obsessive ex Camila Zeidan, and Ms Marsden plunged to her death at a notorious suicide cliff the day he broke up with her in 2013, the inquest heard.

Renae Marsden likely took her own life at The Gap at Watsons Bay on August 5, 2013.
Renae Marsden likely took her own life at The Gap at Watsons Bay on August 5, 2013.

Ms Marsden's relatives walked out in tears while other supporters shook their heads or scoffed as Ms Zeidan sat in the witness box.

After first objecting to giving evidence, the 27-year-old said she and Ms Marsden cooked up a plan to keep their lesbian relationship hidden.

"We both agreed that we were never going to be accepted to be together," she said.

"We created the character so that no one would find out."

Three weeks after Ms Marsden took her life at The Gap in Watsons Bay on August 5, Ms Zeidan denied duping her high school friend by masquerading as Brayden.

"Everyone is against me. I wish I was where Renae is now. Wherever she is, I just want to have the peace she is having now," she said tearfully in a police interview.

"We could be together, do you think she's really gone?"

Some of the 11,000 text messages traded between Ms Marsden and "Brayden" have been aired in court, including an emotional fight where Ms Marsden threatened to leave Brayden, declaring: "I deserve better than you."

"You continue to break my heart over and over again," she texted.

"You have lost all respect for me and I'm not copping anymore off you. I'm not your punching bag."

The court heard Ms Zeidan - allegedly posing as Brayden - replied: "I'm sorry grumpy boo … got your periods?"

"Brayden don't, I'm serious. I'm not coming back this time unless you change," Ms Marsden replied.

Renae Marsden’s parents Mark and Teresa (centre) arrive at court today. Picture: John Grainger
Renae Marsden’s parents Mark and Teresa (centre) arrive at court today. Picture: John Grainger

Ms Marsden even started paying Brayden's phone credit so they could chat endlessly and in January 2013 got his surname "Spiteri" tattooed on her arm, telling a friend: "Camila took me to Bondi Ink to get it done."

The court heard Ms Zeidan lied to police about meeting Brayden with Ms Marsden at a Windsor brewery during her interview on August 25, 2013, and falsely claimed she had attempted suicide many times before.

In reality Ms Zeidan introduced Ms Marsden to Brayden online after their own sexual fling soured, counsel assisting the coroner Sasha Harding told the court.

They never met in person, because Brayden told her he was serving time in Goulburn prison for his involvement in a drunken motorcycle accident that killed his best friend, the inquest heard.

Camila Zeidan tries to shield her face as she leaves court on Monday. Picture: Toby Zerna
Camila Zeidan tries to shield her face as she leaves court on Monday. Picture: Toby Zerna

Ms Marsden had already begun planning her wedding in 2013 and booked a bridal photo shoot for once Brayden was released in November.

But she died the day Brayden ended their relationship in a text saying: "I think I need a break and so do you".

Ms Zeidan told police that Ms Marsden also sent her a text that day saying: "you will always be my best friend. I will always love you, hope one day you can forgive me."

Ms Zeidan said she didn't think the message was serious, and later told Ms Marsden's mother she "accidentally" deleted that last exchange between the pair.

But Teresa Marsden received a text from Brayden around 3pm that day telling her to "sort your daughter out" because she was threatening to kill herself.

The distraught mum said Ms Zeidan drove her around the neighbourhood in search for her missing daughter, even driving past "Brayden's sister's house."

Ms Marsden’s distraught grandfather Giuseppe Costa outside court. Picture: Toby Zerna
Ms Marsden’s distraught grandfather Giuseppe Costa outside court. Picture: Toby Zerna

The coroner blasted what Ms Zeidan's barrister condemned as "unsavoury" heated words directed at his client when she was confronted by a number of people outside court on the first day of the inquest.

"I did not subpoena her to be pilloried by any member of the community, and not to have to run the gauntlet of media thrusting cameras in her face," Magistrate Elaine Truscott said.

Ms Marsden's brother and other relatives walked out of court when the coroner told Ms Zeidan: "I extend to you my apologies for what you have endured."

About a dozen Marsden family supporters hurled abuse at her outside the Lidcombe hearing on Monday, with Teresa Marsden screaming: "I trusted you, I invited you into our home."

Another relative yelled: "tell the truth, we've waited seven years for answers".

Magistrate Truscott said special security arrangements have now been made so Ms Zeidan can give evidence "without having to be subject to such conduct."

"I know it's difficult for you, I know it's difficult for the family as well," she said.

The court heard Ms Zeidan became obsessed with Ms Marsden during their tumultuous high school romance, telling her in emails: "If you kill me, I'll be your ghost … if you hate me, I'll still love you."

"Baby you can get phone sex with me everynight … and then I'll give you sex in bed," Ms Zeidan wrote.

Ms Marsden confided in her school counsellor that she might have to leave home to be with a girl.

Lifeline 13 11 14

 

 

 

Camila Zeidan arrives at the coroners court. Picture: John Grainger
Camila Zeidan arrives at the coroners court. Picture: John Grainger

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