In a final text message, Ballarat mum Dannyll Goodsell told a friend "I'm scared of Scott".
Friends asked her why she was in a relationship with Scott Charles Cameron and she told them she was too afraid to leave.
She was right to be. On the morning of October 5, 2018, he killed her. She was stabbed 55 times.
Ms Goodsell's family wept during a pre-sentence hearing in Victoria's Supreme Court on Monday where Cameron is continuing to claim that she struck him first with a hatchet.
Cameron pleaded guilty to murder, but told officers in his interview a day after the killing they were wrong to look at murder and should consider it self-defence.
It was Ms Goodsell's body that was covered in defensive wounds, indicating she had held her arms over her face and neck during the "sustained and savage attack", prosecutor David Glynn said.
"Even if something did prompt Cameron to do what he did, nothing could justify his actions."
Justice Andrew Tinney said it was "implausible" Ms Goodsell would have lashed out at Cameron when she was so afraid of him and completely rejected his claims she attacked him first.
Mr Glynn said Cameron also clearly tried to cover his tracks after the stabbing. He put Ms Goodsell's body under a bed in their Mount Pleasant home and set a fire in a cupboard.
The fire didn't take hold and was still smouldering hours later when firefighters arrived.
There had also been efforts to clean the crime scene with bleach, and Cameron had gone to a friend's house to shower and change.
Justice Tinney said Cameron's actions following the murder could only be to destroy evidence.
His lawyer Anthony Lewis said he was "clearly distraught and grief stricken" at times in the interview and while he could remember stabbing and slashing Ms Goodsell, he couldn't remember his actions beyond that.
"He's undoubtedly coming to grips with what he's actually done," he said.
Ms Goodsell's two children have been left orphaned by her death.
Her daughter, who was 13 at the time, said her gut twists into a knot when she remembers she'll never share a future with her mother.
Donna Goodsell said she was afraid her little family would never heal from the tragedy of her daughter's death.
Australian Associated Press