- Ashlee Brown told mum she was converting to Islam to wed Mohamed Naddaf
- Siobbhan Brown gave her daughter her blessing and never heard from her again
- Five years later Ashlee was found dead on the bathroom tiles of her marital home
- Ashlee, a mother-of-three, had been alive in the bathroom for four or five days
- The 25-year-old had been bound, gagged, stabbed and had her long hair cut off
- Naddaf says he found his wife in that state and tried for days to keep her alive
- He did not call 000 and has pleaded guilty to manslaughter based on negligence
Then two Victoria Police detectives arrived at her door.
Ashlee Brown, 25, had been found dead on her bathroom floor with more than 100 blunt and sharp force injuries covering most of her body.
The mother of three children under five had been bound, gagged and had her long strawberry blonde hair cut off.
Ashlee's husband Mohamed Naddaf, 37, told police he had found his wife in that state in their garage about five days earlier but chose to 'care' for her in the bathroom rather than call Triple 0.
Ms Brown had to run out of her house in disbelief when she heard how her daughter died. She is now faced with Naddaf pleading guilty to manslaughter, without ever going to trial.
'Ashlee was a fun-loving girl,' Ms Brown told Daily Mail Australia. 'She was giving. She was loving. She loved the sun, the beach. She loved singing, dancing, having fun.'
Ashlee had been raised in country Victoria as a 'typical Aussie girl' and gradually grew restless as she hit her late teenage years.
She took increasingly regular trips to Melbourne, once returning to introduce her family to Mohamed Rannaf when she was was about 18.
'She introduced him as "Macca",' Ms Brown said. 'It was very brief.
'He seemed like a nice, very polite, young man. It pains me to say that. I didn't see him again after that.'
There was no communication for some time before a phone call came 'out of the blue' that would herald the end of all contact between Ms Brown and her daughter.
When Ashlee was about 20 she rang to say she was pregnant and wanted her mother's blessing to convert to Islam and marry Mohamed.
'She said to me, "Mum, I need your blessing to become Muslim". She said "I'm three months' pregnant and I'm engaged to Mohamed. I would really like to marry him, mum, and settle down and have a baby".
'I said to her, "Darling, I don’t know anything about the Muslim religion. As long as you know what you're doing.
'I said, "Do you have to wear one of those burqas or hijabs? I didn't know what they were called.
'She said, "No mum, only when I go into the mosque because it's disrespectful for a woman to show her face before God".
'I said to Ashlee, "As long as you're making a fully informed decision and it's what you really want".'
Ashlee said that it was.
'There was a pause after that,' Ms Brown said. 'She said. "Thank you, mum". And then her voice seemed to change and she said, "It's Islam". That didn't mean anything to me at the time.
'We said goodbye to each other and we hung up and I didn't hear from Ashlee again.'
Ms Brown said she was convinced the lack of subsequent contact with Ashlee was solely down to her religious conversion and Rannaf controlling his wife.
'I believe Islam killed my daughter,' the 46-year-old said.
'If I could have taken that phone call back I would have not have given her my blessing. I would have said "No, sorry love".
'I'm not against Muslims. That's not what it's about.
'I'm not telling Ashlee's story to make friends. I don't want to tell lies, I'm not going to sugar coat it. I'm telling Ashlee's story for it to be known.'
Police initially charged Naddaf with assault and false imprisonment, after paramedics found her dead in the couple's home at Craigieburn, in Melbourne's north, on November 6, 2016.
They later accused Naddaf of killing his wife, but then prosecutors agreed to let him plead guilty to manslaughter.
Naddaf told police he found Ashlee tied up in their garage, badly beaten and covered in blood. He said he did not call an ambulance because his wife begged him not to ask for help.
Instead, Naddaf claimed he had taken Ashlee to their bathroom where he set up a television and heater and tended to her injuries for up to five days until she succumbed to those wounds.
During that time in the bathroom Naddaf fed his wife water through a syringe he put in her mouth. He brought her a sheet and a pillow.
While Ashlee lay dying, Ms Brown has been told, the couple's children walked in and out of the bathroom.
Naddaf said he had been asleep, having taken medication, and did not know how Ashlee came to be attacked because he did not hear anything.
The court has heard he has a significant criminal history and had been a long-term drug user, taking heroin, marijuana and ice.
A post-mortem examination found Ashlee had suffered injuries to her head, torso, buttocks and limbs. She had been stabbed in the thighs and had bruising to her right side, including her breast.
Naddaf, who was trying to resuscitate Ashlee when paramedics arrived, told police: 'I honestly didn't think she was going to die.'
Lengths of cord matching the couple's clothes line were found in a garbage bin, along with packing tape and clumps of Ashlee's hair. Blood was found in their car.
Naddaf, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter by way of criminal negligence, did not stand trial for any crime.
He is being held responsible only for not seeking medical assistance and insists he did not physically harm his wife.
As such, whoever inflicted the injuries upon Ashlee remains a mystery in the eyes of the law.
Naddaf's counsel, David Cronin, has told the Victorian Supreme Court: 'What occurred in the car and prior to when Mr Naddaf says that he found Ms Brown nobody knows.'
The court heard Naddaf had previously been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. He was to undergo psychological testing.
Mr Cronin said Naddaf had shown genuine concern for Ashlee and made efforts to care for her, dressing her wounds and giving her medication.
'There has been some compassion,' Mr Cronin told the court.
However, Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke said it would have been 'blindingly obvious' Ashlee needed immediate medical help.
Whatever happened, Ms Brown cannot believe her daughter would willingly cease all contact with her mother and three siblings who are now aged 11 to 22.
Ashlee had faced turbulence in her teenage years but would always come home, no matter what.
'No matter where she was, when the chips were down, she always came home to mum,' Ms Brown said.
'Why was there no more contact? Nothing. And not just with me but our family and friends. She ceased to exist.'
Ms Brown also believed the legal system let her down.
'It was explained to me that they didn't have enough evidence to successfully convict him of murder,' she said of Rannaf's manslaughter plea.
'I feel let down. I feel there should have been a trial. Where was our fight? We didn't have one.
'The offence of murder needs to be redefined.'
Naddaf, who faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, will appear at a sentencing hearing on July 20.
Avi Yemini, of the Australian Liberty Alliance, is organising a rally outside the Supreme Court on that day.
'We're gong to demand justice for Ashlee and that this doesn't happen to anyone else,' Mr Yemini said.
'You can make it out as it's just another domestic violence case but it isn't.
'A daughter calls her mum and says I'm converting to Islam then is cut off from her forever.'