Cara Hales has been remembered as a loving girl who could light up a room with her infectious laughter and smile.
About 400 devastated family and friends farewelled the 30-year-old at a service in Bunbury yesterday — two weeks after she was allegedly brutally stabbed by a stranger who had left a mental health facility a day earlier.
Ms Hales had been alone at the Munster home she shared with a friend about noon on December 28, when 23-year-old Jesse de Beaux allegedly broke in and murdered her. She had returned to Perth not long before, after several years living and working in the Eastern States.
Friends and colleagues from Melbourne were among those who spoke of their heartache at her loss in heart-felt online tributes this week.
Mandy Goodwin described her as “so thoughtful, so kind and caring”.
“It was never a dull moment when she was around, she was so beautiful inside and out and had the most contagious laugh and the most wild stories,” Ms Goodwin wrote.
Bek Taylor said she would cherish the times they had together.
“Your huge smile, infectious laughter and ability to light up any room will be sorely missed but always warmly remembered,” she wrote. “I’m so grateful to have met you and to have called you a friend.”
Colleagues who worked with her in Melbourne at staffing and recruiting agency Adecco also left tributes, describing her as friendly, kind-natured and always smiling.
Another friend said Cara had the ability to “light up a room with her beautiful smile and heartfelt laughter”.
“In the time I knew Cara she was such a caring and compassionate person, always wanting to make others happy,” they wrote.
Mr de Beaux was arrested not far from the 30-year-old’s home about two hours after the alleged murder when police responded to reports of a man running around naked.
Mental health authorities have ordered a review of patient release procedures amid revelations that he had been a voluntary patient at Graylands Hospital in the days beforehand but left the facility less than 24 hours before he allegedly killed Ms Hales.
He has been remanded in custody and is expected back in court in Perth on January 30.