Shandee's mum, sister speak of cheeky girl who loved life

Shandee and her sister Shannah shared a special bond and loved playing tricks on their mother.
Shandee and her sister Shannah shared a special bond and loved playing tricks on their mother.

EVERY person in Mackay would now know the name Shandee Blackburn.

Murdered 14 days ago, the greatest loss is felt by those closest to her.

But strangers, who had never met the 23-year-old, have laid flowers for her, shed tears for her and struggled to understand how this could happen to somebody in Mackay.

Who was Shandee Blackburn?

LOVED LIFE: Shandee Blackburn had a zest for life, a rebellious side and a generous nature.
LOVED LIFE: Shandee Blackburn had a zest for life, a rebellious side and a generous nature.

Born June 11, 1989, in Brisbane to parents Vicki and Peter Blackburn, Shandee was the little sister Shannah Blackburn had longed for.

Seven years her senior, Shannah said she'd always wanted a little sister.

"She was a little rat bag," she said.

"She was always trying to get me into trouble. I used to say 'I can't wait for this kid to grow up'."

Despite their sisterly fights, Shannah said she was fiercely protective of Shandee.

"I was always sticking up for her, nobody else could say anything bad about her," she said.

"She would have stuck up for me too."

Shannah said her sister was the sort of person who would befriend anyone.

"She'd just talk to anyone and give anyone a chance. She didn't hold grudges."

To her mother, Shandee was her "boomerang child", who often moved away but always came back.

Most recently Shandee lived on the Gold Coast but moved back to Mackay late last year. She had a wicked sense of humour, playing an April Fool's joke on her mother the day after she moved to the Gold Coast last year, phoning her to say she had been arrested.

Shannah backed up her sister's story and took it one step further, saying she too had been arrested protecting her.

"She was shocking," Ms Blackburn said.

Shandee did things her own way and sometimes that was extremely frustrating.

She went to school at Andergrove State School and Slade Point State School and went through her rebellious teenager phase at Carlisle Christian College and St Patrick's College.

While Ms Blackburn was the first to say they weren't a "traditional family, she said they were close.

"We certainly weren't a perfect family," she said.

"We very rarely sat down to dinner together."

Ms Blackburn said she would treasure memories of her daughter "barging into" her room when she'd finished work while she was asleep.

"We'd have a chat and she'd laugh when I'd tell her to leave so I could sleep," she said.

Two years ago Vicki's partner Paul Beardmore and the girls surprised her with a trip to Bora Bora for her 50th birthday.

The family also travelled to Las Vegas together last year for Mr Beardmore's birthday.

Since returning home to Mackay last year, Ms Blackburn said her daughter had matured a great deal and was making plans for her future.

"She was saving money, she wanted to buy a car, she had goals," she said. "She seemed happy in herself."

Ms Blackburn said she was still trying to come to terms with what had happened to her daughter.


SISTERS TOGETHER: Shandee and Shannah Blackburn on holidays in the Greek Islands.
SISTERS TOGETHER: Shandee and Shannah Blackburn on holidays in the Greek Islands. Contributed

Police are investigating the possibility that Shandee may have known her attacker.


"It terrifies me," Ms Blackburn said.

"We don't know why, we don't know who, we don't know how many."

Ms Blackburn, Mr Beardmore, Shannah and her boyfriend Arron Macklin all got tattoos for Shandee last week.

Shannah said she got her tattoo in Greek to honour their trip there last year -memories she will cherish forever.

"We'd have a chat and she'd laugh when I'd tell her to leave so I could sleep," she said.





YOU may notice something different on Page 2 of the Daily Mercury.

Today the Mercury launched a daily photograph it will run in the "Five Things" section of the paper counting the number of days since Shandee Blackburn was murdered.

With the investigation into her tragic death still ongoing, the photograph will run with the hope that it will prompt anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

Homicide detective Superintendent Brian Wilkins has previously said they believed somebody in Mackay knows who killed the 23-year-old but just hasn't come forward yet.

Shandee's mother Vicki Blackburn has supported the paper's move and said she hoped readers would take note of the photo.

"We really need people who have been involved in Shandee's life in the last 12 months to come forward and talk to police," she said.

"It's vital they get as much information as they can."

Today marks 14 days since Shandee was viciously stabbed to death as she walked home from work, a crime that has shocked an entire community.

If you have any information about this crime contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Topics:  boddington street editors picks police shandee blackburn

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