Having withstood 14 years of violence, including broken bones, shattered teeth and death threats, Mary Fatima Katic finally left her abusive husband.
But a year later, in 2015, she found out the drug-addicted man she once lived with was locked up in Sydney's Long Bay gaol, accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl.
Antun Ivan Katic asked his wife, 28 years his senior, for help.
First it was for legal papers to help mount his defence.
Then it was to help him hire a hitman for $25,000 to "get rid of" his sex abuse victim and a teenage witness.
Initially scared what would happen to her family if she didn't comply, Mrs Katic agreed, providing photos of the juvenile targets, home addresses, friends and family member's names to a man she believed would have them killed.
"I want her completely disappeared, not even a bone, nothing," she told the hitman in Casula in 2015.
In fact, that man was an undercover police officer.
The dangerous plot hatched between this husband and wife, and the calculated police operation that brought them down, can be detailed after both pleaded guilty to solicit to murder charges.
The minimum four-year sentence handed down to Mrs Katic, 64, on Monday in the Wollongong District Court has prompted the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether to launch an appeal against the inadequate penalty.
Mr Katic, 36, will be sentenced in June for trying to have the two teens killed and for the sexual abuse offences that set his malicious plan in motion.
Court documents reveal Mr Katic was a manipulative, drug-addled father who beat his partner to a pulp and ignored apprehended violence orders.
Today he continues to write love letters, scribbled with hearts and poems, to his incarcerated ex-wife, who "still harbours affection towards" him despite her maltreatment, a psychiatrist found.
Court documents detail how Mrs Katic, once a registered nurse who worked at the Royal North Shore and Fairfield Hospitals, began a relationship with Mr Katic in 2000.
"She was frequently beaten and recalled instances when the police came over and she lied to them about her injuries to protect him," a psychiatrist report tendered in court stated.
In 2014, while the pair were living in regional NSW, Mrs Katic left him and moved to her mother's house in Wetherill Park.
It was around this time, Mr Katic began sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
A year later, the victim reported her abuse to police and her claims were supported by another boy turn witness, who she went to school with.
In early 2015, while Mr Katic was locked up in Long Bay gaol he told another inmate he was inside for allegedly molesting a teenage girl.
"He told the inmate he was drunk at a party one night and she climbed on top of him," the facts state.
A week later, the inmate later realised Mr Katic was "seriously shopping for a hitman" when Mr Katic told him he found someone to do the "job for $25,000".
The inmate later told police of Mr Katic's plan, stating that if something happened to a teenage girl, he didn't know how he could live with that.
Working with the police, the inmate then convinced Mr Katic to use his hitman on the outside, claiming that man owed him a favour.
After he was told the hitman needed information about his target – school, address, photographs – Mr Katic enlisted the help of his wife during a jail visit.
Mr Katic then told the inmate about the other young boy he wanted dead, his victim's friend, both of whom can't be identified.
"That was horrific, I mean, my instant reaction was 'Come on Antun, he's only a child'," the inmate later told police.
Mr Katic's response was uttered in Croatian but meant: "May the sharks eat him while he's still alive."
The inmate told detectives Mr Katic said the purpose of killing the teens would be to eliminate them as the only witnesses as they had "hard evidence", the facts state.
Mrs Katic then met with the fictitious hitman – an undercover police officer – a few times at a Bunnings Warehouse in Casula to discuss the plan.
She handed over the victim's name, her father's, sister's and mother's names, the high school she went to and her home address.
Asked if she wanted the victim to know who ordered the hit before she died, Mrs Katic responded: "In a way yes because then she'll say to herself, 'shit, I should've kept my mouth shut'."
Mrs Katic explained the other teenage boy had "to go" because he backed the victim up. She handed over photographs of the boy and his family.
On their last meeting, on April 24, 2015, Mrs Katic was arrested, bringing the plot to a just end.
Last Monday she was sentenced to six years and nine months' jail with a non-parole period of four years.
In a letter to the court, she expressed bewilderment at her actions and reflected on the abusive hold her husband had.
"I do not excuse my actions in anyway and I deserve to be punished and accountable for what I have done," she said.
"But my behaviour was completely out of character for me."
The story, Couple's dangerous plan to hire hit man to kill sex abuse victim and witness, first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.