Real Life

The story behind Paul Mulvihill's murder of Rachel Yeo

The case shocked the nation and tore families apart.

By Jess Pullar

It took a jury less than two hours to unanimously agree that Paul Mulvihill was guilty of stabbing his former girlfriend Rachelle Yeo.

Indeed, the disturbing case led to the decision that Mulvihill would be jailed for at least 22 years for the murder, which tore two families apart in July 2012.

Paul Mulvihill was found guilty of stabbing his former girlfriend to death.
Paul Mulvihill was found guilty of stabbing his former girlfriend to death.

Today, the details behind the case, and the man responsible for it continues to shock the nation.

Here, we look at the events that led to the fateful night.

Who is Paul Mulvihill?

Paul was a former New South Wales Rugby Union representative and a successful investor with properties on the Gold Coast.

He had a wife, Theresa, to whom he had been married to for 16 years. The couple had three daughters together.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Theresa spoke candidly about her ex-husband, saying he "controlled everything" in their household, from the money to where they went on holidays.

"It was like walking on eggshells all the time when Paul was home," she said.

Paul was married with three children.
Paul was married with three children.

How did Paul and Rachelle meet?

Paul was working for a pharmaceutical company where Rachelle also worked. The pair began an affair in December 2010 and lasted over a year.

Rachelle Yeo worked with Paul at a pharmaceutical company.
Rachelle Yeo worked with Paul at a pharmaceutical company.

How did the affair end?

It is understood that their affair ended in April 2012 when Rachelle moved to Sydney. Evidence from the trial revealed Paul had become obsessed with her, seeking out her new address.

Evidence also showed that Rachelle had started a new relationship, which added to Paul's alarming behaviour.

In the weeks leading to Rachelle's murder, she spoke to family and friends about her concern at his "repeated and persistent displays of obsessive behaviour," as written in the courts decision.

Furthermore, Rachelle was so alarmed by his advances that she "sought the advice of a clinical psychologist to address her anxiety and stress."

Meanwhile, Theresa told 60 Minutes that she found had out about the affair when she saw an "explicit" message from Rachelle on his phone.

Within days of Rachelle's murder, Theresa informed Paul that their marriage was over.

What happened on the night of July 16 2012?

Rachelle was in her apartment on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The 31-year-old had just arrived home after attending a yoga class.

In the court document, it states that Paul went to her unit and asked to speak with her and she allowed him into her unit.

At trial, Muliville stated that Rachelle had grabbed a kitchen knife after he called her "the most self-centred person I have ever met", and that he acted in self defence when he proceeded to stab her in the neck and chest with a large kitchen knife.

Paul was a former rugby player.
Paul was a former rugby player.

In her sentencing decision, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton said: "The multiplicity of injuries and their severity overall indicated that Ms Yeo was engaged in a violent and prolonged struggle with the offender before she died."

She then told the court that Mulvihill had disposed of his bloodstained clothing and the knife to conceal his actions.

Paul was caught by authorities the next day as he tried to flee New South Wales.

What happened after the trial?

Paul was found guilty of murdering Rachelle, and was sentenced to 22 years in jail in 2014.

In November 2016, Paul lost an appeal against his conviction, where he tried to maintain he acted in self-defence.

The judgement from the appeal read: "A conclusion that either stab wound might, as a possibility, have been a reasonable response to whatever attack (Mulvihill) perceived he was under would have been perverse."