Lana and Zara Schofield will always live with the horror of knowing their father murdered their mother – but it’s a small comfort to the Waikato women that after years of being controlled “like a caged animal”, their beloved mum, Katrina Drummond, finally found happiness before her death.
“Mum was really happy for the last week of her life,” says Lana, 29. “She’d met someone, and thought she had a chance to move on and find love.”
Katrina had a relationship based on fear with Martin Schofield, who she met and married as a teenager. “Martin controlled every aspect of Mum’s life, down to what she bought at the supermarket she wasn’t allowed margarine, cheese or biscuits,” reveals Lana, who says they’ve never called him Dad.
“At home, Martin followed her from room to room, so he could always keep an eye and an ear on her,” adds Zara, 25. Neither of them ever heard Schofield yell or saw him raise a fist. “His control was behind closed doors – it was the worst kind,” says Lana.
Schofield, a 50-year-old possum trapper who spent 10 years in the army, refused to accept the relationship was over. He once threatened to shoot Katrina if she left him. “Mum said to me, ‘If you find my body, you know who did it,’” tells Lana. In April, Katrina, a 48-year-old hotel cleaner, met someone new on the internet. She was happy and it gave her the strength to try to leave her relationship. The trouble was, Schofield had decided that if he couldn’t have Katrina, no-one could.
On April 14, the couple began arguing at the Taupo home they shared with Lana, her partner Thomas Menefy and Katrina’s youngest daughter Casey, 14. “Casey called me at work and said they were fighting,” recalls Lana, a beauty therapist. “I told her to either call the police or get out of the house.” Casey called her friend to pick her up.
Enraged that Katrina had met someone new, Schofield went to the garage and slashed the seats in the family car with a Stanley knife, carving “bitch” and “slag” into the roof. He then picked up a claw hammer and went back into the house, bashing Katrina in the back of the head at least seven times, as she stood at the foot of their marital bed, caving in nearly half of her skull. Schofield then handed himself in to police.
Lana was at work when Thomas got home just before 6pm. “He said, ‘You need to come home. Something’s happened to your mum,’” tells Lana. “I tried calling her, but no answer. I just knew.”
Lana and Zara grew up at Burnham, Linton, Hastings and Wairoa army camps. “Martin was a soldier and was OCD about everything. If we moved an ornament a centimetre on the dressing table, he would walk back into the room and move it back,” recalls Lana.
The couple first separated when Lana was eight and Zara was four. Katrina moved her daughters to Taupo to be closer to family. “Apart from a couple of birthday cards, we didn’t hear from him for 17 years,” tells Lana.
In time, Katrina went on to have another relationship and her daughter Casey. Schofield also had a son. But by 2011, those relationships had ended. “Mum was heartbroken,” says Lana. “Her self-esteem was low and we think that’s when she contacted Martin again.”
Second time around, Schofield was doing all he could to woo Katrina. He arrived in Taupo with a giant hamper of her favourite food. “And for Christmas, he bought her a brand-new Holden Commodore,” says Lana.
Bit by bit, he moved Katrina’s late mother’s furniture out of the home and replaced it. “He was putting his stamp on our house,” explains Lana. He hung red hearts around the house and a sign in the hallway that said, “This house is full of love.” Within a year, he’d moved back in.
“We saw through him – he was creepy,” says Zara. Lana remembers Schofield trying to make Katrina love him, but it wasn’t working. “She knew he was mean and manipulative, but she’d lost her confidence. She’d cringe when she heard his scooter in the driveway.”
The year before she was murdered, things went downhill. Katrina wanted out, but Schofield refused. “He said, ‘If you leave me, I will always find you,’” says Zara. “We told Mum to go to the police, but she said, ‘What for? I don’t have bruises. They couldn’t arrest him on empty threats.’” In the Rotorua High Court last month, Schofield was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to murdering Katrina. Although he has written to his daughters from prison, Schofield has never apologised for leaving them without a mother. In his letters, Schofield reveals he’s enjoying prison food and compares life inside to a “Top 10 Holiday Park”. He keeps a photo of Katrina by his bed and insists they’ll be together again.
“He’s deluded,” says Zara. Victim-impact statements read in court described Katrina as her daughters’ “best friend” and “go-to person for everything”. For Zara, her mum’s death was particularly painful because a week after she was murdered, she and her fiancé Keith Shine found they were expecting their first baby, a boy due in January. “When one life ends, another begins. I guess that’s the way it was meant to be,” muses Zara, a chef who lives in Cambridge.
Since Katrina’s death, the sisters and their partners have pulled together to bring up Casey, who now lives with Lana. “She’s doing well. Mum would be proud,” smiles Lana.
“I guess Mum’s legacy is leaving three strong daughters,” adds Zara. Testimony to Zara’s strength is her survival of a near-fatal bashing seven years ago at the hands of Jahche Broughton, then 14. Aged 17, Zara was hit with a rock on the back of the head as she walked home from a party in Taupo. A fortnight later, in a crime that shocked Britain and New Zealand, Broughton went on to murder Scottish backpacker Karen Aim.
“Like Mum, I was hit about seven times on the back of the head,” tells Zara. “I was lucky. He left me for dead.” But the sisters’ story is one of survival and they don’t want their mother’s life to be taken in vain. “You don’t need bruises to be a victim of domestic abuse,” insists Zara. “See the signs and get out before it’s too late.”
“Mum’s death left a hole that can never be filled,” adds Lana. “We want people to be aware of this kind of bullying – we want to spare another life and another family from going through what we’ve been through.”
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