An Australian woman found dead in her London flat and the British graphic designer accused of her murder were just months away from being married.
The body of Amy Parsons, 35, originally from Melbourne, was discovered by police in the fifth-floor apartment in Whitechapel about 1.30pm BST on Friday.
Roderick Deakin-White, 37, was hours later charged with her murder and will appear in Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Just days earlier they were happily sharing an Easter meal and bottles of white wine with family as they planned the couple’s long-awaited wedding.
Amy Parsons, 35, (third from right) enjoyed an Easter meal and bottles of white wine with her fiance Roderick Deakin-White, 37, (second from right) along with Rod’s father (left) mother Christine (right) brother Ed (second from left) and Ed’s partner
Despite reports that their relationship had been under strain, there is no sign anything was wrong as the couple enjoyed the unseasonably warm British weather just a week ago.
Ms Parsons returned to Melbourne in January to celebrate her engagement with her mother Leonie and father Michael, and catch up with old friends.
The couple had been dating for close to a decade and Ms Parsons had moved to London in March 2012 to start a new life with him.
She started work at Old Mutual as an executive assistant, having worked in the same role for AXA Australian back in Melbourne.
Just days later, Deakin-White (left) was arrested after Ms Parsons’ (right) body was found at their fifth-floor apartment at about 1.30pm on Friday
Ms Parsons with her father Michael and mother Leonie during a 2016 visit
Ms Parsons’ sister Eve (right) was already in the British capital, having settled there in late 2011 after months of travelling and now lives with her same-sex partner
Her sister Eve, also an executive assistant, was already in the British capital, having settled there in late 2011 after months of travelling and now lives with her same-sex partner.
The families were close and had known each other since at least 2007.
The Parsons sisters and their mother were visiting Dunstable, Bedfordshire, as part of a world tour from Australia to Singapore, Europe, and North America.
Deakin-White’s mother Christine still lives in Dunstable where she and Ed have run Deakin-White estate agents since 2016.
Ms Deakin-White is battling cancer and on Wednesday shared curry lunch with her husband, Ed, and Ed’s partner after a chemotherapy session.
Ms Deakin-White is battling cancer and on Wednesday shared curry lunch with her husband (left), Ed, and Ed’s partner (far right) after a chemotherapy session
The families were close and knew each other since at least 2007 when Deakin-White’s brother Ed (right) visited a pub with Ms Parsons and her mother (pictured)
Ms Parsons and Deakin-White (right) celebrate Father’s Day last year with his brother Ed (left) and their parents
A family gathering of the Deakin-White family along with Ms Parsons (right) in 2017
By 2011, Ms Parsons and her beau were travelling by themselves to Hong Kong and other far-flung locales where Deakin-White indulged in his love of photography.
Members of both families, particularly the two mothers, regularly comment on each others’ Facebook pages with plenty of cross-continental banter and loving words.
‘Such a beaut photo!’ Leonie commented on a photo of Ms Deakin-White and her husband last year. A year earlier she complimented a promotional photo for the estate agent business.
Ms Deakin-White in 2017 remarked to a friend that she had scraped together some cash for her son and prospective daughter-in-law to buy a nice meal on a visit to Melbourne.
Friends of the couple were shocked to learn of Ms Parsons death, particularly that it was allegedly at the hands of Mr Deakin-White.
By 2011, Ms Parsons and her beau were travelling by themselves to Hong Kong (pictured) and other far-flung locales where Deakin-White indulged in his love of photography
Roderick Deakin-White and Amy Parsons. She was found dead at the couple’s home in Whitechapel, east London
Roderick Deakin-White (pictured with Amy Parsons) has been described as ‘really helpful’ by a friend
Deakin-White was described by neighbours at the east London apartment complex as ‘really nice’ and ‘always willing to help’.
One described Deakin-White – known as ‘Rod’ – as the ‘local handyman’.
Sam Broughton said Deakin-White, who calls himself a freelance ‘motion graphic designer’ who has worked for the Royal Opera House, was ‘really helpful’ and ‘always there if you needed something fixed’.
‘Rod helped me when our flat flooded. He was the local handyman, the helpful guy to go to in the building,’ he said.
‘We never hung out and chatted or anything, but he was always willing to help. He seemed like a really nice guy.
‘I was out at the time it happened, but when I came back there was a bunch of police here – they didn’t tell us much. I actually texted Rod to find out what happened but never got a reply.’
Deakin-White (left) with his parents and Ms Parson on a bridge in London in 2013
Australian Amy Parsons (pictured) was found at their fifth-floor London apartment about 1.30pm on Friday
Chi Building in Whitechapel, east London, where Amy Parsons lived with her partner Roderick Deakin-White
Two-bedroom apartments in the seven-storey Chi building in Whitechapel sell for about £620,000.
The grey and orange building can be accessed only with an electronic fob, while many of the flats have balconies.
Within walking distance of the Tower of London and the Old Spitalfields Market, the building is located just a few minutes’ walk from Shadwell station and just half a mile from Bank, Tower Hill and Wapping.
The bustling area is full of hip restaurants and bars, vintage shops and galleries and is on the doorstep of trendy Shoreditch.
Another resident of the block said Deakin-White had come to help her with her internet connection and heating when she was having problems.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘The last time I spoke to him was about a month ago.
The Australian woman’s cause of death has not yet been established, police said