Friends gather for candlelit vigil for murdered Sleaford woman

Over 100 friends and members of the community gathered in Sleaford on Sunday evening to hold a poignant candlelit vigil to the memory of a much-loved woman and to spotlight the issue of domestic violence and the support available.

The event held beside Sleaford Leisure Centre was organised by Sleaford Women’s Safety Group in cooperation with friends and relatives of Diana Gabaliene, 33, who is believed to have been strangled at her home in George Street, Sleaford just two weeks before. The body of Deividas Gabalis, 40, was also found at the property.

An inquest into the pair’s deaths was opened an adjourned at Lincoln on Wednesday, May 11, until October 31. Police are still investigating, treating it as a case of murder and suicide, leaving three children orphaned.

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Sarah Watson from the women’s safety group said: “It was very clear that the community was very shaken, very upset and wanted to help. We wanted to honour her and raise awareness for domestic violence.”

Diana's name was spelled out in lights and people at the vigil added more lights and candles at the end of the event.

Mayor of Sleaford, Coun Linda Edwards-Shea knew Diana and her children and would be organising civic events in support of the charity Ending Domestic Abuse Now Lincs.

Vicky Morris from new Image Gym, where Diana had been a member read a poem and recalled friendship after she joined the gym in 2018: “A quiet beautiful soul on a mission to be the best version of you. Before we knew it you were one of our most dedicated members.”

She described Diana as selfless, always looking out for others, her enthusiasm as an inspiration and how she helped and guided other women on their weight loss journey.

Vicky said Diana found her niche in kickboxing.

This was endorsed in an emotional tribute by Phil Robbins of Sleaford Fight Academy.

"I and others in our group consider Diana a great friend. From shy Diana asking if she could join she became a huge part of our club,” he said.

"The impact that Diana had on everybody, was that when you met ‘D’, you loved ‘D’.

"She formed a special relationship with my daughter.”

"’D’s dedication to strive to improve and progress was an example for everyone in day to day life. She wanted to be the best version of herself and we owe it to her to be the best version of ourselves.”