Anu Singh breaks silence ahead of release of film Joe Cinque’s Consolation


Anu Singh has broken her silence as a film chronicling her 1997 murder trial edges closer to release.

The former Australian National University law student has criticised the makers of a film documenting her case. The rare interview comes nearly two decades after she sedated her boyfriend Joe Cinque, injected him with a massive dose of heroin and watched him die
Singh was acquitted of murder on the basis of diminished responsibility, and found guilty of manslaughter instead.

The film is in post-production and is expected to be completed in April for release later in the year but Singh said she had not been contacted by the filmmakers to share her side of the story.
“It would have been nice if they’d talked to me and gained some sort of understanding where I was at that time but of course they’ve got no [legal] obligation to. I guess they’re not interested. I haven’t seen the film, I have no idea how I’m going to be portrayed,” she told Canberra journalist Ginger Gorman earlier this month.

Singh served four years in jail for the manslaughter of 26-year-old Mr Cinque.

The court found she killed him by sedating him with Rohypnol, which was laced into his coffee, and then injecting him with heroin in the duplex they shared on Antill Street in Downer.

The sordid tale was later turned into the best-selling book by Helen Garner, Joe Cinque’s Consolation and later a screenplay by award-winning filmmaker Sotiris Dounoukos.

Singh had previously declined to be interviewed for Garner’s book but in 2004 told Fairfax Media she would have been keen to speak to her if she had known the book was going ahead.

She now says she fears the mental health aspects of her case will be misrepresented and the release of the documentary has forced her to shed the low profile she kept for many years.

She said that while she would prefer not to talk about the issue, the movie meant that it would all be brought back out and she needed to “explain these sorts of things.”

She also revealed Cinque’s parents had rebuffed her attempts to apologise to them.

“If I could turn back that clock … if I could have listened to people back then and gotten the right sort of help then this wouldn’t have happened,” she told Gorman.

“I know in my own case if I was in a better mental health state this wouldn’t have happened. In fact my mother called the mental health crisis team a number of times prior to the events occurring and I fell through the cracks like a lot of women do.”

She said she had approached Mr Cinque’s parents, but could understand why they did not want to talk to her.

“I just really want to say sorry to them face to face. I know that means nothing and it’s not going to bring him back or ease their pain but I want to be able to say ‘Look I am deeply affected by this as are you’,” she said in the interview.

In 2012, Mr Cinque’s mother Maria welcomed the film because she wanted her son’s death to be remembered, but she was worried about how he would be portrayed.

Garner said at the time she believed the film would provide a sympathetic and sensitive portrayal of Mr Cinque.

Mr Dounoukos told Fairfax Media on Tuesday his film would examine “many dimensions” of Mr Cinque’s death.

“My film is an adaptation of Helen Garner’s beautifully rendered examination of the tragedy of Joe’s [manslaughter] that encompasses many dimensions,” he said.

“The ‘big picture’ involves many issues, including mental health, notions of community and of course responsibility for our actions. I’ve made the film to ask these questions, and audiences will have their own views on all the issues raised. For me, that was the whole point of the book, and now the film.”