Please note, this story contains reference to someone who has died.


Staunch domestic violence campaigner and community leader R Rubuntja has been identified as the victim of an alleged murder by her partner last Thursday.

Northern Territory Police allege a 49-year-old man drove a Ford Falcon sedan into Rubuntja while she sat on the footpath in the Alice Springs Hospital carpark.

Detective Superintendent Joanne Foley said although hospital emergency staff went to the woman’s aid, she died a short time later.

Malcolm Abbott, 49, was arrested nearby shortly afterwards. He appeared in Alice Springs Local Court on Monday, charged with murder and three driving offences.

R Rubuntja, 46, was a founding member of the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group (TWFSG), an Aboriginal-led anti-domestic violence group.

In a statement via social media, the TWFSG identified the man charged with her murder as her partner, saying their hearts were “completely broken”.

“We have no words that adequately expresses our pain, shock and hurt for the news we have to share,” the statement read.

“We grieve now and then we mobilise, we will continue, it just may take a minute.”

“We will be inspired by our sister’s legacy, we will not let her be forgotten and then we will ask you to stand with us against family and domestic violence.”

In late 2019, Rubuntja was elected Town Camp President of her community at Anthepe Camp, three kilometres south of Alice Springs.

The TWFSG celebrated Rubuntja’s election as Town Camp President in September 2019 as part of their Mums Can, Dads Can family violence prevention campaign, which aimed to challenge rigid gender stereotypes.

“Mums can be Camp Town Presidents!” the campaign proclaimed.

Police are now calling for public assistance to identify two people who may have witnessed the incident.

A man and a woman were captured by CCTV in the area out the front of the Alice Springs Hospital emergency entrance on Thursday January 7 around 9.23pm.

Detective Sergeant Glenn Bolger said the pair may have information that could assist with the investigation.

“We must stress, these people are not considered suspects in any way. We would greatly appreciate their cooperation and urge them to contact police at the Alice Springs Police Station in regards to this case,” he said.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 131 444 or report it anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

By Sarah Smit