"Never get involved with patients" was one of the first things 23-year-old Kylie Labouchardiere was taught when she started work as a trainee nurse at Sutherland Hospital, in the Caringbah suburb of Sydney, Australia in 2003, but when she met handsome debonair Paul Wilkinson a few months later, that advice quickly went out of the window.
She would later admit to friends that she should have known better. After all, she had been married for two years to a naval officer, they had recently bought a house and intended to start a family.
Paul Wilkinson, 28, a police liaison officer, should also have known better. He was married and had a family. But when they met in December 2003 at the hospital where Wilkinson was a patient, Kylie's world was turned upside down. Within days they were meeting secretly.
She realised how unsatisfactory her own marriage had become. Wilkinson was everything her husband wasn't — he was funny, attractive, charming and kind. The fact that he was cheating on his own wife and family was something she tried not to think about. From the loneliness of an unhappy relationship, Kylie was now showered with text messages and phone calls — the lovers regularly sent each other more than 100 texts a day.
And on Valentine's Day 2004 Kylie put two messages in her local newspaper. One, to her husband, simply said "I Love You". The other, to her lover, read: "I know there is a future for us and can't wait to spend it with you."
Wilkinson, she believed, felt the same way. His marriage, he said was boring and loveless and all he wanted was a new life with his new love. And when in March, 2004, Kylie found she was pregnant with Paul Wilkinson's baby, she finally left her husband and went to live with her grandmother until they could make arrangements to be together.
They decided to leave Sydney and move to Dubbo, one of Australia's fastest-growing inland cities and start a new life together. Paul had agreed to tell his wife he was leaving and Kylie happily set about finding a house and arranging to have her furniture transported.
On April 28, Kylie packed two suitcases and took a bus to the train station telling her grandmother that she was travelling to Dubbo and would let her know when she arrived. She never did. The following day Kylie's grandmother received a call from the furniture removal company saying that Kylie was not at the house in Dubbo and they couldn't reach her on her mobile. Kylie's parents and brother were now thoroughly alarmed. Her brother looked at his sister's phone bills, found that she had been in constant contact with one number until the day she left Sydney and rang it.
The phone was answered by Paul Wilkinson, who said that he had just received a text from Kylie saying she had gone to Adelaide with another man. Now thoroughly alarmed and suspicious, Kylie's family went to the police.
When detectives interviewed Paul Wilkinson he had an unlikely tale to tell. He claimed that Kylie and her new lover had visited the Wilkinson home and set it on fire. Luckily his wife and son were out. The new man in Kylie's life, according to Wilkinson, was a Sydney police sergeant named Geoff Lowe.
Detectives found Wilkinson's story hard to believe. The house had caught fire the previous day but there was no evidence that it had anything to do with Kylie's disappearance or Geoff Lowe.
They had no body, no crime scene and no forensic evidence. What they did have was CCTV footage of Kylie boarding a train, but after that she vanished, apparently into thin air.
Time passed, and Kylie's parents struggled to come to terms with the torment of not knowing what had happened to their daughter. Police kept the file open but no new clues emerged and there was no evidence against Paul Wilkinson to make him a prime suspect.
It might have remained like that, but the publicity-seeking Wilkinson just couldn't keep quiet. On the first anniversary of Kylie's