'He was just a special man'

A woman who suffered domestic violence for 30 years only to be charged with attempted murder has fondly remembered the policeman who reached out to her, and who was killed overnight in an alleged murder.

Catherine Smith was the subject of ABC TV's Australian Story after she was tried (and later acquitted) for attempting to murder her abusive husband.

Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson, killed on Thursday in the line of duty, was one of two officers who assisted Ms Smith in the aftermath of the case. He later delivered a letter of apology to her on behalf of the police force for the attempted murder charge.

''It was a step that we could take to try and restore Catherine's faith in the New South Wales Police,'' Detective Inspector Anderson told Australian Story.

Mrs Smith first met Detective Inspector Anderson in about 2008 after she was acquitted of attempted murder, when he was preparing evidence for a case against her husband.

"As a police officer it was obvious he was very competent ... but as a man he was just such a gentleman and very compassionate and very calming," she said.

Kevin Smith was later sentenced to at least 10 years' jail after being found guilty of 17 charges, including three charges of attempted murder, and numerous charges of assault, sex without consent, and detaining with intent to obtain advantage.

The offences included attacking her with a cattle prod, a burning fire poker, knives and guns to force her to have sex with him, and trying to kill her with a .22 rifle.

Mrs Smith said it was a mark of Detective Inspector Anderson's kindness that he still phoned to check on her wellbeing.

"It was obvious that he was very caring and he was just so genuine with his caring.

"It was only last week that he rang me – a year after his involvement in this case – and he just rang me to see how we were faring as a family.

"That really blew me away; I thought that was just so special but that's the kind of guy he was ... he was just a special man."

Readers can make a contribution to the Bryson Anderson Memorial Fund. BSB: 815 000; a/c: 273 178.

This story 'He was just a special man' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.