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Missing NSW woman's family say she's dead

AAP logoAAP 27/07/2016 By Andi Yu

An inquest into the 2012 disappearance of Sydney woman Cheryl Ardler has brought her grief-stricken family to the conclusion she must be dead.

"Part of me didn't want to believe it," mother Irene Ardler told AAP after a final submissions hearing at the NSW Coroners Court in Glebe on Wednesday.

Her daughter, who would now be 44, was last seen in the western Sydney suburb of Cranebrook in December 2012.

The sole person of interest in the inquest is Ms Ardler's de facto partner, Dennis French. However the inquest has not heard any evidence linking him to the killing.

Advocate assisting the coroner Durand Welsh submitted that evidence heard from 28 witnesses indicated Ms Ardler was "deliberately killed", but by whom, in what location or on what date remains a mystery.

Mr Welsh said Ms Ardler had a history of "less than savoury" partners and was in an abusive de facto relationship with Mr French when she disappeared.

The couple's neighbour Kelly Nixon testified she once saw Mr French stab Ms Ardler in the mouth with a fork.

Sean Carpenter, who lived with the couple during 2012, gave evidence Mr French was emotionally abusive towards Ms Ardler because he was "extremely jealous" of any Facebook interaction she had with other men.

Ms Ardler's transient relationship with her family was a challenge for the inquest, Mr Welsh said, because she would go weeks or months without seeing them.

This was why her disappearance was not reported to police until June 2013 - six months after she was last seen.

But the family was adamant that severing all contact with them was "extremely out of character".

Counsel assisting Mr French, Juliette Curtin, said the evidence indicated Ms Ardler was dead, but it was insufficient to conclude she had been murdered.

Death by suicide and misadventure could not be ruled out and that it was Ms Ardler's own mother who gave evidence that it was in her daughter's nature to "wander", she said.

Two policemen who visited the couple's Cranebrook home about a domestic dispute in August 2012 put the severity of Mr French's abuse in doubt, Ms Curtin said.

Neither officer could recall any physical injury to Ms Ardler.

"None of this evidence ties Mr French to Ms Ardler's disappearance or death," she told the court.

Irene Ardler told AAP her daughter was a "happy-go-lucky" person and loved kids.

"I need to have closure," she said.

"I want her so I can put her to rest."

Deputy state coroner Therese O'Sullivan will deliver her findings on August 19.

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