Skip to navigationSkip to content
BACK FROM THE DEAD

“Surprise! I’m still alive!”: An Australian woman crashed her own funeral after her husband hired hit men to kill her

This article is more than 2 years old.

An Australian woman surprised guests and her husband when she arrived at her own funeral in Melbourne, early last year. Her death had been confirmed to her husband just days earlier, by the hit men he’d hired to kill her.

“Surprise! I’m still alive!” Noela Rukundo announced when she arrived, she later told the BBC. ”Is it my eyes? Is it a ghost?” responded her husband Balenga Kalala.

After admitting he’d ordered her murder, Kalala was sentenced to nine years in prison on Dec. 11, 2015, reported ABC.

The story of Rukundo’s failed murder starts with another death. Last February, the Burundi-born Rukundo traveled from Australia to Burundi for her stepmother’s funeral. Outside her hotel one night, a man held Rukundo up at gunpoint and threatened to shoot if she screamed. A group of men shoved her in a car, covered her face, and drove to an undisclosed location, where they asked what she had done to anger the man who ordered her death.

Rukundo said she had no idea—but when they called the mastermind on speakerphone, she heard her husband’s voice loud and clear: “Kill her.”

She passed out moments later. When she came to, something surprising happened.

From the BBC:

“I said to myself, I was already dead. Nothing I can do can save me.

“But he looks at me and then he says, ‘We’re not going to kill you. We don’t kill women and children.’

“He told me I’d been stupid because my husband paid them the deposit in November. And when I went to Africa it was January. He asked me, ‘How stupid can you be, from November, you can’t see that something is wrong?'”

The men released her after two days—but not before calling her husband and informing him they needed another 3,400 Australian dollars (2,400 USD) to go through with the job. When they let her go, they gave her a memory card with recordings of conversations with Kalala about the murder.

Rukundo made her way back to Melbourne three days later to confront her husband with the evidence.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.