LIFE AFTER BETH
Kippin family tell of grief one year after brutal death
A YEAR on from the brutal killing of Elizabeth “Beth” Kippin in Wulguru, her family is still coming to terms with their loss.
The death of the great- grandmother ( right) last July has left a big hole in the Kippin family, partially filled only by their fight for justice and reform of the state’s parole and probation system. Nephew David Kippin yesterday told of the family’s continued grief and drive to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
“It still takes its toll, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the initial shock of when it happened,” he said. “No matter where you go, as soon as they hear the name ‘ Kippin’, they say ‘ we remember Beth and we’re sorry’.”
THE brutal killing of Elizabeth “Beth” Kippin shook the entire community and a year on from the shocking crime, her family is still coming to terms with their loss.
On July 26 last year, the quiet of Wright St in Wulguru was obliterated as an allegedly naked and drugfuelled Anthony O’Keefe, 33, went on a rampage, killing Mrs Kippin, 81, and seriously injuring several others just seven hours after being released from the Townsville Correctional Centre.
The loss of the greatgrandmother has left a massive hole in the Kippin family, partially filled only by their fight for justice and change in the state’s parole and probation system.
Nephew and family spokesman David Kippin yesterday told the Bulletin of their continued grief and drive to make sure nothing like his aunty’s death ever happens again.
“It still takes its toll, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the initial shock of when it happened,” Mr Kippin said.
“It hasn’t left our thoughts, it’s strange that we give little thought to the actual event itself, it’s more about what happened with Beth, not necessarily who was involved at this point.
“It’s always in our thoughts, no matter where you go, as soon as they hear the name ‘ Kippin’, they say ‘ we remember Beth and we’re sorry’.
“That’s been great, that’s still been happening today, 12 months on.”
Mr Kippin said the family spent no time dwelling on Mrs Kippin’s alleged killer, barely thinking about him as they await a trial date to be set. O’Keefe’s case is due to be mentioned in court this week.
“I don’t give him much thought at all. I don’t know why. There’s certainly not a
IT STILL TAKES ITS TOLL, I DON’T THINK I’LL EVER GET USED TO THE INITIAL SHOCK OF WHEN IT HAPPENED
feeling of hate or any of those sorts of emotions at all,” Mr Kippin said. “It’s a name at this point in time, that’s all I associate it with.
“I’ve never laid eyes on him. That will happen at some stage and that will be an interesting confrontation when it happens, but at this point in time, we have to allow the due process.”
Mrs Kippin’s death prompted a state government review of parole and probation, leading to the biggest changes to the system in more than a century.
“I think we all know that this is not just another death of an elderly lady, it’s become a pivotal lever for the community to say, ‘ enough is enough’,” Mr Kippin said.
“We think we have a job that has been thrust upon us, it’s not something we’ve chosen to do, but we have an obligation, I guess, to ensure whatever we can do on behalf of the broader community to make this a safer place, then we’ve got to do it.
“We are happy with the recommendations ( in the parole and probation review), but more importantly we were stoked with the level of collaboration and consultation we were given as a family, with how that was produced.
“We can’t let this opportunity pass to make sure something happens and something has already happened, with the review.
“We give the government full marks, but … a review is one thing, execution is the second.”
The family has been actively campaigning for changes to the judiciary, with Mr Kippin saying the problem is broader than the just the parole system.
“I think the concern now extends past the parole system, it’s about the judicial system altogether, it’s about the sentencing requirements and there have been some questions raised over the appropriateness of some of the sentences given recently,” he said.
“This problem is much broader. It is very complex and there is no simple answer, but one thing I do know is that people are feeling less safe today.
“And it is the primary role of the government to make sure the citizens feel and are safe and I think there needs to be a refocus on the whole judicial and criminal justice system to make this a safer place.
“The laws should be reflecting what the community wants and needs and I think they’re falling short.”
SHOCKING: Police on Wright St after the shocking incident last year; ( right) Elizabeth “Beth” Kippin and ( below) nephew David Kippin.