Loss spurs crusade
Helen Meads’ dad David White is not a great believer in hindsight but, if there’s one thing he wishes he could change, it would be his decision not to interfere in his daughter’s marriage.
‘‘ I was told on numerous occasions, by a number of women, that Helen was in serious danger and I needed to get her out. Had a man told me to do it, I probably would have listened. It’s something about the male psyche, men listen to men.’’
Mr White’s words are spoken with the brutal honesty that only comes from someone who has suffered the ultimate of heartbreak in its most rawest form.
This is a grieving parent who has not only lost a daughter but whose daughter was murdered by her husband.
Mr White, his wife Pam and their family are now members of a club nobody wants to join.
Just after 8am on Wednesday September 23 last year, life changed forever for the Whites and their family.
Helen’s husband Greg Meads took a loaded shotgun, confronted his wife in the stables at their Matamata property, pressed the barrel of the gun into her neck and pulled the trigger. Helen, 42, died instantly. Mr White said Helen had told her husband on the Friday prior, that she was no longer happy and hadn’t been for a long time.
After years of being subjected to physical and emotional abuse, Helen was getting ready to leave.
‘‘ She was finding happiness again, it was a great thing to see,’’ Mr White said.
The truth is the family never thought Meads was capable of killing Helen.
Mr White said he wasn’t even aware that Meads owned a gun.
‘‘Men who beat their wives are cowards because they inflict pain on their partners behind closed doors. Never for one second did I think he would kill her.’’
On that morning, Mr and Mrs White were enjoying a cup of tea when Mrs White saw someone walk past the window.
‘‘When I saw Sergeant McGurk standing there at the door, he didn’t have to say anything, I knew. I don’t remember anything that was said after that.’’
Mr White still speaks of his daughter as if she is still right by his side.
He knows that it would have been hard for Helen to leave because she only wanted what was best for her children.
‘‘They stay because they think it’s the right thing to do for the kids.
‘‘There is nothing that is further from the truth.’’
Helen was the epitome
of a daddy’s girl – there was nothing that she couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about with her dad. ‘‘She told me everything. If something was wrong I would say to her ‘okay girl how are we going to fix this?’
‘‘It is indescribable what this does to you and it hurts me to think that I thought she had everything under control when she clearly didn’t.’’ Mr White now has a purpose. He wants to spread the word about the importance of men being able to talk to other men about domestic women.
Helen’s legacy will remain through her children Michael, Kimberly and Samantha and Mr White’s work with White Ribbon.
Her dad thinks she would proud of what he is doing for other women around the country who are the victims of domestic violence. ‘‘Helen is pushing me to do this, she is still always right here next to me,’’ he said.
Meads will be sentenced December 16.