Drugged AFL fans inciting violence
cheap Auto outlet on Port Rd and was advertised as “uniquely placed on a quiet road overlooking Bonython Park offering panoramic views over the parklands and city scape”.
Ms Gerard said although Clipsal was sold for $750 million, Singapore shareholders received more than half the proceeds and the family did not receive as much as people assumed.
“There were a lot of debts and they had to be paid first,” she said.
With personal family tragedy and business problems compounding over the past few years, Ms Gerard said her family had tried to help her through the difficult times.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Known for her work with horses, Ms Gerard owned a country home on 8ha of undulating, tree-lined paddocks at Chapel Hill, near Echunga.
Earlier this year, a mortgagee sale of that property reached $950,000, about $350,000 less than Ms Gerard paid for it in 2016.
Before moving to the Adelaide Hills, Ms Gerard ran a farming operation near Victor Harbor, where she also took in distressed horses.
She later co-founded horse sanctuaries – Windamere and then the Lincoln Park Horse and Human Rehabilitation Centre.
She bought a property in Monarto and renovated the homestead on the land.
“I spent quite a bit of money setting it up,” she said.
She is a life member of the registered charity but has now had to sell the Monarto property. She also has been generous to friends.
“I’ve lent a lot of money out over the years to people who have needed it and a lot of it I’ve never got back,” she said. “But that’s OK, I was fortunate enough to be able to do that.
“Now, of course, it’s gone the other way.”
The Sunday Mail spoke to Ms Gerard’s trustee in bankruptcy and several creditors. All declined to make public comment on the matter.
The great-granddaughter of settlers who arrived in SA in the 1860s, Ms Gerard said she realised there would be interest in her situation because of her family’s prominence. “Sometimes I wish my name was just Smith,” she said. DRUGGED-up footy fans are causing crowd-behaviour problems at AFL matches.
The MCG has identified fan drug use as a growing issue and is calling for action to detect supporters on illicit drugs at games.
On the eve of a blockbuster finals series, MCG Trust chairman Steve Bracks said drug use was often behind unacceptable behaviour, telling the Sunday Mail: “It’s an issue that we will have to deal with.”
The drug problem has been highlighted in the MCG Trust’s latest annual report, where Mr Bracks called out the use of drugs and said fans were also finding ways around “sensible policies” on alcohol, fuelling “unacceptable acts of violence”.
“The impact on patrons in the vicinity can be significant – at best unpleasant, sometimes frightening and, occasionally, dangerous,’’ the former Victorian premier said in the report. “Often, poor behaviours are influenced by the use of illicit drugs which are very hard to detect in our current screening procedures.”
Victorian police are considering sending sniffer dogs to matches if intelligence shows the drug problem is continuing to escalate.
Fans caught with drugs are among more than 100 supporters evicted from AFL games this season, which has been marred by a series of violent incidents. “The increasing use of illicit drugs at major events and sporting matches is reflective of the broader community’s behaviours, and attitude towards illicit drugs,” Police Commander Tim Hansen said.
He said while most fans behaved “safely and responsibly”, there were “a few individuals who choose to do the wrong thing”.
In the MCG Trust’s report, Mr Bracks said he was concerned about several recent violent incidents.
“Our systems for identifying, reporting and dealing with these incidents are robust but, the fact remains, our patrons can be exposed to some unacceptable behaviour for a couple of minutes before security and/or police can get to the offenders,” he wrote.
Mr Bracks told the Sunday Mail the stadium was working with police on the drug issue, including education and enforcement strategies.
“It’s just acknowledging and recognising that it’s an issue that we will have to deal with,” he said.
AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman said while alcohol was “still the bigger problem”, drugs were an issue and sniffer dogs could be used in a restricted manner.
“If they’re doing it only when they suspect someone is on drugs and behaving in a way that is going to affect the fans around him, then that seems sensible,’’ he said.
DOWNFALL: Helen Gerard says she sometimes wishes her name was “just Smith”.
EMPTY: How the site for the apartment block looks now.