The Courier-Mail

IT’LL NEVER BE THE SAME

Family of beautiful couple and unborn son killed by stolen car speak for the first time about their agony

- ELISE WILLIAMS

A TINY baby blanket with only one row left to be crocheted remains waiting for a baby that will never come.

Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field were due to have their son Miles on May 17 of this year, but tragedy struck when the trio’s lives were taken while walking the pet dogs on a balmy January afternoon.

The young family was killed within seconds when a stolen car, allegedly driven by a teenager on drugs, smashed into them at an intersecti­on in Alexandra Hills.

Kate’s family has spoken about the tragedy, as her stepfather today releases a song to remember the three hearts that will remain beating only in memories.

“The world is completely different, our lives are completely different,” stepfather Tom Richter told The Courier-Mail.

‘Stay here just a little while, there’s so much I want to say to you’

A TINY baby blanket with only one row left to be crocheted remains waiting for a baby that will never come.

Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field were due to have their son Miles on May 17 of this year, but only months before, tragedy would strike when the trio’s lives were taken while walking the pet dogs on a balmy January afternoon.

The young family was killed within seconds when a stolen car, allegedly driven by a teenager on drugs, would flip on top of them at an intersecti­on in Alexandra Hills on January 26. Among several offences, the teenager has been charged with the couple’s murder.

Kate’s family have spoken about the tragedy, as her stepfather will today release a song to remember the three hearts that will remain beating only in the memory of their loved ones.

“The world is completely different, our lives are completely different,” stepfather Tom Richter said. “In a lot of ways, we go through the motions. In some ways, everything has a hollowness to it. You do the same things you always did, but everything has a hollow ring to it.”

Mr Richter’s song Three Hearts has been written with a verse each for Kate, Matt and Miles. “Tom’s music has kept him sane, because when you do that sort of thing you totally focus on it and you can get out of the grief for an hour or two,” Kate’s mum Jeannie said. “I find it hard to think of anything else. I’m still waiting for the grief to ease a little, I suppose.”

Jeannie had only one row left to crochet before she finished the blanket for baby Miles, who would have been their first grandchild. “I haven’t gotten back to it, but I will. I will do it,” a determined Jeannie said through tears.

She and Kate would go through the journey of pregnancy together, joking about the size of the unborn bub.

“It would be eggplant day, or mango day or kiwi day where we would joke about what size he was going to be that week, (and) for three weeks while he was an eggplant size, we joked and called him baba ganoush,” Jeannie said. “At Christmas last year Katie said: ‘Well it’s the four of us this Christmas, but next Christmas it will be the five of us, and wow, what a big family that will be’.”

Mr Richter remembered the moment Kate and Matt would reveal they were pregnant with baby Miles. He said

“they both looked very pleased with themselves”.

“They came up for tea and Jeannie opened a bottle of wine, poured some out and Katie said “I won’t have any thanks … (Eventually we) just burst into tears. We were just so happy for them. And us. Matt just looked so proud of himself. They both looked very pleased with themselves.

“Everything was just really, really good. We couldn’t have chosen anybody else to be the father of Katie’s child, he was just wonderful.”

It was a knock at the door by local Sunshine Coast police officers that would completely shatter the lives of the couple and the community.

“I think we were just numb at that point,” Mr Richter said. “We were in disbelief. The odds of that happening are just … infinitesi­mally small … The fact the dogs are still alive shows that it was just a matter of a couple seconds difference between them surviving and them not surviving.”

For Jeannie, her life before and life after are a stark and heartbreak­ing comparison.

She said she had gotten to the age where she’d hoped her biggest worry would be looking after a newborn again. But now, things will never be as blissful or rewarding.

“I should be like, ‘ wow, now is five weeks ’til the baby is born … I should be worrying if I’m capable of looking after a newborn overnight, or if I’ve lost the skill. I thought (that’s what) I’d be worrying about right now. We had the best life. We were just sweet, it was all good. And then in the space of thirty seconds it just stopped … We had a great kid and she had a great partner and we finally had that cool bit of playing with ‘grandies’ to look forward to.

Mr Richter said the reminders the couple was gone were constant.

“It’s very hard,” he said. “Every time we think of things we want to tell Katie, even just silly little things we want to tell her, we can’t anymore. Our beautiful daughter isn’t there. Matt’s wonderful parents and siblings and everyone on Katie’s dad’s side of the family have all pulled together to help each other through this. And people everywhere, near and far, have been so supportive, and were heartbroke­n with us.

“The Redlands community in particular has been totally amazing.”

Proceeds from the download sales of Three Hearts will go towards Kate’s memorial.

TO DONATE TO QUEENSLAND HOMICIDE VICTIMS SUPPORT GROUP: QHVSG.ORG.AU

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 ??  ?? Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field and (insets) tributes at the scene where they were killed, and the stolen car.
Kate Leadbetter and Matt Field and (insets) tributes at the scene where they were killed, and the stolen car.
 ??  ?? Kate Leadbetter’s stepfather Tom Richter has penned a song for Kate, Matt and Miles and (inset) mourners at the scene where they died.
Kate Leadbetter’s stepfather Tom Richter has penned a song for Kate, Matt and Miles and (inset) mourners at the scene where they died.

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