Townsville Bulletin

AN UPBRINGING FULL OF TRAUMA

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A BABY boy born early into a life of trauma.

A life marred with drugs, violence, abuse and poverty.

Details of the upbringing of the 15-year-old who was jailed after he killed four of his friends in a horrific stolen car crash have been disclosed for the first time.

His story is the side of Townsville’s youth crime crisis that often goes untold.

The judge deciding the babyfaced teenager’s fate was told the boy was born four weeks premature and lived with his family in a home shared with more than 10 people.

“Domestic violence, drinking, (and) drugs were all part of that circumstan­ce,” the boy’s barrister Darin Honchin told the court. “There was a lack of boundaries,” Mr Honchin said.

“It is almost living on the street but not living on the street.

“(His) mother advises that there was a period where she was very heavily into alcohol and drugs a lot and she accepts she was not a good mother.”

The court was told the boy began using drugs at 10 and was regularly chroming.

He never made it past grade 6 at school and his attendance gradually plummeted when he began pushing boundaries and associatin­g with negative peer groups.

“There was a time where he would go and steal food from the shops and steal money for the family,” his lawyer said.

“He would also steal to fund his drug habit.”

The court was told that at the time of his arrest marijuana and ice were accessible in his home.

Judge John Smith further detailed the boy’s background and said there were numerous Child Safety flags that showed there was “longstandi­ng exposure to domestic violence, continuing child sex offenders, unaddresse­d maternal mental health concerns … drug use in the house, alcohol abuse and homelessne­ss.”

Further, Child Safety had concerns about the children’s hygiene, a lack of food as well as emotional harm, neglect, limited supervisio­n and the suspected drug supply to minors.

Child Safety stepped in and removed the boy and his sister from the family home in 2019 but the children absconded from their placements and returned to their mother.

Currently the boy is in the care of Child Safety.

The once talented student who played the ukulele and participat­ed in athletics turned to a life of crime and began regularly appearing in court in 2019.

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