Townsville Bulletin



esterday’s sentencing of a 15year-old boy who killed four of his friends in a horror Garbutt crash is hard to get your head around.

At first glance five years jail doesn’t seem like a lot compared to the death and destructio­n the boy caused.

Four lives were lost, causing unimaginab­le grief to the families of all involved.

But when you look closer at the life of the teen it gives a clearer view of the youth crime crisis across Townsville.

His was a life marred by drugs, violence and abuse.

He had little guidance about what constitute­d right and wrong.

His home was a cesspit of all things bad.

Domestic violence, drinking and drugs combined with a lack of discipline sent the young boy on a path to jail.

From age 10 he was using drugs and chroming.

School was non existent, he didn’t even make it past Year 6.

He started stealing to fund his drug habit and buy food and lived on the streets.

To say his mother and father him down is an understate­ment.

But what about everyone else? What about the school? How can a child not attend school without red flags being raised.

What about Child Safety?

The judge said there were numerous Child Safety flags that showed a “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.

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

How is this possible?

How was this let get so bad?

There has to be more we as a society can do to circumvent these situations.

Everyone has let this boy down. Now, four other young lives have been snuffed out.

And there are fears the boy’s attitude and mental scarring will be impossible to repair.

There has to be a better way to protect our vulnerable children.

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