Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

WHY DID OUR CHILDREN DIE? Mothers Seeking Answers

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

WHY DID OUR CHILDREN DIE? Mothers Seeking Answers

Article excerpt

Byline: Bruce Mckean bruce.mckean@dailymercury.com.au

TWO mothers sat sombrely in the public gallery of the Mackay courthouse yesterday and listened to the tragic details of how their teenaged sons took their own lives.

One mother sat stoically in the witness box and Co speaking softly and looking nervous Co said she couldn't believe that her happy-go-lucky son had taken his own life (See her story, Page 6). She had her sister in court for moral support.

The mothers want to know why their sons were among a group of about six teenagers who committed suicide around 2008 and Coroner Ross Risson has undertaken to do his best to give them answers.

The senseless deaths rocked the Mackay community because during a two-week period in August and September 2008 two 16-year-old boys died on the same day; a boy, 15, died when he was hit by a train on the main rail line heading to the harbour; a man, 39, was found dead at a property in the Pioneer Valley; and a man, 18, hanged himself at North Mackay. There were several other youth suicides in the preceding months.

Stunned emergency workers and youth advocates manned the Youth Information Referral Service 24 hours a day for two weeks to provide emergency assistance to affected youths.

Mr Risson started a special three-day inquest into two youth suicides by prohibiting publication of the names of all teenagers involved, so we will refer to the two dead boys as Y1 and Y2.

Sergeant Richard Whatman, who knew both boys, told the inquest: C[pounds sterling]These kids had talents. They just didn't use them.C[yen]

Sgt Whatman said he went to a derelict house at No.41 Macalister St about 12.20am and saw two Northern Beaches police officers performing CPR on Y1. He joined in until paramedics arrived but Y1 could not be revived.

C[pounds sterling]About 10 to 12 associates of Y1 were there and they were in different stages of grief,C[yen] Sgt Whatman said.

C[pounds sterling]More people arrived. …

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