Bullied man's desperate act
CONSTANT harassment and bullying from a gang of youths is believed to have driven a 62-year-old Tweed Heads West man to take his own life.
According to friends and family, Martin Grove had been targeted by the gang for more than a year and could handle the torment no longer.
On Friday morning he returned to his Jacaranda Avenue home, after his night shift at the Volunteer Marine Rescue, and found his car and front yard trashed and his door covered with faeces.
Martin walked to the house of the youths he believed to be behind the vandalism and shot himself in their front yard. He remained on life support until he passed away on Saturday.
Martin’s neighbours were deeply troubled by what happened and wanted to make sure a similar tragedy was never repeated.
They contacted the Tweed Daily News to ensure Martin did not die in vain.
“It’s absolutely terrible it had to come to this,” said one of Martin’s neighbours, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution.
“We’d like police to become more involved and give us some options about how to go about protecting our neighbourhood.”
Martin’s house was never made a crime scene and neighbours fear police may have brushed over the bigger issue.
The gang is believed to be made up of youths in the surrounding streets who vary in ages from 10 to 20 years old.
Martin’s brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Lorraine Grove, said they would like these kids to grow up very quickly.
“These kids have vandalised, brutalised and terrorised my brother and all the neighbours around here,” Mr Grove said.
“These guys picked on him a little bit more than others and they tipped him over the edge on Friday morning.”
Martin had sat down with his brother just last Monday and they had decided it was time for him to move house.
His neighbours are now mourning their lost friend.
“He was a fairly private person but very friendly to all of us,” they said.
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly.
“Everyone should be able to live their own life.”
The neighbours said what started out as small pranks from these teenagers have quickly escalated.
“The trouble is, as they’re getting older the stuff’s getting worse.”
The gang would often throw rocks at Martin’s house, to disturb his sleep, cut off his power and leave faeces at his front door.
“That’s not the first time that had happened. He’d come home to that many, many times.”
Another time the youths covered his car and front yard with foam from a fire extinguisher.
“When he opened the door they blasted him in the face with two of them. And when they were empty they threw the canisters at him.”
Martin and many others in the area have reported the incidents to police but the culprits could not be proven.
An 89-year-old woman, who is also a constant target, is beside herself over Martin’s death, neighbours said.
“There’s going to be another death if something isn’t done,” the anonymous neighbour said.
“We’ve just had enough.”
Neighbours have written letters to the police superintendent and Tweed politicians to try and get action. They are considering holding a public community meeting soon.
“Most people have had something to do with these youths in the past; I don’t think we’ll have any problems with support.”Lifeline
Lifeline Australia has a 24-hour telephone counselling service for people who feel they, or someone they know, are at risk of suicide.
The line is also for people who are trying to come to terms with a death from suicide. Phone 13 11 14, for the cost of a local call.